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RECLAIMING PUBLIC SPACE IN DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE

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RECLAIMING PUBLIC SPACE in DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE

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A REPORT BY THE NASHVILLE CIVIC DESIGN CENTER Publication content by Edian Mece, Research Fellow Taylan Tekeli, Design and Research Assistant Designed by Anastasiya Skvarniuk, Design Intern Written and edited by Eric Hoke, Design Director Mike Thompson, Project + Evaluation Manager The mission of the Nashville Civic Design Center is to elevate the quality of Nashville’s built environment and to promote public participation in the creation of a more beautiful and functional city for all. Towards this end, the Nashville Civic Design Center: Promotes the Ten Principles of The Plan of Nashville, a vision for growth and development, created and endorsed by the citizens of Nashville; Educates the public about civic design through lectures by prominent speakers and workshops; Provides professional staff and highly-qualified design interns to consult on civic and other community development projects; Facilitates public dialogue about civic design and its impact through the Urban Design Forum. The Forum meets monthly at the Civic Design Center, publicizes events and lectures and provides an open forum for the debate of ideas and issues of interest to its members; Researches and publishes reports on various civic design issues. www.civicdesigncenter.org 2


FOREWORD Ron Yearwood

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INTRODUCTION

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PAST PROJECTS Broadway Walkway Boathouse Noble Park Sudekum Pedestrian Bridge Shelby Street Bridge

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PUBLIC SPACE PROPOSALS Church Street Park Broadway & Riverfront Victory Memorial Bridge Park Gay Street District TSU Avon Williams Campus Interstate Capping Lafayette Street Lafayette Street & 5th Avenue S Lafayette Street & 6th Avenue S Lafayette Street & 7th Avenue S

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RECLAIM YOUR SPACE Public Space Evaluation Take Action Tool Box

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Photo Credits

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FOREWORD

Ron Yearwood, Urban Designer The “Greenest” city in the South has been a long-touted goal of many of our recent politicians and community leaders. City officials continue to improve upon and progress bills that embrace sustainable technologies and practices across the city. Metro Council’s 2019 passage of a “Green New Deal” for Nashville advances these efforts, and sets the city on a track of zero emissions and 100% renewable energy resources by 2050. In addition to this step, perhaps it is also time to embrace older technologies - incorporating more public parks, greenways, tree canopy, water features and plazas woven into our bustling Downtown streets. A Green(Space) New Deal. In promoting health and wellbeing, The World Health Organization recommends a minimum availability of around 100 SF of urban green space per capita, with an ideal scenario of around 550 SF. Metro Nashville has dramatically increased its total acreage of parks over the past decade, now managing over 15,000 acres. Thanks, in part, to a number of large regional and rural parks, we boast nearly 1,000 SF per resident when divvied up over the entire county. On the other hand, several areas of the city, including the urban core, have been identified as lacking and deficient of adequate access to quality open space. With over 75,000 downtown employees, and 12,000 urban core residents, the 95 acres of Downtown greenspace including greenways - tallies up closer to around 50SF/ person. The numbers are even more somber when incorporating the thousands of tourists Downtown hosts each day. According to Metro Nashville Parks’ Plan 2 Play: The Nashville Parks and Greenways Masterplan, Downtown parks are primarily at full capacity and under very high pressure. By 2023, 20,000 residents will call Downtown home and the 2.1M square feet of office space currently under construction will be filled with thousands of additional Downtown workers. These large-scale developments will not only bring more people, but will often add much needed public spaces - albeit privately-owned. Will it be enough?

Downtown public spaces serve a variety of functions and require a higher level of attention, programming, and funding to foster a thriving network of high quality urban green space. Parks not only provide moments of respite and space for activity, but also incorporate many aspects of our natural environment into the network of our city’s functions. These spaces can help reduce the urban heat island effect, assist in natural storm water management, reduce air pollution and serve as sources for food and refuge for local wildlife. Through innovative partnerships and activations, many cities have transformed their once threatened downtown parks into thriving public spaces that cultivate community amongst all walks of life. Nashville’s Downtown growth can be a catalyst for harnessing this opportunity to cultivate world class urban green spaces The Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) continues to play an integral role in seeing this through. How then do we proceed as a community to not only maximize the effectiveness of our existing spaces, but also increase our availability of high-quality urban parks throughout all areas of Downtown? In effort to answer this question, NCDC presents eleven concept designs in this publication to enhance existing public space and nearly double the amount of existing green space and greenway networks throughout the urban core. Each design visualizes strategies towards re imagining existing right-of-way, enhancing current landscaping, improving infrastructure, and building boldly an improved network of public space. This publication illustrates many ways in which we-as a city may set out towards this goal, while reclaiming more functional and pleasant spaces for the public.

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INTRODUCTION

“[PUBLIC SPACES ARE] WHERE OUR CITIES COME ALIVE AND DEMONSTRATE THEIR VITALITY, ENERGY, CULTURE, AND LOCAL PRIDE.”

