A pedestrian bridge linking two of Nashville’s highest-profile neighborhoods is making progress

The project has stalled since being proposed two years ago by former Mayor Karl Dean.

October 03, 2016 |

Image courtesy of Nashville.gov

Two of the most popular, up and coming neighborhoods in Nashville, the Gulch and SoBro, are separated by a rail yard, making it difficult for pedestrians to easily get from one neighborhood to the other.

The Gulch is the tip of the spear when it comes to Nashville’s urban rebirth and contains about 1,800 residential units, 50 bars, restaurants, retailers, and entertainment venues, two new 1,500-plus employee office buildings, and a luxury hotel due to open in November. Meanwhile, SoBro is the heart of the Tennessee city’s red-hot real estate market and the location of the Music City Center convention hall. It doesn’t take an urban planner to understand why a more direct link between these two neighborhoods would be beneficial.

And while the city of Nashville has seen the benefits of linking these two neighborhoods, proposing plans for an $18 million pedestrian bridge two years ago, actually getting the plans put into motion has proven difficult.

Former Mayor Karl Dean originally proposed the pedestrian bridge back in September of 2014 with the idea to use property taxes generated by seven Gulch buildings to pay for it, Nashville Business Journal reports. However, the Metro Planning Department still had to buy land or access to build the bridge. Had construction begun in Summer 2015 like city officials thought, the bridge would be opening this fall.

That didn’t happen, but all is not lost, as a newly filed notice with the Metro Planning Department says Metro intends to acquire 1011 Demonbreun St. from the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority, a space currently used for parking. The notice, according to Nashville Business Journal, says the acquisition is "relating to construction of a pedestrian bridge spanning the railroad gulch in downtown Nashville."

The original plans proposed back in fall 2014 show the bridge’s Gulch end located behind a 296-unit apartment building. On the SoBro side, the bridge was planned for the intersection of 10th Avenue South and Lea Avenue.

The Metro Planning Commission will consider the newly filed notice on Oct. 27. The completed bridge would be 700 feet long and take on an elongated ‘S’ shape.

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