Christmas Day 2020
On Dec. 25, 2020, a bomb inside an RV was detonated on Second Avenue near the AT&T building located between Commerce Street and Church Street. The damage impacted 65 buildings, many of which are historic structures built in the late 1800s. Though the city shook in the wake of the blast and Christmas Day of 2020 will forever be engrained in the history and hearts of Nashville, we also proved once again how strong this community is by coming together and rebuilding.
Setting a Foundation to Rebuild
With the direction to not just restore the effected zone, but to build back better than ever, a new vision for both Second Avenue and First Avenue began to form with the guidance of key stakeholders, Urban Land Institute Advisory Services panelists and the general public. A space for locals, outdoor dining, urban trees and connections to the Cumberland River have been at the forefront of the visioning process. As damaged buildings are making plans to rebuild, many are responding with incorporating recommendations such as activating along First Avenue, creating connections between Second and First Avenues and integrating unique techniques to incorporate art into the buildings. Because MDHA serves as lead developer for the city, the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County and Metro Planning asked MDHA to lead the design and construction efforts for the Second Avenue Rebuild on behalf of Metro.
See the Latest Second Avenue Renderings
The streetscape renderings feature a variety of tree species, planters, Dark Sky approved streetlights, designated mid-block crossings and shared loading zones while maintaining two vehicular lanes. The designs also feature wider sidewalks with brick pavers, which will accommodate outdoor dining for the many restaurants along the south and middle blocks.
Community Engagement and Design
Beginning in February 2021, the city began organizing and listening to key stakeholders through a series of visioning sessions. These community engagement meetings were led by the Civic Design Center, Metro Planning, GHP and MDHA and have heavily focused on those directly impacted by the blast: the residents, building owners, businesses and merchants along Second Avenue. This focused group has been heavily involved in the visioning and design process, even choosing some of the design details, throughout the dozens of meetings.
Pioneering the Future
The Second Avenue Rebuild is offering the city with multiple opportunities to refine, develop and implement new items as pilot projects.
- In 2022, Metro Council adopted a Dark Skies Initiative for the city and the Second Avenue Rebuild has selected the city’s first approved streetlight that is Dark Sky approved.
- Outdoor dining was a highly requested feature from the community and ULI experts and has been incorporated into the streetscape designs. Updated outdoor dining design guidelines are being produced by the city to help streamline the process and encourage businesses to activate along the widened sidewalks.
- In order to activate the west side of Second Avenue between Commerce and Church Streets, the city will be installing permanent kiosks to support food and retail services.
- In order to activate the First Avenue side of buildings, we must rethink waste practices to eliminate the need for dumpsters along our front porch of the river. The stakeholders and businesses have participated in a waste study and are working with city leaders to develop a new Waste & Recycling management system that will pave the way for a pedestrian forward streetscape along First Avenue.
Construction Plans and Timeline
Reeves Young was selected by a committee of representatives from MDHA, Nashville Department of Transportation & Multimodal Infrastructure (NDOT) and the Metro Planning Department for the multiyear construction project. All have committed conduct work while maintaining pedestrian access to the businesses throughout the project. The north block, between Church Street and Union, is the first portion for this streetscape project beginning in May 2023 and is anticipated to be up to twelve months.
Current construction activities are focused on the north block from Church Street to Union Street and include installation of stormwater infrastructure, excavation and preparation of tree wells, selection of individual trees for this block and utility coordination. The project team will be in communication with south block stakeholders and businesses as we prepare for construction commencement on the block between Broadway and Commerce Street in 2024.
Construction on the north block between Church Street and Union Street is approximately halfway complete, and MDHA will begin construction on the south block between Commerce Street and Broadway in early 2024. Barricades that do not impede vehicle or pedestrian access have been placed along the sidewalks on the south block between Commerce Street and Broadway to prepare for construction to begin in early 2024. The roadway will remain open to vehicles through the holidays with traffic changes and road closures between Commerce Street and Broadway anticipated to begin in early January. The first phase of construction on the south block entails roadway, tree preparation and underground utility work to separate stormwater from the combined sewer system. Businesses will remain open and accessible to pedestrians throughout construction on the south block, which has a projected schedule of 12 months.
Traffic changes on Second Avenue were implemented on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, as construction relating to the Second Avenue Rebuild begins on the south block. Second Avenue between Church Street and Broadway will be closed to vehicular traffic and parking during construction on the south block, which has a projected schedule of 12 months.
Businesses and buildings along the south block of Second Avenue will remain open with sidewalks for pedestrian access throughout.
While the south block of Second Avenue is closed to vehicular traffic, there will be pedestrian crosswalks across Second Avenue on both sides of the road closure between Commerce Street and Second Avenue and Broadway and Second Avenue. There will also be a pedestrian crosswalk across Commerce Street, which will be closed to vehicular traffic between the crosswalk and Second Avenue. The entrance to the SP+ Parking Garage at 201 Commerce Street will remain open.
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