INTRODUCTION

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Megan Canning Foreword for Reclaiming Public Space in Downtown Nashville Vol. 1

“The shape we give to our give city, inour turn,city shapes us.” They Nashville’s public spaces meaning. As Nashville navigates the growing pains of our changing Christine Kreyling, The Plan of Nashville: Avenuesand to a Great City landscape, NCDC recognized it is time to readdress the role reflect our past and present, our collective identity our values. While doing so, they point us towards the that public spaces play within downtown Nashville. As such, we future, and challenge us to boldly set forth our civic are thrilled to release Reclaiming Public Space in Downtown aspirations. Public spaces, when with donethe well, elevate the Nashville, Vol. 2.Public While first in revisiting focus locations fromwith Vol. 1, The United States is challenged highest obesity Reclaiming Space Downtown Nashville is written entirety city fora all peoplefact while providing placesto Vol. 2four then highlights ratesof in the the world, sobering potentially attributed primary goals:locations for new or improved public space to gather, connect,lacking recreate, protest, celebrate, andWe opportunities facing Nashville in 2019. Utilizing in-depth site an environment effective public open space. 1. Document precedents of successful public spaces and relax. studies and best practices, we present original design concepts have seemingly shaped an environment where childhood identify properties that make it enjoyable, active, and obesity has quadrupled, and 42 percent of Americans are demonstrating potential solutions to each location, with the valuable. projectedits to history, be obesethe by Nashville 2030. Throughout Civic Design continued goal of furthering the strength of our public space Center has worked extensively to realize the lofty network. 2. Establish a framework for evaluating public spaces and In response factbeliefs. that oneWe in four goals set forth to bythe these haveNashvillians sought to are apply created metrics to Nashville’s public spaces. obese,and ourdemonstrate city’s planning that practices have shifted educate the quality of ourtowards city’s By using lessons learned over the last six years, we hope creating healthier built environments. Mayorhealth, Karl Dean public spaces directly influences the safety, that Reclaiming Public Spacefor in Downtown Nashville Vol.public 2 3. Present proposals reclaiming underutilized signed an executive order for the implementation of a and livability of our neighborhoods. As we’ve become continues civic discussions usings strategies such as public spaces. complete streets policy (2010), requiring the consideration a leading voice in Nashville towards recognizing space enhancement. NCDC believes that as we work collectively of all modes of transportation, including pedestrian, Provide the toolsquality for empowering communities to aide in this connection, we have simultaneously worked tobicycle, towards4.elevating of our public spaces, we and mass transit, along with the automobile. Nashville’s transform their public spaces. highlight the need of continually evaluating new public shaping a more beautiful and functional city for the benefit of all Open Space Plan (2011) builds upon the complete streets space opportunities. Nashvillians. initiative by encouraging corridors of green streets and greenways to connect existing open spaces. In September In 2013, NCDC released Reclaiming Public Space in 2012, the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) hosted Downtown Nashville Vol. 1. At the time the audience an international ideas competition, Designing Action, to was a much different Nashville - one that in many envision new active space out of the 75 acres of industrial ways was just beginning to recognize the value of land along the Cumberland River’s east bank. Participants investing its public As lined our City’s approach paintedinvisions of a spaces. river’s edge with recreational towards the value of public spaces has evolved, opportunities that double as areas for minimal riskso too has flooding. NCDC’s.The Shortly after releasewith of Vol. NCDC NCDC, in the partnership the1,Metro established an initiative dedicated to public space Public Health Department, has scheduled Shaping Healthy research, design, andpublished activation whichThe now acts asbook Communities to be in 2013. narrative our provides conduit vignettes for the entirety our public space work.today; In of Nashville’s built environment 2015 we formed a public space “action neighborhoods, arm” which and personal narratives of life in Nashville’s utilizes temporary and low-cost demonstration projects an Action Plan for re-design of Nashville’s neighborhoods to catalyze civichealth awareness around Investment the participatory to promote and well-being. in nature of public space design. For the 8 years, downtown Nashville’s public space willlast prove more critical NCDC has been of PARK(ing) to quality of lifethe as Nashville the Middlehost Tennessee region grows by projected 1 million additional people over the are next 20 Day,a in which on-street parallel parking spaces years. transformed into temporary “parklets” for the day. Further, NCDC has hosted dozens of public education Block by block, Downtown Nashville has Space” been rebuilding events culminating in “Reclaiming Public as the as a mixed-use, higher density community. With an increase theme of the 2018 Annual Luncheon. Downtown Nashville is identified through the vehicular boundaries in downtown residents, workers, and visitors, so comes of Interstate 40 to the south and west, Interstate 24 to the east, and the need for more public space – and more importantly – Jefferson Street to the north. Downtown Nashville is identified through the vehicular boundaries better functioning public space. Now is the critical time to


PAST PROJECTS Reclaiming Public Space Vol. 1

Broadway Walkability

5th Ave to the Riverfront

Wharf Park Boathouse

Cumberland Riverfront

Noble Park

Lot on 11th Ave S, between Laurel St. & Pine St.

Sudekum Pedestrian Bridge

Carrol Street and Academy Place connector over Interstate 40

Shelby Street Bridge

1st and 2nd Ave below the Pedestrian Bridge

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Broadway Walkability Walkability Improvements from 5th Ave to the Riverfront TYPE OF SPACE Downtown Sidewalks SIZE 2,100 linear feet OWNERSHIP Public PREVIOUS CONDITIONS Broadway used to be six total travel lanes with on-street parking, and minimum sidewalk widths. Pedestrian crossings were dangerous and at often chaotic.

