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removal of the downtown loop


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see planofnashville.com

they have the entire diagram of where the highways would converge and meet up if the downtown loop were to be removed..... i think it is a great idea, but i dont see it ever coming to fruition within the next 30 years

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i checked the site today... they have some old irrelevant stuff on there for some reason. im not sure if i can post a picture i scan from the book. mods, can i post a picture i scan from the actual book i have?

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In theory, it's a great idea. I think eventually it would give Nashville a more connected feeling inner-city, rather than having the barrier of having the interstate (I think East and North Nashville are probably the most affected by it).

However, before we even begin to entertain this idea, we need to fix the outer junctions to handle this.

-There is NO WAY I-440 can handle the sort of traffic increase this will undoubtedly bring. Not only would it need to be widened to 4 lanes (at least) on either side, but the current interchanges would need to be fixed....the most problematic being I-65, where a completely new, and much larger bridge would need to be constructed. 440 is already a nightmare at rush hour...if you could only imagine it with probably more than twice the traffic it already has.

-Briley Pkwy from I-40 to I-65 can probably handle the increase in traffic as of right now...it would get busier, but the interchanges are nice and maybe only minor modifications would need to be done. It would probably be good to add a lane on each side to the west side of Briley to ensure a smooth flow between W I-40 to W 24 and 65.

Other things that should be considered before the start of such a project:

-Will this significantly affect the driving time to downtown? The time it takes from inside the 440 loop is about 5 minutes to downtown, without traffic. Would this increase the time to 15 minutes or so? Will the new "urban boulevard" plan include a lot of new red lights that slow traffic speed down significantly? This type of thing could have quite an effect on downtown business and events. It would undoubtedly increase commute times downtown, and could affect the drive time to Titans and Predators games, as well as to mega events downtown such as FanFair and the 4th of July festivities.

Obviously it has been a trend in the past few decades to move offices into the suburbs...if something of a traffic nightmare was created due to poor planning, it could cause even more flight from downtown (or at the very least, a stall in new office building).

-Will the "reclaimed space" actually be filled along the new corridors? I am somewhat familiar with the Plan of Nashville...and one of the major points they make is how much space the downtown interchanges take up, and how property for retail/office/residential could be reclaimed by removing them. It's a nice idea, and before the recession, we did see a nice spark of development downtown...but what about the area leading up to downtown? I could see possible development budding in the Melrose area on I-65 south...also possibly I-40 in the Charlotte area. I-40/24 East is mainly industrial as it is....and I-65 north in the Trinity Ln area is a pretty bad part of town (unless you're interested in making it the new red light district).

-The loop side of 65/40 that cuts between midtown and downtown is buried below the interstate between 8th Ave and Charlotte....the road would probably have to be left that way.

I will say that I do like the plan....but a lot of research needs to be done with the feasibility of the project.

My suggestions would be as follows:

-Have a "transition area" between interstate and boulevard that last roughly halfway between the by-passes and downtown. Here the speed limit would remain 45-55 and there would be very few intersections. This would help the faster traffic ease into downtown and cut down on the travel time that would be caused by an immediate change to a boulevard.

-Incorporate a light rail line on each of the Boulevards giving us a line in each direction out of downtown.

-Very few red lights on the loop part of the boulevard to keep traffic flow around the city moving.

-Retain a few of the exits at intersections on the way into town (i.e. have a simple 4 ramp exit at roads like Wedgewood) to keep new major intersections from clogging up traffic.

Just my perspective on the issue.

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i would highly recommend a read of the plan of nashville book. your suggestions are covered in this book. this has been under extensive study for quite a few years before the book came out with many community meetings and feasibility studies. many of the scenarios werent possible in the current state nashvilles transit is in, but in the future it any be, only if we have more rapid transit options.

there are many many cities that dont have downtown loops and have huge booming CBD's, some larger than nashville, so i highly doubt it will hinder development in and around downtown. urban boulevards actually, in the cases that have been done and studied, spurred more development than the highway did when it was built.

i think this would launch nashville into a dense urban future, but we just dont have the kind of money this type of project would require. this plan covers many different projects all dependent on eachother. in the cases of the other cities that got rid of highways, they werent entire loops, and werent entire city plans. this would have to be phased over many many years if the expect half of what they designed to ever come to fruition.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree Ron. It will be awhile before this is done. Maybe in my last leg of life will this be done, if at all. I do like the idea and see it bringing Nashville closer together. I can see necessitating mass transit options such as BRT, LRT, street cars, and additional commuter rail legs. I also see passenger rail coming back, a boom to the transport rail industry, and air industry. Although much planning and improvements will need to be done to complete this. Traffic could be diverted onto 440 and 840, but I think the 840N loop would need to be built. Also, it could increase sprawl as 840 would be the main corridor and encourage development along the highway. Dunno, if I had the money I would purchase the book and join the NCDC forum. You can still sign up for emails and such at NCDC link ( Nashville Civic Design Center). I encourage it if you are interested in Nashville development. I just signed up today!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would encourage Nashville to look at what we're doing here in Dallas with the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. Woodall Rodgers is part of the downtown loop that blocks DT from Uptown (like Midtown in Nashville), and through a combination of federal, local, and private money a deck park is being built over the interstate (like could feasibly be done on the part of Nashville's loop from 65 to Charlotte Pike).

You can get an idea of it at http://www.theparkdallas.org/

I don't see the Urban Boulevard thing being feasible unless there are some fairly significant changes in our growth patterns, but I think that burying the interstates downtown or just mitigating their impact some more could be done

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