Edgy Broadway

Edgy Broadway

PARK(ing) Day has brought significant changes to Broadway since the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) first hosted it in Nashville seven years ago. Before the one-day movement came to Lower Broadway, parallel parking spanned the entire length of the street. PARK(ing) Day helped business owners and city officials realize the need for more public space on Broadway, particularly as the concentration of pedestrians has grown over the years. In fact, there has been so much pedestrian growth that Broadway is often as congested as some of the world's most populated areas such as Nanjing Road, Shanghai and 5th Ave, New York City!

Because of the conversations that NCDC has been able to facilitate about public space on Broadway, expansion of the sidewalk width has already begun on the north side of the 3rd-4th Ave block. This was a pivotal step in making one of the highest profiles areas of Nashville more accessible and safer. The new improvements also came with protective bollards that would stop vehicles from entering the pedestrian zones.

As the temporary barricades were removed to make way for the sidewalk extensions, we observed that pedestrians began to flow into the streets more easily. Police who frequently monitor the area have noticed that jaywalking has significantly increased in the 3rd-4th Ave block. Because of this, there is now a new need for an “edge condition” along the block which would beautify the street while discouraging people from crossing illegally.

Gehl People, an internationally recognized architecture and urban design consulting firm, came to Nashville to train and help NCDC implement a Public Space Public Life study (PSPL). Together, NCDC and Gehl used the PSPL model to monitor and record people moving through Nashville's bustling downtown. This study pointed towards the need to test a variety of functions, including shade, seating and plantings. The improved 3rd-4th Ave block could be the perfect place to test designs and ideas!

During PARK(ing) Day 2018 NCDC is encouraging parklet builders to think about the edge condition on the 3rd-4th Ave block and what they would like to see. This is the official call for creative people who want to inform the next phase of the Broadway pilot project. We are calling it Edgy Broadway! If you’re interested in creating a tactical urbanism edge condition for Broadway at PARK(ing) Day this year, sign up now!

Images provided by Gehl People.