IMPROVEMENTS PUBLIC SPACE STUDIES NCDC and Metro Departments partnered with international design firm Gehl to study existing conditions, and outline potential redesign opportunities. PROGRAMMING Each year, NCDC coordinates PARK(ing) Day along Broadway, highlighting the need for additional public spaces. Broadway has also experienced a drastic increase in the number of daily onstreet vendors and major events.

Broadway sidewalk usage assessment

Early-stage design work on sidewalk improvement zone

Public space usage survey

Public workshop hosted by Gehl and NCDC

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INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS In addition to introducing new diagonal crosswalks, Metro Public Works has begun extending sidewalks widths along Broadway. Each extension nearly doubles the previously available sidewalk space.

Before

After

PARK(ing) Day 2017 activation by Metro Planning

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Wharf Park and Boathouse Cumberland Riverfront/Rolling Mill Hill

IMPROVEMENTS

TYPE OF SPACE Waterfront

EDUCATION Working with Metro Parks, NCDC hosted a series of educational programs and tours of the future Wharf Park and boathouse site, included a site visit and paddle tour.

SIZE 13 acres OWNERSHIP Public – Previously Considered Site CURRENT CONDITIONS – UT Student Work Site – Final Boathouse Site Fully wooded river frontage. No public access – Existing or Future Greenways to the water and difficult accessibility to the site. [1] – Proposed Boathouse Sites [2] – Ascend Amphitheater + West Riverfont Park Transportation company only current usage. [3] – Cumberland Park [4] – Proposed Cayce Landing

PARK & BOATHOUSE Wharf Park will be a 13 acre park extending along Anthes Dr. down to the Cumberland River. The Park will maintain much of the site’s natural features while increasing access to the River. A new public access boathouse is planned to be constructed along the riverfront, allowing for boat storage and public rental.

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2 – Previously Considered Site – UT Student Work Site – Final Boathouse Site – Existing or Future Greenways [1] – Proposed Boathouse Sites [2] – Ascend Amphitheater + West Riverfont Park [3] – Cumberland Park [4] – Proposed Cayce Landing

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Wharf Park and surrounding amenities

Meet Wharf Park education series poster

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Wharf Park Boathouse Concept by Hastings Architecture 10

Existing site photos


Noble Park

Lot on 11th Ave S, Between Laurel St. and Pine St. TYPE OF SPACE Park SIZE 4,000 square feet (approximate) OWNERSHIP Private PREVIOUS CONDITIONS The future Noble Park is currently a portion of a nearly 40,000 sq ft surface lot in the heart of the Gulch neighborhood.

IMPROVEMENTS CONCEPTUAL DESIGNS In RPS Vol I., NCDC conducted a study and produced a conceptual design of what a future Gulch Park could look like (below). PROGRAMMING As part of its annual PARK(ing) Day event, NCDC has facilitated parklets along 11th Ave S to promote greater public space improvements and activation of the street front. DEMONSTRATION PROJECT In 2017, NCDC designed and installed a pop-up crosswalk along 11th Ave S to highlight connectivity and public space needs at the

Previous Conditions

RPS Vol 1 proposal by NCDC Design Fellow, Bryan Obara

Noble Park Concept: Marketstreet, ESa

NCDC Crosswalk install adjacent the future Noble Park site

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Sudekum Pedestrian Bridge Carrol Street and Academy Place connection over Interstate 40

EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Pedestrian Bridge SIZE 250 feet long x 8 feet wide OWNERSHIP Public PREVIOUS CONDITIONS Pedestrian connection for the Napier-Sudekum neighborhood to Rolling Mill Hill and downtown

IMPROVEMENTS CAR-FREE Academy Place ends as a pedestrian-only street, protecting people from unnecessary vehicle traffic on the dead-end street. ART The bridge is painted and lit at night, while the pavement leading to the bridge is colored to beautify the bridge entrance. PEDESTRIAN CONNECTION Enhancing the significant connector for the Napier-Sudekum community and downtown produces a more enjoyable experience.

Before

NCDC Proposal

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2019


Shelby Street Bridge 1st and Second Avenue below the Pedestrian Bridge

EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Artistic alley SIZE 37,500 square feet (0.8 acre) OWNERSHIP Public ON-SITE FACILITIES Shelter, lighting, historic map signage, benches

Existing Site.

IMPROVEMENTS VENDORS Designated space for pop-up food markets, cafes, food trucks, and art vendors. TRANSPORTATION CONNECTIONS Proximity to the Music City Greenway and Music City Star station, mid-block crosswalk underneath the bridge at 2nd Ave. ART Creative placemaking by painting the ground and bridge.

Proposal by Anastasiya Skvarniuk, NCDC Design Intern.

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Proposal by Ben Cross, UT, College of Architecture and Design.

NCDC concept using designs inspired by artist Kristin Llamas

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PUBLIC SPACE PROPOSALS Downtown Nashville

Church Street Park & Anne Dallas Dudley

Broadway & Riverfront

Victory Memorial Bridge Park

Gay Street District

TSU Avon Williams Campus

Interstate Capping

Lafayette Street & 5th Avenue S

Lafayette Street & 6th Avenue S

Lafayette Street & 7th Avenue S

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Perspective image of a New Church Street Park Plaza, extending north along Anne Dallas Dudley Boulevard

Envisioning a new green space and activated facade (left), and improved connectivity to the Downtown Library (right) 16

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CHURCH STREET PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Park

OWNERSHIP Public

ON SITE FACILITIES

Open green space, trees, benches, fountain, connective walking paths Existing site of Church Street Park (left), and adjacent Anne Dallas Dudley Boulevard (right)

IMPROVEMENTS PUBLIC PLAZA

Completely rethinking the existing design, a new public plaza could be created that hosts a mixture of features.

