Tactical Urbanism Reimagining Nashville's Broadway Ave

November 1, 2016

Nashville's embrace of temporary urban interventions is producing amazing results that are capturing the imagination of both locals and tourists alike.

That approach of seeking ways to incrementally test and refine improvements has led to even more success stories. Yearwood talks about how this new trial sparked interest in additional experimentation, “During this 6 week period, we hosted a workshop with Gehl Studio, RPM, Public Works and a couple of dozen Broadway/Downtown key stakeholders. The focus for the workshop included identifying specific challenges of Broadway, but also creating strategies and temporary prototypes addressing each challenge that will be phased in over the next few weeks. This past weekend included two full days, and evenings, of Gehl's Public Space Public Life survey for 9 downtown Zones in and around Lower Broadway/Downtown core. We had around 50 volunteers over these two days assist in the surveying and will now be uploading the data to Gehl Studio to provide baseline information for their report. Part of the Gehl's PSPL survey includes a stationary mapping component, where we can identify what a person/group is doing and where on the map the activity is taking place. Having the volunteers partake in the survey creates a more qualitative set of information vs computer/automated pedestrian counts. We also tracked age and gender, cyclists and total pedestrian traffic. “

To provide additional outdoor seating opportunities, Gehl and NCDC began to install temporary parklets along Broadway. Yearwood was clearly pleased with the results adding, “It was incredible, during the surveying and pedestrian counting, on how many people are constantly walking, standing, performing between 1st + 5th. On a slow hour, it was around 2,000 people per hour. On a typical evening, the numbers jumped to over 7,500 people per hour! Broadway is one of our largest streets in Nashville, and this pilot is helping to make decisions on specific ways we can treat and balance that large amount of public space for people.”

“This process with Gehl Studios and other civic leaders and businesses is allowing us to build on the potential we’ve already recognized that is the Nashville brand,” said Betsy Williams, Chair of the District Project Investment Task Force. “It will allow us to improve and manage our public spaces as we grow and prosper even more.”


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