By Madison Ryon, NCDC Intern.
On September 18th, NCDC partnered with HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) as a part of National Volunteer Day to create a parklet and temporary crosswalk at HCA’s Park Plaza location in Nashville, Tennessee. Inspiration for the temporary installation came from HCA employees themselves, who have faced great difficulty crossing into Centennial Park which is located right across from the office building and frequented by many employees daily.
At any hour of the day, but most often the lunch hour, you can see groups of employees exiting HCA in hopes of enjoying a mid-afternoon walk through Centennial Park or to take advantage of local food trucks onsite for lunch service. Instead of a safe crossing, many find themselves waiting on the curb hoping to avoid any dangerous encounters with cars passing by on a busy street. Because of this location's frequent pedestrian usage and the fast-moving vehicular traffic, it is a perfect location for simple safety measures that will slow speeding cars and improve the ease of employees trying to cross the street.
Through brainstorming, public input, analysis, planning and execution, NCDC and HCA were able to envision a realistic future of safe crossings by installing a temporary crosswalk that allowed employees of HCA, as well as others in the community to safely cross Park Plaza. The initial response to the project was encouraging – employees of HCA, as well as other community members, expressed their appreciation for a safe cross walk and described it as a “long overdue safety precaution.”
Although not yet permanent, employees now have the opportunity to envision the possibilities of what crossing Park Plaza into Centennial Park safely means, inspiring individuals to call for change. This project informed the community and allowed for a greater appreciation for their own, as well as others, safety.
Tactical Urbanism is part of Civic Design Centers’ Reclaiming Public Space Initiative and works to inspire permanent change through temporary projects surrounding mobility, safety and creativity. It uses low-cost, temporary material in order to experiment with public space and help envision improvements to local neighborhoods and city gathering places.
Learn more about NCDC's Tactical URBanism Organizers Group: TURBO Nashville!