ACTIVATION

Civic consensus has long recognized design and management failures of Church Street Park. Based on its work dating back to the early 2000’s, NCDC believes that a well designed, programmed, and managed public space is both a needed and viable alternative to the Park’s current condition. As civic conversations again debate the future of the Park, NCDC released in late 2018 a three-part series, “Dreaming Big for Public Space: an Alternative Choice for Church Street Park”. The series sought to demonstrate opportunities for a fully re envisioned Park more appropriately designed for its downtown context. Further, strategies were addressed towards management of the site to ensure its long-term success. View the entire series and designs at civicdesigncenter.org

A successful redesign of the Park must include the activation of surrounding buildings, such as increasing new storefronts that face the Park and Boulevard.

CONNECTIVITY

Rethinking this site offers an opportunity to better connect the state Capitol and Downtown Library along Anne Dallas Dudley Boulevard using public space design enhancements.

SEATING

A mixture of traditional and innovative seating and furniture should be considered, especially considering the various users of the park space. Conceptual design of the Park as a plaza, with new facade activation on the Park’s North end

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2ND AVE

BROADWAY

Aerial view of new Broadway travel lane configuration, with flexible loading zones.

Wider and more open sidewalks should be pursued, providing space for new seating and beautification. 18


Broadway / Downtown Riverfront / 1st Ave N EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Urban Road

OWNERSHIP Public

ON SITE FACILITIES

Side walks, all-pedestrian crosswalk signalization, protective bollards

Ariel View Looking West Of Lower Broad Site

IMPROVEMENTS PEDESTRIAN AREA

Broadway becomes a pedestrianoriented corridor in the heart of Downtown, reflecting the growing numbers of patrons and events occurring along the five block stretch.

FLEXIBLE STREETS

While consolidating travel lanes, a new flexible loading zone will be established that can transition into pedestrian space during evenings and events.

Looking North from Broadway at 1st Ave N

Recognizing the diverse land use and mobility needs across Downtown, Broadway and the Riverfront is a multifaceted proposal promoting enhanced pedestrian infrastructure. Broadway’s existing lanes would be consolidated to two permanent travel lanes, while the two remaining lanes will become flexible loading zones. Each loading zone will be available during the day, but may be transformed in the evenings and for events into additional pedestrian space by raising electronic bollards. The surrounding permanent sidewalks will have new seating and plants, while designating space for street vendors and performers. The Riverfront will be transformed by having ground floor businesses on 1st Ave open their store fronts towards the street, inviting people to utilize the street. Temporary outdoor seating will be incorporated, particularly along the riverfront. Pop-up events like night markets will be encouraged and programmed to support further activation and usage.

PEDESTRIAN AMENITIES

New amenities such as creative seating, public art, plants, shade / street trees, and games could be explored for both Broadway and the Riverfront.

STORE FRONTS

New and existing businesses should be encouraged to open their stores towards 1st Ave to promote more public usage and activity, particularly of the Riverfront. View down Broadway with new pedestrian-oriented improvements

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Conceptual designs for pedestrian improvements along the Riverfront and 1st Ave (above), and a pop-up night market (right) 20


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JAMES ROBERTSON PKY ONLY BUS ONLY BUS

WOODL AND ST

A new Victory Memorial Bridge Park, designed by Elizabeth Crimmins, NCDC Design Fellow 22

ONLY BUS

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VICTORY MEMORIAL BRIDGE PARK EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE

Elevated Park

OWNERSHIP Public

ON SITE FACILITIES

Woodland St and Victory Memorial Bridge, minimal pedestrian or multimodal infrastructure Existing Site

IMPROVEMENTS CONNECTIVE PUBLIC SPACE

Creating approximately 350,000 SF of new usable space, the resulting park also connects downtown with the East Bank.

BUILDINGS & PLAZA

Supporting future development along the East Bank, two mixed-use buildings with an outdoor plaza space are created.

With continued development along the Cumberland Riverfront, it becomes imperative to consider how improvements to connectivity and public spaces can increase quality of life in and around downtown. The space between the Woodland St and Victory Memorial St bridges present such an opportunity, while building a signature downtown park. The new Victory Memorial Bridge Park would connect downtown with the East Bank by applying the idea of highway capping to the Cumberland River. Anchored on the eastern end of the Park with new mixed-use development, several themed zones span the length of the Park, connected by a central “Cumberland Pathway” that mimics the actual course of the Cumberland River. Other amenities include a sunken amphitheater, a pet-friendly area, and a hammock grove. Supportive multi-modal infrastructure on the north and south sides of the park further establish the Cumberland River as a destination. Read the full description and see the full set of designs at civicdesigncenter.org.

THEMED ZONES

Across the entire park are a series of zones, including a music garden, interactive art, a hammock grove, an off-leash pet area, and a nature education garden.

