Nashville may change Fifth Ave. to two-way traffic - WSMV News 4

Nashville may change Fifth Ave. to two-way traffic

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Some people who work and live in downtown Nashville are not happy about plans to change a major city street.

Engineers want Fifth Avenue to have two-way traffic north of Broadway. They say it will improve access downtown, but many are concerned the switch could do more harm than good.

Soon, the avenue will have overhead lighting canopies, better sidewalks and places for outdoor dining and public art.

However, many business owners and residents say they didn't know until recently the city's plans included changing traffic from one-way to two.

"Those business owners have worked through many years to create viable businesses and they don't want that to be hampered, and we don't either," said transportation consultant Bob Murphy.

Murphy is consulting on the Fifth Avenue streetscape project and has heard from opponents to the two-way traffic plan - mainly art gallery owners.

They feel the street is already narrow, and by creating a two-way street it would cause congestion. Plus, with just one lane in each direction, if one vehicle stops - say, to make a delivery - there would be immediate backup.

City planners say that with the Music City Center opening soon, access to Fifth Avenue between Broadway and James Robertson Parkway needs improving, and a two-way street will help.

"They help with traffic calming. They help reduce traffic speeds. They make it safer for pedestrians," Murphy said.

"For many years, Church Street was like that: one-way. When they changed it to two-way, I thought that was a huge plus, because it increases the traffic big time," said business owner Bernie Landeau.

City planners say they've studied traffic plans, and they plan to add turn lanes in a few places. While the city is ready to pave and stripe the road, nothing will happen until there's a vote.

Due to discussion about the possible traffic change, the city's traffic and parking commission has decided to wait and take up this issue at its next meeting in April.

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