Dickerson Pike was the major road connecting Nashville to Louisville prior to I-65 being built. New development is quickly surrounding the corridor, but Dickerson Pike itself has lagged behind. Neighbors and city leaders are working together to change that.

Identified as one of five high capacity transit corridors in the city, Dickerson Pike is poised to be the center of activity for surrounding neighborhoods and the heart of future development. First it needs a big transition. The Dickerson Pike Planning Study is facilitating the change.

The four- and five-lane thoroughfare is known for its dilapidated and aging buildings and lack of crosswalks, bike lanes and sidewalks. It has the potential to be a primary travel corridor that incorporates all forms of transportation and affordable housing.

Mayor David Briley has a vision for bus rapid transit along Dickerson Pike and its ability to become the city’s second regional transit corridor. (The Music City Star commuter rail connecting Wilson County to downtown is the first.) He included $2 million in his capital improvements budget for a study to evaluate how to build transit and improve pedestrian access along Dickerson Pike. I agree with the Mayor that now is the time to put transportation infrastructure in place before development rolls in.

In January, the study brought together Metro Planning, city council members, business owners, community leaders and neighbors to update the vision and priorities for Dickerson Pike and develop a clear vision to guide the corridor’s growth and transition.

Building on past neighborhood design plans and NashvilleNext, charrettes and visioning workshops were conducted over the following months to collect ideas and expectations and articulate an updated vision. During those sessions, neighbors and community leaders looked at building types and heights and how to tie land use and transportation together. Neighbors voiced support for increasing the density along Dickerson Pike and making it a more walkable place.

The new plan envisions a dense collection of new offices, retail shops and multifamily housing lining Dickerson Pike. Widened streets, transit hubs, greenways, crosswalks, sidewalks and bike lanes are also an integral part of the plan.

The plan will require a zoning change to allow a denser urban mixed-use district along the corridor. A zoning change will spark redevelopment and the transformation of Dickerson Pike can begin.

The Dickerson Pike Planning Study is a great example of neighbors, city leaders and government departments working together to bring about change and stimulate the evolution of a district. Kudos to those involved who are helping make this area of our city stronger.