Residents, businesses oppose changes to 8th Avenue South - WSMV News 4

Residents, businesses oppose changes to 8th Avenue South

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Drivers familiar with the 8th Avenue corridor in Nashville know how congested it can get. But instead of adding travel lanes, the city is studying whether cutting down lanes could be the answer to traffic needs.

Signs are posted up and down the streets that say “Don’t Shut Down 8th Ave!” from the citizen group behind keep8th4lanes.com. The group represents the businesses and residents in South Nashville who oppose Metro Nashville’s traffic study to consider changing the layout of 8th Avenue South/Franklin Pike. Right now, there are two lanes into town and two lanes out.

“Now you’ve got gridlock throughout the day, morning and afternoon. There are still probably close to 1,000 apartment units that haven’t even come online yet,” said Chris Watts, who co-owns America’s Motor Sports on 8th Avenue South.

Watts said he has attended community meetings about the city’s study. According to Metro Planning, one option is to take the four lanes down to two lanes with a center lane. Another option is to have two lanes and one reversible travel lane.

Having a safe area for pedestrians with more crossing was a concern among several residents. Those changes are supposed to include sidewalks and bike lanes.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walking, kind of putting themselves in harm’s way because there are no sidewalks,” said Carl Marsh, who lives near 8th Avenue South.

The street is a state road, so ultimately TDOT will have final say on any changes. Metro Nashville will submit a proposal for TDOT to approve.

At the same time, there’s a state-led multi-modal corridor study on I-65 and the Wedgewood Avenue exit funnels into the 8th Avenue corridor. That study is expected to finish in July, while the 8th Avenue study is expected to finish in the fall.

The city of Berry Hill did the 8th Avenue study and found its businesses and residents favored reducing lanes. But some residents say that may not work for the much larger area of Nashville.

The Metro Nashville Planning Department is the lead agency in the study. It won’t require Metro Council approval, but TDOT will have to sign off on any changes that may be implemented. There’s no date set yet for the next community meeting.

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