Monday, January 31, 2011

North Nashville Community Plan easily clears its first major Metro hurdle

Last week I attended the public hearing on the North Nashville Community Plan. It did not appear to me that very many citizens attended on the subject. No one spoke in favor of it. The only opponent, Bruce Wood, spoke in opposition to it based on his view that there is a fundamental disconnect between per capita income levels, workforce and health of North Nashville residents and that of the rest of Nashville. He insisted that the plan does not address those inequities. The Planning Commission disagreed with Wood and voted unanimously to approve.

The full plan passed by the commission can be found on the planning website. Some of the community-informed highlights discussed at the Planning Commission include:
  • Planning for easy on-street parking or parking behind buildings in urban corridors
  • Conserving parks and greenspace and increasing amenities and programming therein
  • Leaving open space/flood plain undeveloped (which was justified during May flood)
  • Limiting number of neighborhood centers to strengthen corridors
  • Corridor polices along Jeff St and Buchanan St emphasizing vertical 1-3 story builds against sidewalks and mixed use
  • "University Row" 28th Av connector to West Nashville including residential development with commercial development limited to grocery store
  • Acceptance of developers' request for Metro to provide economic incentives for development
  • 5th Av N and several other streets would be changed to "collector streets"
My main concern was with the implications of that last point. It seems like I remember something about collector streets and LED sign allowances, but I did e-mail Metro Planning after the meeting to ask for clarification. A transportation planner replied to me thusly:

We are in the process of updating the Major and Collector Street Plan, which is still scheduled for a public hearing on February 24 at 4 p.m. in the Howard Office Building. We have added and deleted a number of streets based upon feedback from stakeholders and residents. During one of our last reviews, we reevaluated streets that connect into Downtown. There were a few streets added as collectors with the largest one being 5th Avenue beginning at Lafayette and going north through Downtown, through Germantown to Garfield. It is identified as a T4-M-CA2 between Jefferson and Hume. It is a T4-R-CA2 between Hume and Garfield. This means it's within an urban context (T) with mixed use (M) or residential (R) land use policies as a collector-avenue with two travel lanes. Ultimately if a developer were to redevelop property along 5th or Metro to conduct public improvements, the MCSP would help outline what potential elements should be considered and what they may look like. That might include wider sidewalks, improvements to on-street parking, addition of bike lanes, wider planting strips along the street, etc. These decisions would be guided by existing constraints meaning the existing development conditions and whether it is a large or small improvement project.

Sounds innocuous right now, but of course I wonder if there are Metro Codes in our future that call for something objectionable on collector streets. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. I seem to remember that there are limits to traffic calming that can be done on collector streets -- and that perhaps these streets are easier to widen?? (That last one is from LONG ago.) Sorry I can't refer to any rules or regs about these.

    For whatever it's worth. . . .