Rear Window

Ali Alsaleh

I spend a lot of time on my balcony. Paying an unsettling amount for rent in Nashville forces me to use my amenities to their full extent, to make sure I'm getting my money's worth (although I'm pretty lax when it comes to the gym down the hall). But on my balcony, whilst relaxed and un-sweating, drinking my lobby-provided coffee, I enjoy the scenery as much as James Stewart; passing cars, dog-walkers,  Saturday night Vandy bros, the occasional poor soul attempting to parallel park-- it's a soothing ritual. But there's one repelling piece of my Krispy Kreme glazed panorama that bothers me.

Elliston Place Triangle as of June 2015

Elliston Place Triangle as of June 2015

Let me give you some geography first. I live on the second floor of The Dallas on Elliston Place, a new apartment block on the corner of 21st and Church Street; yes right across the Krispy Kreme (hence the lack of gym time). Elliston Place, the connecting street I see from my balcony, is a prime location in Midtown, boasting a vintage Nashville era, with notable locations like Elliston Place Soda Shop, Exit/In music venue, The Gold Rush bar, and many other entertainment, eating, and shopping joints. It's minutes-walk from Centennial Park, West End, and Division Street. In the daytime, West End's traffic congestion funnels into Church St./Elliston Place, and at night, the Place is pedestrian heavy with our friendly karaoke-enthused citizens. Basically, with Nashville's unbelievable expansion, Elliston Place sees a lot of action now.

But with this action, comes a responsibility; a responsibility to provide for our citizens, resident and passing-by, an environment of growth, of community, and of safety. At the split of Church Street and Elliston Place sits a small "grassy" median, a triangle divider with the sole purpose of allowing people to take a right turn. A median which I've been staring at outside my balcony for the past 10 months. This median which is unkempt, unstructured, and dirt-washed.  This median with a natural dirt path cutting through it to suggest that people find it a short-cut to their parked cars. This median gets no respect.

As a natural gateway into Elliston Place, it is a disappointment to the fun-loving, lively character of the street, an important first impression that does not reflect the amazing atmosphere and people. Thus, instead of a rotting simple median, I believe it would be pleasant to have a welcoming, grassy, shaded plot of land fit for an entrance; our very own Arc de Triomphe. Seriously, some fresh-cut grass, a couple of trees, and a bench would do it justice. But let's not stop there. How about a "Welcome to Elliston Place" sign, a little dog park, some public art maybe? (not another guitar sculpture please). Alongside litter, the median is crawling with potential for a face-lift, a well-designed and landscaped pick-me-up that the residents and friends of Elliston Place can be proud of. One that will attract the jogger to pause and stretch, or the best friends to meet up Sunday morning and reflect on how crazy last night was while they sip their over-priced coffee, or the frustrated rush hour driver passing through to say "hey, I need to check this place out tonight."

Metro's vision for a potential use for the triangle, identified as an open space deficiency area.

Metro's vision for a potential use for the triangle, identified as an open space deficiency area.

With the help of TURBO Nashville and the residents and supporters of Elliston Place, we can make this happen. And I can sit on my balcony and do exactly what I usually do, avoid the gym.