Nashville’s unusual wheel-and-spoke street pattern reflects the city’s early history as a regional center with connections to surrounding towns. Beginning in the mid-twentieth century, however, development along the spokes transitioned into auto-driven sprawl, and corridors became throughways rather than destinations, resulting in a development pattern oriented to the car. Commercial uses with expansive parking and intense signage designed to attract drivers took precedence over pedestrian facilities; this pattern is not an asset to the neighborhoods that flank the corridor.
Nashville will focus on two such corridors – 4th Avenue South and 8th Avenue South – as transferable models. In addition, the neighborhoods between these corridors will be examined to determine tools and techniques to encourage appropriate infill development.
Nashville’s 8th Avenue (also known as Franklin Pike) is dominated by auto-oriented uses and lacks pedestrian facilities, despite its proximity to attractive and stable residential neighborhood and amenities like the Reservoir visible above the bluff in this photograph.