Pedestrian bridge, street extension promise connection to SoBro

Pedestrian bridge, street extension promise connection to SoBro (Image 1)

Two major transportation projects promise to bring connectivity to the urban sprawl around downtown Nashville.

Businesses, restaurants and condominiums now take up space that was once underdeveloped in the busy downtown area. The most recent fanfare was reserved the Music City Center and the Omni Hotel in the area commonly referred to as SoBro, or south of Broadway, off Demonbreun Street.

The city’s master plan of SoBro revealed a sort of disconnect between SoBro and other nearby areas, including the popular Gulch along 12th Avenue. The plan calls for traffic improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.

Two projects, a pedestrian bridge and a street extension, could fill the gap, connecting Music Row, Midtown and the Gulch to SoBro.

The SoBro-Gulch Pedestrian Bridge, as the name suggests, would connect south of Broadway and Gulch neighborhoods.

Renderings released by Metro Public Works show the 700-foot long, 30-foot wide cable bridge, with two pillars on each side. On the SoBro end, a 160-foot pillar stretches upward. On the Gulch end, a smaller 100-foot pillar reaches out.

The bridge would extend across the CSX rail line, at 10th Avenue South near Cummins Station, to Pine Street, near Pine Street Flats and Velocity apartments. Much like the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge, it would be accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians.

The second project, known as the Division Street Extension project, would give commuters better access to the same general area.

The project calls for a new bridge and a 2,000 foot roadway that would extend across the CSX rail line, near Frugal MacDoogal Wine and Liquor Warehouse, to Ash Street, near Ewing Drive.

Division Street currently dead ends at the business warehouse. The extension would provide a complete street from 8th Avenue South to 2nd Avenue South.

Both projects would be funded by money already set aside by Metro Council for roadway projects, including $16 million for the pedestrian bridge and $25 million for the street extension.

Neither project has gone beyond the design phase yet. Metro Public Works continues to hold meetings to discuss the plans.

Construction over an active rail line and land acquisition are among the issues that must be addressed before either project can move forward.

If planning continues to go well, both projects could begin by the spring of 2014.

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