RIVER AMPHITHEATER

A sunken amphitheater anchors the Park’s western end with a formal performance and gathering space, while connecting to a below-dock with public access to the water. View of the Park looking towards Downtown. Designs by Elizabeth Crimmins, NCDC Design

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ENHANCED GREENWAY & RIVERFRONT PARK

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PEDESTRIAN ZONE

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PROPOSED HOMELESS SERVICE CENTER

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Conceptual aerial view of the new Gay Street District

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View across 1st Ave N towards Riverfront Park 24

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View from Riverfront Park west down the new pedestrian alley

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GAY STREET DISTRICT EXISTING CONDITIONS: TYPE OF SPACE Urban block

OWNERSHIP

Public and private

ON SITE FACILITIES

Narrow sidewalks, surface parking lots, some commercial businesses, detention center, sheriff’s office, fire department station, minimum riverfront trails

IMPROVEMENTS URBAN ALLEY

Bisecting the new district is an urban alley, connecting the Music City Greenway to 3rd Ave N., and providing centralized gathering spaces across the entire site. The alley will incorporate public art, interactive elements, trees, and plenty of seating.

Existing Site With a new homeless service center being proposed at 2nd Ave N. and Gay St., NCDC is taking the opportunity to further build upon the site through a complete reenvisioning of the 12 acres surrounding the future center. The creation of a new urban district in this largely underutilized area presents opportunities for a dynamic neighborhood oriented around public space NCDC’s proposal consists of a series of mid-rise mixed-use buildings to be built and oriented along a significant east-west urban alley, connecting the Music City Greenway to 3rd Ave N. Along this alley several public spaces are created, supporting the vibrancy of surrounding residential, commercial, and retail uses. Along the riverfront, the existing greenway will be redesigned to weave through three new thematic “zones”. To support connectivity, 1st Avenue N will be redesigned as an atgrade shared street, with a 10 mph speed limit.

RIVERFRONT

Riverfront Park and the Music City Greenway will be redesigned with better connectivity, views of the river, and interactive zones within the park.

MIXED USES

In addition to the new homeless service center, new residential, commercial, and retail uses would be built, providing a completely new character to the current area.

SHARED STREET

1st Ave N, will become a shared street, dedicated to pedestrians, bicycles and cars with a limited speed limit. Raised intersections and pocket parks prioritize pedestrian connectivity, experience, and safety.

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Perspective from 1st Ave N and Gay St of new mid-rise infill

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The pedestrian alley, terminating at 3rd Ave N and 4th Ave N 26

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View from within the pedestrian alley


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The new Riverfront Park will enhance the Music City Greenway, and create a series of “activity zones�

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Each intersection will be designed with a raised crosswalk

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The District will include public green space along the pedestrian alley

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Proposed site plan (top) and perspectives (bottom) by Breanna Williams, Nadin Jabri, University of Tennessee, College of Architecture and Design. 28


TSU - AVON WILLIAMS CAMPUS EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE

University Downtown Campus

OWNERSHIP Private

ON SITE FACILITIES

Single academic building, surface parking lot, adjacent small business incubator building

IMPROVEMENTS PUBLIC PLAZA

Centered the new site around a large public space, above the current surface lot. This new public space would allow for a unique gathering space within a rapidly changing part of downtown.

CONNECTIVITY

While improving accessibility from Charlotte Pike, this project incorporated an elevated bike and pedestrian path bisecting the site from Union St. to the N. Gulch Greenway.

Existing site (left) and UTK student review at NCDC office (right)

Responding to the adjacent Nashville Yards project, Tennessee State University partnered with NCDC and the University of Tennessee Knoxville to reenvision TSU’s Avon Williams campus. Under the guidance of TK Davis, architect students from UTK created a series of design proposals which recreated the entire existing campus. Each project took a different approach towards redeveloping the existing surface lot, and integrating new uses across the site. Common themes included a culinary institute, library, hotel, housing, and new commercial space. Most projects integrated a centralized park or plaza, adding a much needed public space to the west side of downtown. These visions would allow not only an enhanced public realm, but present opportunities to increase accessibly into Downtown.

UNDERGROUND PARKING

Recommendations included new multi-level underground parking, with capacity for several hundred additional cars.

PROGRAMMING

New on site uses would join TSU including an innovation center, culinary institute, hotel, day care center, commercial space, and housing.

Amenities

An art gallery, cafes, restaurant, gym will be part of the new development, making it an attractive area not just for TSU students but for the whole community.

DISCOVER

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Proposal by Breanna Williams & Nadin Jabri, UTK, College of Architecture and Design.

BREANN N

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Conceptual design of west platform (top), and perspective images of the current site (bottom left) and with potential infill development (bottom right). 30


TSU - AVON WILLIAMS CAMPUS - PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE

University Campus

OWNERSHIP Private

ON SITE FACILITIES

TSU Avon Williams Campus, surface parking lot, N. Gulch Greenway, Nashville Yards (in construction) Existing Site

IMPROVEMENTS PUBLIC SPACES

Two entrances to the bridge could create public spaces for rest and recreation, providing unique views of Downtown and Midtown.

