Separated when I-40 was constructed more than 40 years ago, the North Nashville and West End area communities desired improved connectivity to boost the economic vitality of the area. Gresham Smith’s charge was to determine and implement roadway corridor improvements and improve connectivity by providing a roadway and bridge across the CSX railroad between West End Avenue and I-40 along 28th Avenue and 31st Avenue.
The long-awaited connector opened to the public on October 2, 2012 and is one of Nashville’s first “complete streets,” serving as a model for efficient and sustainable transportation design.
total construction cost
A first of Nashville's complete streets and among the greenest streets in the city
A Balance of Perspectives
Metro Public Works charged our team to engage with each stakeholder group, listen to their concerns and provide solutions that would enhance the function of the design. Metro Transit was focused on serving their patrons. For Metro Parks it was about people being able to walk or ride their bikes across the bridge and connect to Centennial Park. For the existing businesses it was about keeping their business fully functioning during construction.
The variety of perspectives ultimately enhanced the design, but we had to carefully balance those perspectives, blend them together, and then do what was best for the community.
Improving Traffic Flow with Multi-Modal Transportation Options
The connector allows for transportation choices. A dedicated bike and pedestrian lane is designed on each side of the roadway and there are opportunities for new transit services, including Bus Rapid Transit. Bright green graphics and rose-colored concrete were used to help cyclists and motorists differentiate between paths, keeping cyclists safe.
Optimized for Functionality and the Environment
The connector’s lane widths are slightly narrowed from 12 to 11 feet to help calm traffic and reduce impervious asphalt surfaces. Curb cuts were designed to direct stormwater to rain gardens and bioswales, which filter runoff through plantings and engineered soil layers, minimizing the amount of street pollution entering tributary systems. Concrete dams were spaced every 30 feet to slow stormwater flow and allow pooled water to soak into the filtration systems.
A Model for Efficient and Sustainable Transportation Design
We designed a visually appealing, eco-friendly connector that links two previously detached communities, and enhances what the city is trying to accomplish in that area. The project serves as an example of how transportation improvements can support the Mayor of Nashville’s commitment to having the City become one of the greenest, most sustainable cities in the country.