Fifth Avenue will be closed through much of downtown Nashville starting this Thursday. When it reopens two days later, what is currently a one-way, Northbound-only street will instead carry traffic in two directions.
The change begins at Broadway and extends roughly five blocks to the end of Fifth Avenue at James Robertson Parkway. Officials with the Public Works Department say the change should improve traffic flow and slow it down, making the street safer for pedestrians. It will also make it possible to route a potential rapid-transit bus along Fifth as it travels between the central bus station and a dedicated lane on Broadway and West End.
Some who live and work on the street are skeptical, particularly those on the section known as Fifth Avenue of the Arts thanks to its concentration of galleries. The block between Church and Union is currently undergoing a streetscape renovation with new sidewalks, lighting and public art. After the traffic changes were announced, a group of business owners and residents sent a letter asking city leaders to reconsider, predicting that the plans would create traffic jams and damage the character of their neighborhood.