SEATING

Building upon the UTK students’ work for TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, NCDC continued exploring how a new public pedestrian bridge could be designed. The 1000 ft long bike and pedestrian connector would bisect the Avon Williams site, connecting Union St. with 10th Ave, and the North Gulch Greenway. With this, two new gateway spaces could be developed on either end of the connector, designed as “platforms” in which to gather, rest, relax, and catch a beautiful view. Due to space constraints, each platform would assume a spiral form, gently leading users along their path. This is particularly important for the western platform, as the elevation prevents a more traditional sloped ramp. As it extends out from Union St., the eastern platform would become a small capping bridge built out across the below-grade Rosa L Parks Blvd.

New benches, tables and other urban furniture will be part of the newly created spaces, providing space to rest and relax while traveling into, or out of, downtown.

MOBILITY

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New bike and pedestrian access could be created from Union Street to TSU’s Campus, eventually connecting to the N. Gulch Greenway.

ELEVATED ALLEY

A new elevated alley space begins to form on the west edge of the site as infill develops within the TSU site. This alley presents space for public art and creative placemaking along the pathway. Proposal by Anastasiya Skvarniuk, NCDC Design Intern.

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Images of the proposed highway cap as a new landmark public space in Downtown. 32

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INTERSTATE CAPPING EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Interstate

OWNERSHIP Public

ON SITE FACILITIES

Below-grade interstate, bridges with vehicle and pedestrian infrastructure

Existing Site

IMPROVEMENTS GREEN SPACE

A new park space could be added to the city’s public space network, serving as both destination and connector between Downtown and Midtown.

VENDORS

Food trucks and carts could be allowed along the edges of the park, particularly during events.

Cities across the US are revisiting the functionality of interstate highways in downtown areas to better connect neighborhoods bisected from mid-century infrastructure. Modeled after similar projects nationwide, the I-40 interstate cap would create a land bridge over Interstate 40, between the Broadway and Demonbreun bridges. This new park section would create approximately 170,000 SF of new public space while stitching together the canyon that separates the Gulch and Midtown. In early 2019, NCDC partnered with Vanderbilt University engineering students to conduct a feasibility study of the site (below image). Within their analysis, the students and NCDC staff outlined the process of building the cap, and the opportunity it presented as a cornerstone public space project within Nashville.

The cap will be a truly unique space for outdoor recreation such as sports, concerts, festivals and casual gatherings.

CONNECTIVITY

Part of the new park could include greater walking paths, safe bike infrastructure, and opportunities for dedicated transit lanes.

ECONOMIC IMPACTS

As seen with other capping projects, surrounding development often experiences an increase in their economic value from being located along a large park.

TYPICAL SECTION

ACTIVITIES

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LAFAYETTE STREET EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Corridor

SIZE

0.55 miles long

OWNERSHIP Public

ON SITE FACILITIES

5-6 travel lanes, unclear pedestrian crossings, some businesses and retail Existing Site

Lafayette Street is the primary corridor into downtown from south Nashville. Despite its critical location for transportation and connectivity, it experiences fairly low daily traffic counts for a road that contains as many as six travel lanes. Further, there remains generally low-intensity development along the corridor compared with the rest of Downtown. As a result of these disparities, NCDC identified several intersections that have a strong eligibility for public space and transportation improvements. The Lafayette proposal examines three different intersections, and ascribes ideas towards new public space and roadway designs. These spaces not only encourage more public activity, but promote safer pedestrian accessibility in anticipation of growing development along the corridor. The entire proposal seeks to instill a more welcoming configuration to the corridor for Downtown visitors, commuters, and those patronizing nearby businesses.

Many intersections along Lafayette look like the ones above and to the right. Often, there is no clear or safe path for crossing the street, and therefore does not make the corridor an inviting space for anything but vehicle use. Additionally there is still fairly limited development oriented towards the street itself. The following proposals keeps in mind the lack of clear street crossings while accounting for future development plans and how they could improve the corridor.

Looking south along Lafayette Street

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The renewed intersection will host a new WeGo transit hub, improved transit infrastructure, public plaza, and enhanced pedestrian crossings 36


LAFAYETTE STREET & 5TH AVENUE S EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE

Downtown Corridor

OWNERSHIP

Public and private

ON SITE FACILITIES

Sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, underutilized open spaces, private lots being developed, vacant public lot. Existing site

IMPROVEMENTS TRANSPORTATION

A new transit hub servicing south Nashville could be located at the intersection’s NE corner, while new dedicated transit lanes will be incorporated along Lafayette.

PUBLIC SPACE

The intervention at Lafayette and 5th includes a new public plaza, lane reconfigurations, and most notably a new multimodal WeGo Transit Hub at the intersection’s northeast corner. Dedicated to servicing south Nashville, the Hub will be a neighborhood transit hub and contain ground-level retail and restaurants along Lafayette, with housing on the above floors. Additional transportation amenities would include dedicated ride share zones, bike and scooter docks, underground parking, and adjacent dedicated bus lanes along Lafayette. The removal of the existing Elm St. slip lane allows for creating a new public plaza oriented towards the intersection, with space for trees, shade, seating, and activities. This space would similarly support new development and retail around the intersection, in addition to the new transit hub.

A new 5000 SF public plaza created at the current Elm St slip lane. The plaza would have seating, trees, activities for gathering and waiting for transit.

STORE FRONTS

The Transit Hub’s ground floor will be dedicated to commercial activities and host new restaurants and shops.

