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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Why Are There Highways in Nashville Neighborhoods?

Why Are There Highways in Nashville Neighborhoods?

One of the most uncomfortable situations for pedestrians is a road crossing with too many lanes.  The scale is just plain wrong.  Will all the cars yield?  Do all the drivers see you?  It is so impersonal - you cannot possibly make eye contact with all the drivers.   Walkers in Nashville know that eye contact is key to keeping them safe.  In addition, the wait to cross is incredibly long - making the pedestrian consider taking a risk.  It is a wretched situation and dangerous.  

So, why do we design roads in our neighborhoods that consists of multiple lanes of traffic?  It is the equivalent of having an expressway in a residential area.

The corner of Blakemore & West End is like this.  The next time you are at this intersection, I strongly encourage you to look around.  Seven lanes of traffic have to be crossed!  I watched a man waiting to cross this intersection the other day and he was still waiting when I finally got the green arrow to turn ~ over 4 minutes later.  Frankly, this is very poor quality design when you are looking at it from the view point of a pedestrian.   


The 400 block of Murfreesboro is like this too -  5 lanes of traffic to cross.  A place were a pedestrian, 42 year old actor Bryant Crenshaw, made know by local film director Harmony Korine, was struck and killed while trying to cross the street on February 5th, 2015.

I encourage you to look around with the eye of a critic.  Do these types of intersections make sense in residential areas?   I encourage you to also think about other major cities you have visited or lived in…do they have intersections like this?  In particular, I am thinking of Chicago and NYC - they did not allow the equivalent of highways going through town.  

Why should Nashville?


From The Scene:

(UPDATE, 3:30 p.m. Feb. 6: A fund has been established to give Crenshaw a memorial service. From the site: "Any additional proceeds will be used to help raise awareness for the homeless community in Nashville Tn. Please donate what you can.")

Bryant Crenshaw, the diminutive actor who made an indelible impression as "Midget" in Harmony Korine's Nashville-shot 1997 feature debut Gummo, was struck and killed last night in a car accident. He was 42.

According to WSMV, the accident occurred just before 7 p.m., when Allen Brown, 51, was traveling down Murfreesboro Road in a pickup truck. Brown told police that Crenshaw tried to cross the street on foot, causing a car in front of him to swerve. Brown could not avoid him.

Filmmaker James Clauer, who served as second-unit director on Gummo, was in school with Crenshaw from first through 12th grade and "hung out hardcore" with him in elementary school. Asked for memories of working with him on Gummo's famously anarchic shoot, a crew member said, "i probably wouldn't want to put some of those memories in print if ya know what I'm saying …"

In recent years, Crenshaw, who was homeless, could often be seen near the intersection of 12th and Wedgewood. He appeared in at least one other feature, 2007's video-shot Trite This Way. Friends say they are planning a memorial service and will pass along details as they become available.

Below: the oft-watched Gummo clip of Crenshaw with writer-director Korine, and a clip of Crenshaw beat-boxing in Trite This Way.

From The Tennessean:

Friends of Bryant Crenshaw, who died Thursday after being hit by a truck, are remembering him for his big personality and creative spirit.
Crenshaw, 42, was pronounced dead at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after being struck in the 400 block of Murfreesboro Pike by a southbound pickup truck, a Metro police news release stated.
Film director Harmony Korine, who grew up with Crenshaw, cast his short-statured friend in his 1997 movie "Gummo." Korine said Crenshaw represented the old, grittier Nashville and was a charismatic force who preferred to live life on his own terms, shucking the mainstream and gravitating toward the shadows.
"He was someone I always thought needed to be on the big screen," Korine said. "I really feel like he could have been — in another lifetime, another situation, another circumstance — he could have been like a kind of Brando or a James Dean level actor."
Korine said people gravitated toward Crenshaw's universal aura, and his absence will be felt across Nashville.

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