5th Avenue downtown set for change to two-way traffic this week - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

5th Avenue downtown set for change to two-way traffic this week

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Nashville is just days away from major changes that officials say will make downtown easier and safer to get around by car and on foot.

Later this week, a portion of 5th Avenue North will not only get a new name, but it will also open up to two-way traffic.

Joe Harwell, manager at Blue Coast Burrito on 5th Avenue, worries it could be a little more challenging for his customers to get to the restaurant.

"We fill the restaurant completely up for lunch every day and have a line out the door," he said.

The restaurant sits near the corner of 5th Avenue and Church Street, which is smack in the middle of Mayor Karl Dean's new Avenue of the Arts project.

The campaign aims to draw more people to the many art studios and attractions in the area as well as make the traffic flow better from one side of downtown to the other by changing 5th Avenue to allow two-way traffic from Lafayette Street to James Robertson Parkway.

"Most of our customers come in on foot - especially our lunch and dinner crowds. They are already crossing the road, and it's a lot easier crossing a one-way than a two-way," Harwell said.

Mark Macy, director of engineering for Metro Public Works, said the change will help people - especially visitors - get around town easier.

"We've done 3rd Avenue, which worked fine. We did Church Street. Of course, we rebuilt Deadrick," Macy said. "I think once everybody gets used to it, I think they'll find it works just fine."

That is something businesses like Blue Coast Burrito are banking on.

"It will be great for people going both ways on the street, however, I don't really know if that's going to bring us more traffic in the restaurant," Harwell said.

Crews will begin laying down temporary stripes for the traffic changes Thursday, and Macy said all businesses will be accessible while the changes are made.

All work should be complete by the end of May.

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