February Update

February 1, 2019

Mixed Use Hotel/Residential Project at Murphy Road and West End

The mixed use hotel/residential project at Murphy Road and West End was up for Public Hearing at the Council meeting on Tuesday, February 5. The proposed Specific Plan was amended to reflect the changes that have been made based on extensive community input. The hearing itself was deferred to March 5 to allow time for neighbors to review the design changes. The project has been redesigned into two shorter towers with the office component now replaced by residential units. This will reduce the impact on traffic, but the project still includes improving the signal timing at West End, adding a traffic light at the I-440 entrance, and providing speed humps for the Love Circle area to discourage cut-through traffic. (Neighbors are circulating a petition around Love Circle, Acklen, and Orleans to educate residents and gauge support). The project has also added restrictions about lighting, signage, building materials, and parking to address concerns expressed by neighbors. A community meeting on January 28 indicated that some neighbors still have concerns so the Council Members have asked for this additional month to ensure that everyone has access to accurate information and that impacts on the neighborhoods are mitigated. An additional community meeting has been scheduled for February 20 at 6 pm at the West End Synagogue. The new plan is available for review before the meeting on the Metro website under BL2018-1258. Click here.

21st Avenue Corridor Study

Work continues on the 21st Avenue Corridor Study. Input from neighbors and property owners indicated that everyone wants the sidewalks improved; some types of mixed use might be a viable option if traffic flow on 21st could be improved at the same time; and growth on the corridor should be tempered by protections for the adjacent neighbors especially with regard to cut-through traffic on side streets, landscape buffering, and commercial building height near homes. The Planning Department is trying to integrate the ideas into a Urban Design Overlay (UDO) for the area that would provide design guidelines, as well as continuing the discussion about a possible zone change from Office Residential (OR20) to Mixed Use (MU) to allow for more flexibility of uses. There will be additional community meetings to review what has been proposed so far and receive further input.

Chinese New Year Celebration!

The Chinese New Year will be welcomed in on Feb 9 with a grand celebration. The Chinese Arts Alliance of Nashville is teaming up with many partners to host the Chinese New Year @ Hillsboro Village at the Vanderbilt University’s Corner Park at 21st Ave and Blakemore Ave. There will be professional jugglers, Chinese dance, music & songs, Chinese Yo-Yo, Chinese naming, arts & crafts for children, Asian food vendors, bamboo dance, martial arts, Chinese language students’ presentations in addition to the traditional Chinese lion dance and dragon dance. They also will set up a piglets-adoption station while we are welcoming the Chinese Zodiac Year of Pig. People who are born in the Pig Year tend to be diligent, compassionate, and generous. They have great concentration: once they set a goal, they will devote all their energy to achieving it. This is a free event, open to the public of all ages. The Dragon Parade around the village will conclude the celebration at 2:50 PM. Red streamers and percussive instruments accompany the 60-foot long dragon making cheerful noise and bringing blessings to everyone! Admission is free, but planners ask for registration so they can provide enough of everything. Please register here. In case of rains or heavy snow, activities will move to indoors.

Belmont Community Day

Belmont University celebrates its annual Belmont Community Day on Thursday, February 21, by inviting the neighbors to come watch the Belmont Bruins basketball games. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Reservations can be made online or by calling 615-460-2255. Tipoff for the women’s game is at 5 and for the men’s is at 7. Complimentary hot dogs and popcorn start at 5:30 along with face painting and balloon art. Half-time entertainment will be a rousing Battle of the Drumlines between Pearl-Cohn and Cane Ridge High School.

Islamic Center of Nashville Annual Open House

The Islamic Center of Nashville will begin Black History Month with their fifth annual open house on Monday, Feb 25th at 6pm. This is always a great multicultural experience that includes great food, interesting people, and stimulating topics. All are invited. This year’s recipient of the Breaking Down the Barriers Award is Vanderbilt Vice-Chancellor and former Athletic Director, David Williams.

Blue Ribbon Commission

Last year the Metro Council passed Ordinance BL2018-1184, creating a Blue Ribbon Commission to identify cost savings for the city budget. In January the Commission began its work with a goal of presenting their report to the Council by April 1. The Commission will be meeting on the second and fourth Friday of each month at 11 am at the Metro Courthouse. Citizens are invited to submit ideas about how we as a government can function more efficiently and at lower cost to the taxpayers. The commission has set up the modern version of a suggestion box on the Blue Ribbon Commission website by clicking here. Submissions need to be signed or can be submitted through council members for any constituent who does not want to make their name public. The submission form also includes a checkbox with which employees of Metro and MNPS can identify themselves. The Commission plans to recognize employees that submit the best ideas.

