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Murphy Road Streetscape
Roundabout, Nashville

Landscape Architecture by Kimley-Horn



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The roundabout on Murphy Road in the Sylvan Park neighborhood of Nashville replaced a five-way signaled intersection, and created a walkable streetscape that connects the neighborhood to the commercial district. Concrete mixes in crosswalks, and permeable concrete in parking areas were used to create a unified and integrated design for the Murphy Road streetscape. A cool season mix of fescue grasses was specified.


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The roundabout announces itself with the presence of large native Tennessee limestone boulders, hand-selected from the Crab Orchard Stone Co., in Crossville, Tenn. A mixed-size bed of local river rock (1"-3" 45%, 4"-8" 30%, 9"-15" 25%) covers the central swath. The plantings are Arctic Fire red twig dogwood (cornus stolonifera 'farrow'), Creeping St. John's wort (hypericum calycinum) and Creeping lily turf (liriope spicata).


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Decorative streetscape entry monuments integrated artwork made by the children at the local elementary school.


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A barrier wall was required to separate traffic from the pedestrian zone. The landscape architect opted for a seatwall that faces neighborhood restaurants. The seatwall has a Hackett Tulsa stone veneer (Centurion Stone) with precast concrete caps. The pedestrian lighting is the pulse start metal halide 'Invue' MSA Mesa luminaire (Cooper Lighting).




The Murphy Road streetscape project was a first of its kind for the city of Nashville. While it was the third roundabout for the city, it was the first in a neighborhood setting. It replaced an awkward and unsafe five-way signaled intersection, and was complemented by a walkable streetscape that connects a vital commercial district with a historic residential neighborhood.

Landscape architects from Kimley-Horn worked with Sylvan Park business owners and residents to create a walkable corridor that connected multiple residential neighborhoods with a prominent Nashville commercial district, community center, golf course, public park and elementary school. The preliminary kit-of-parts identified street furnishings that complement this eclectic part of Nashville, while making a nod to the adjacent historic McCabe Park property.

The streetscape project incorporated needed outdoor seating for restaurants, plus decorative entry monuments that integrated children's art from a local elementary school.

For the roundabout focal piece, native Tennessee limestone boulders were hand-selected from a local quarry to frame views of the roundabout for travelers. Since a barrier wall is required to separate vehicle traffic from the pedestrian zone, the landscape architect transformed it into a seat wall and an outdoor dining area for neighboring restaurants. An aesthetic plant palette, distinctive concrete mixes in crosswalks, and permeable concrete in parking areas were used to create a unified and integrated design that highlights the special elements of the Murphy Road streetscape.

Key aspects of the Murphy Road project included:
Community-based design -- Kimley-Horn met with property owners, business owners, and representatives from the neighborhood association to listen to their concerns and goals. The team also met with local elementary school staff and students, as well as Metro Parks staff.

Community participation -- Kimley-Horn designed spaces in the entry monuments that are filled with tiles painted by local elementary school children.

Safety and accessibility -- The new roundabout and sidewalks move vehicular and pedestrian traffic more efficiently and safely than the previous signaled intersection. In addition, the multimodal streetscape design enhances the safety and security of local business patrons, especially during evening hours.

Multipurpose design -- The design included a multipurpose plaza for use by those enjoying the local cuisine, and a place to host festivals and community events.

Historic ties -- Three entry monuments serve as gateways to the district. Inspired by the historic stonewalls at the park, the stone columns tie the streetscape to the history of the neighborhood park.

Natural elements -- The roundabout design reflects the natural design elements in the adjacent McCabe Park. Working with the city horticulturalist, Kimley-Horn selected an easily maintainable yet aesthetically pleasing plant palette. In addition, natural stones were hand selected from a local quarry for the center of the roundabout.

Attention to detail -- To identify the best locations for the natural stones, Kimley-Horn verified the picturesque views along the corridor would be framed correctly, taking care to highlight the best faces of each stone.







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August 22, 2019, 8:13 pm PDT

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