View of the new plaza space at Lafayette St, 5th Ave, and Elm St, with example development.

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6T

H

AV E

S

LAFAYETTE ST

The cornerstone of the enhanced intersection will be an 11,000 SF new plaza space, hosting a small retail and commercial building 38


LAFAYETTE STREET & 6th AVENUE S EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE

Downtown Corridor

OWNERSHIP

Public and private

ON SITE FACILITIES

Sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, underutilized open spaces, private lots being developed. Existing Site

IMPROVEMENTS TRANSPORTATION

New dedicated bus lanes and bicycle lanes on each direction on Lafayette St, appropriately reducing existing travel lanes to meet daily vehicle levels.

PUBLIC SPACE

The intervention at Lafayette and 6th similarly includes lane reconfigurations and a new public plaza. By removing the Lea Avenue slip lane at the intersections north side, a new 11,000 SF space is developed to host both a small commercial building and public plaza or park. While the plaza will contain public art, trees, shade, seating and other urban furniture, the new building may host retail and food primarily oriented towards patrons of the public space. Lafayette St. will also have new bike and bus lanes along this section, with a new center grass strip median along the current center turn lane. By including trees within both the plaza and center strip, Nashville can support its goal of increasing the tree canopy across the city.

A new 11,000 SF space is created in the existing Lea Ave slip lane, and will host both a plaza and small retail building. The plaza will contain seating, trees, art, and shade.

Urban Canopy

Prioritizing intersections like Lafayette and 6th for planting new trees supports a more sustainable city and Metro’s goals of planting more trees across the city.

The improved intersection and plaza, with new transit infrastructure

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S 7TH AVE LAFAYETTE ST

The reconfigured intersection will be anchored by four pocket parks, collectively improving the corridor’s mobility, accessibility, and safety 40


LAFAYETTE STREET & 7th AVENUE S EXISTING CONDITIONS TYPE OF SPACE Main Street

OWNERSHIP

Public and private

ON SITE FACILITIES

Pedestrian Island that needs redesign, sidewalk, buildings that need to be redeveloped, complicated crossing between Lafayette St. and 7th Avenue S. Existing Site

IMPROVEMENTS TRANSPORTATION

New dedicated bus lanes and bicycle lanes on each direction on Lafayette street, appropriately reducing existing travel lanes to meet current daily vehicle levels.

Unlike the other Lafayette intersections, Lafayette and 7th is anchored by a series of smaller public plazas at each corner of the intersection. The four “pocket plazas” are obtained by removing slip lanes and “T-ing” up each of the five roads that converge at Lafayette and 7th. The resulting 15,000 SF of total new public space will include trees, plants, art, and seating while acting as a gateway into downtown Nashville. Lafayette and 7th will continue the new dedicated bus and bike lanes in both directions to promote multimodal accessibility to and along Lafayette St. Similarly a green planter strip with trees will replace the existing center turn lane.

PUBLIC SPACES

Four new public spaces, totalling 15,000 SF will be created at the corners of the existing intersection. Each pocket plaza will contain trees, seating, art, and other urban furniture. These plazas will also act as a new gateway into the heart of downtown Nashville.

STORE FRONTS

As continued developed moves along Lafayette, new projects should contain ground-level retail and commercial offerings to promote more pedestrian and economic activity.

Looking NE at the Lafayette and 7th intersection, with new plaza space

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RECLAIM YOUR PUBLIC SPACE Strategies for Action

Creating great public spaces is a multidisciplinary process, often requiring experimenting, trying new things, and collecting data. The below diagram from Project for Public Spaces provides a general framework in which to begin assessing, designing, and managing public spaces in order to foster successful spaces for all people.

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PUBLIC SPACE EVALUATION USER COUNT

People are the best judges of a successful public space. Surveys can determine what spaces are being used and which ones are not, conducting survey is a way to count the number of users and their actions throughout the day. This is often best done over multiple days and spaced time periods throughout the day. Multiple surveyors are often required for larger spaces.

PUBLIC SPACE METRICS

Once spaces have been identified as underutilized, the Public Space Metrics, featured in the previous page, provide a framework of evaluation to call attention to the necessary elements of successful public spaces. The metrics highlight public space elements from across the country, in order to help identify common deficiencies and visualize improvements.

DESIGN CHARRETTE

A design charrette is a hands-on planning and design process for community members to provide project feedback, address alternative solutions, and help identify a preferred plan. A charrette can last more then a couple of hours but can also be scheduled to go for days. It is meant to bring all interested parties together and form a design solution as quickly as possible. This may be facilitated through your local planning agency, neighborhood association, civic design center, or professional design firm.

“FRIEND” THE PUBLIC SPACE

The creation of a vision and objectives for a public space may be further supported through the establishment of a “friends” group dedicated to the creation, maintenance, and preservation of the public space. This entitles the community to inform and shape their space, often resulting in better maintained, populated, and more successful spaces.

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TAKING ACTION

Improving Nashville’s Public Spaces using Tactical Urbanism

Tactical URBanism Organizers

TURBO Nashville

PARK(ing) Day

TURBO is part of the Nashville Civic Design Center ‘s Reclaiming Public Space initiative, acting as its action arm for enhancing Nashville’s public spaces.

