Drivers take to neighborhood streets to avoid Nashville traffic

(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – As more traffic slows down major roads, drivers have been taking to neighborhood streets.

Often times they are speeding through a quick short cut, leaving the people who live there feeling unsafe in their own front yards.

One Nashville neighborhood decided to take matters into their own hands.

Neighbor Joe Woolley says, “I think when you’re in your car and you’re sitting in traffic it is all about you and how you’re going to get to your destination the quickest.”

Unfortunately for this neighborhood, Elmwood Avenue is the quickest way from the busy Belmont area to the packed 12 South business district.

The neighbors here were sick of not letting their kids play out front, or being afraid to use the sidewalks. So they created a traffic circle, one that forced every direction to slow down considerably to make that curve safely.

RELATED: 12South neighbors create ‘pop-up’ roundabouts

This one is temporary, allowing them to test it out and see if it really worked.

“The day we built it, it was incredible to see the neighbors on that street come out,” explained Woolley.

Not everyone was thrilled, though.

“We got an email from a realtor who lives in Franklin and she was unhappy about it because she drives that every day to get from her office to show homes in 12South,” Woolley told News 2. “It made her drive slower and she thought it was less attractive and a big problem. I had to laugh at that because she’s part of the problem that we were trying to solve.”

There’s no harm in using a shortcut. But next time you do, think about if this were your street, your neighborhood, or your kids playing in the front yard or the sidewalk.

A big part of solving this issue is all about compassion, and maybe there were a few critics, but Woolley says overall the response was positive.

“We also though heard from people across the city,” he said. “Other neighborhoods in the city saying I have an intersection that would be perfect at. How do I get one of these?”

If that’s you, start by working with your neighborhood association first and then your city councilperson. Woolley’s is Burkley Allen from District 18.

“It took people a while to figure out what in the world it was and how to deal with it,” explained Allen.

The councilwoman was able to work with Metro Public Works and the Nashville Civic Design Center to move the neighborhood’s idea forward. But she says before you do anything, be sure all of your neighbors are onboard.

“After a day of, ‘This is change I don’t like it!’ to, ‘Wow! this works really well,’ and then you have buy in before you spend the money on the permanent piece,” Allen said.

It’s pretty easy to see. These neighbors have definitely bought in. Woolley says “it changed that street for those two weeks that it was in.”

If you think you live near a dangerous short cut, Metro Public Works has a traffic calming program with a list of things they can do to help. Click here for more information.

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