Nashville Reads

Discussions on the Nashville Reads book, “Hidden Figures” begin this month including one with the author on February 19 at the Downtown Public Library and one at Jefferson Street Cafe on February 21, 6 pm, led by Martesha Johnson, Chief Public Defender. Both events are free and open to the public. Nashville Reads is a way of bringing the entire city together to read great literature, to broaden the literary horizons of the city, and to open up a forum for discussion. “Hidden Figures,” by Margot Shetterly, is the phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space, while also sending the quest for equal rights and opportunity rocketing forward. In May 2018, Martesha L. Johnson was elected Nashville Public Defender, the first African American to hold this position.

Walk Bike Nashville Impossible Crossings Campaign

Walk Bike Nashville has launched an Impossible Crossings Campaign to address the growing number of pedestrian fatalities in Nashville and would like to have neighbor support. Twenty-three people were killed walking in both 2017 and 2018, an all time high. Changes can be made to bring this number down and save lives. The campaign has 5 main asks:

  • A formal commitment from Mayor Briley to work to eliminate pedestrian, bike and traffic fatalities and severe injuries.
  • Establishment of a new Pedestrian Safety Program this year, with at least 2 metro public works staff focused on addressing road safety
  • An annual report from the Pedestrian Safety Program to Metro Council
  • At least $1.5 Million to address top crash locations in the Impossible Crossing report.
  • A Vision Zero Action Plan, including an update to crash analysis data at least every two years.

The Council is taking has taken a first step by sponsoring legislation to push Public Works to lower the speed limit on all local streets from 30 mph to 25 mph, with an option for neighborhoods to request 20 mph. HWEN led the way on this with their Walking District pilot, which has provided data to demonstrate that lowering the speed limit does lower the speed. In similar pioneering, BHN is having the first traffic calming circle in the area installed at the intersection of 15th and Elmwood after a successful pilot implemented last year.

I-440 Construction

I-440 construction continues with noise wall projects well under way at the Grove at Whitworth, Linmar Avenue, and Battlefield Drive. These are expected to be completed from mid-to late February. Ramp projects at Murphy Road and 21st Avenue are expected to be completed in March. Construction at these sites will continue to result in traffic shifts, shoulder closures, and intermittent ramp closures between 9pm-5am. The next 30 days will also include preparations for the initial traffic switch to close lanes for the median work and additional roadway maintenance activities for drainage and pavement repairs. Some of this work will require temporary daytime lane closures between 9am-3pm this month. The serious work begins next month:

  • Long-term lane closures for heavy construction are estimated to begin the weekend of March 1. TDOT is advising drivers to prepare for increased drive times along the I-440 corridor and surrounding areas beginning in March until the project completion in August 2020.
  • Starting March 1, the contractor will begin shifting traffic on I-440 in order to work in the median area. This includes restricting traffic to two lanes in each direction during the day and one lane in each direction at night, shortening I-440 merge lanes, and closing roadway shoulders.
  • The traffic shifts in March will kick-off the contractor’s 24-hour-a-day/6-days-a-week operations. The work will begin west of I-65 between the Granny White Pike area and West End Avenue. Residents will be impacted by overnight construction noise.
  • The contractor will move west with operations to I-40 and then continue work from I-65 to I-24. By early spring, the entire corridor is expected to be under heavy construction. The contractor will be removing the elevated grassy median and rubblizing concrete in the inside lanes. The existing deteriorated concrete will be pulverized in place and used as the base for the new asphalt roadway. This will be noisy, but it will eliminate hundreds of dump truck trips hauling out rock and bringing in new aggregate.

Once this work is completed, traffic will be shifted to the inside lanes while crews work on the outside lanes. Updates and more information is available here.

Stormwater

The rain on February 6 broke the record for most rain in a day set in the 1890’s. Our stormwater system was pushed beyond its design capacity, and many people experienced flooding that was to some extent unavoidable. I’ve asked Metro Water Services to look at the areas where the old combined sewer system caused homes to have not just rainwater, but sewerage backing into the house or basement. Metro Water has installed a number of back flow preventers at homes around the area to prevent this, but the volume of rain overwhelmed some of those. Please let me know if your home had sewer back-ups to help identify areas that should be prioritized for backflow preventers in the short run and separation of the system as soon as funding can be allocated.

In Conclusion

I hope everyone is staying warm and dry this winter. Please let me know what is on your mind and how we can make District 18 and Nashville better. burkley.allen@nashville.gov or 615-383-6604.

Regards, 
Burkley Allen 
Metro Council 18th District

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