PARK(ing) Day is an international event where citizens, artists and activists collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spaces into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks or parklets. The project began in 2005 when Rebar, a San Francisco art and design studio, converted a single metered parking space into a temporary public park in downtown San Francisco. Since 2005, PARK(ing) Day has grown to an international event, celebrating and highlighting the importance of public space. PARK(ing) Day takes place the third Friday of September every year.

We inspire permanent change through temporary projects surrounding mobility, safety and creativity. We use a strategy known as tactical urbanism, which includes low-cost and often temporary changes to the built environment done to inform permanent change. Tactical urbanism is intentionally conducted in a way to be lead and installed by regular citizens, and goes straight to action in order to avoid slow and inhibiting bureaucracy. Examples of tactical urbanism can range from bus stop benches, temporary bike lanes and crosswalks, pop-up artwork, temporary pedestrian plazas, outdoor seating and more. To learn more, see past projects, and get involved with TURBO, visit our website: tacticalurbanism.org

Over the last 8 years, NCDC has organized PARK(ing) DAy in Nashville, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Works. Interested individuals and groups sign up for parking spots through NCDC, and are provided detailed information and guidance for installing and facilitating their parklet. Anyone can participate in parking day as long as they reserve a spot with NCDC prior to the event. 45


TOOL BOX

Resources for Community Driven Spaces

REFERENCES Organizations 1. Nashville Civic Design Center, Reclaiming Public Space Initiative https://www.civicdesigncenter.org/productions/rps 2. Tactical URBanism Organizers (TURBO) http://www.turbonashville.org/ 3. Project For Public Spaces https://www.pps.org/ 4. NACTO https://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/SPURhttps://www.spur.org/

Additional Reading: 1. What is Placemaking? https://www.pps.org/category/placemaking 2. The Case for Quality Public Spaces for All https://dirt.asla.org/2019/06/25/the-case-for-quality-public-spaces-for-all/ 3. High Performance Public Spaces: A tool for building more resilient and sustainable communities https://thefield.asla.org/2019/03/21/high-performance-public-spaces-a-tool-for-buildingmore-resilient-and-sustainable-communities/ 4. The Journal of Public Space https://www.journalpublicspace.org/index.php/jps 5. Principles for Public Space Design: Planning to do Better https://link.springer.com/article/10.1057/s41289-018-0070-3

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PHOTO CREDITS PAGE IMAGE SOURCE

Cover

NCDC Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Pg. 08 Nashville Nationaleventpros.com Pg. 08

Downtown Nashville Aerial

NCDC

Pg. 08

Broadway Walkway

Bryan Obara, NCDC Design Fellow

Pg. 07, 09

Boathouse

Daniel Zegel, UTCoaD student

Pg. 07, 10

The Green at The Gulch

Bryan Obara, NCDC Design Fellow

Pg. 07,11

Sudekum Pedestrian Bridge

Pg. 07,12

Shelby Street Bridge

Ben Cross, UTCoaD student

Pg. 14

TURBO logo

NCDC

Pg. 15

TURBO collage

Anastasiya Skvarniuk, NCDC Design Intern

Pg. 16

Downtown Nashville Aerial

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow

Pg. 17

Downtown Nashville Aerials

Anastasiya Skvarniuk, NCDC Design Intern

Pg. 18-19

Church Street Park

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow & Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Pg. 20-23

Broadway & Riverfront

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow & Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Pg. 24-25

Interstate Capping

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow & Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Lafayette Street

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow & Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Pg. 34-35

TSU Campus

Breanna Williams, Nadin Jabri, UTKCoaD students

Pg. 36-37

Pedestrian Bridge over Rosa Parks

Anastasiya Skvarniuk, NCDC Design Intern

Pg. 38-41

Gay Street District

Edian Mece, NCDC Research Fellow & Taylan Tekeli NCDC Design and Research Assistant

Pg. 42-43

Victory Memorial Bridge Park Elizabeth Crimmins, NCDC Design Fellow

Pg. 44

Design Your Neighborhood

Pg. 26-33

NCDC

NCDC

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Funding for Reclaiming Public Space in Downtown Vol II was provided by the Greater Nashville Regional Council, and Nashville’s Office of the Mayor.

Nashville Civic Design Center The mission of the Nashville Civic Design Center is to elevate the quality of Nashville’s built environment and to promote public participation in the creation of a more beautiful and functional city for all.

Nashville Civic Design Center Staff: Gary Gaston, Chief Executive Officer Melody Gibson, Education Director Eric Hoke, Design Director Joe Mayes, Program + Membership Manager Mike Thompson, Project + Evaluation Manager Jules Shainberg, Finance Manager Jolie Ayn Yockey, Special Projects Taylan Tekeli, Design and Research Assistant Taylor Young, Research Fellow Edian Mece, Research Fellow Elizabeth Crimmins, Design Fellow Kayla Anderson, Research Fellow Emmett McKinney, Design Fellow Berenice Oliva, Research Intern Anastasiya Skvarniuk, Design Intern

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Profile for Nashville Civic Design Center

Reclaiming Public Space In Downtown Nashville: Volume 2  

Nashville’s public spaces give our city meaning. They reflect our past and present, our collective identity and our values. While doing so,...

Reclaiming Public Space In Downtown Nashville: Volume 2  

Nashville’s public spaces give our city meaning. They reflect our past and present, our collective identity and our values. While doing so,...