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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1 - Bowling Av, Update - Neighborhood Letter Out Yesterday!

62 letters went out yesterday to the residents of Bowling Av without sidewalks.  

On January 15, 2014, Trish Mixon and I met with Councilman Jason Holleman to discuss the lack of sidewalk on Bowling Av in Nashville from Brighton to Woodmont.  We have since added the east side of Bowling from Brighton to West End to our sidewalk project - bringing us to 62 total properties affected. 

Councilman Holleman suggested 2 things:

  • delineate any right-of-way obstacles  
  • identify physical barriers to a new sidewalk such as hardscapes and utility poles

We added a letter to residents to identify support and potential opposition.

At this point, we have been told by Public Works that right-of-way issues are not present.  We have walked Bowling and listed any physical obstacles property by property.  Letters went out yesterday and should be in mailboxes today.  We should have a file for our Councilman within one month…wish us luck!


Copy of letter:

Dear ______
Thank you for taking time to read this note. We are your neighbors and frequent neighborhood walkers who are interested in the construction of sidewalks where they are most needed. Bowling Avenue seems to be a great place to start. We would like to know your level of interest on this topic, as well.
As you know, the sidewalk on Bowling Avenue starts at Murphy Road and continues south where it ends abruptly at Brighton Avenue. There are slopes and drainage ditches with no safe walk ways from Brighton to WoodmontThis stretch of sidewalk is shown on the Nashville Public Works Sidewalk Program Interactive Map Viewer as 'New Sidewalk (future)'. It has been in this “future” status for many years without change. For the sidewalk to be constructed, the status would need to change to “complete.” We have inquired with Metro Public Works and our Councilmen, Jason Holleman and Sean McGuire, to learn what can be done to change from 'future' to 'complete.'  These are the issues that go into sidewalk construction and can increase cost:
    1.    There must be a continuous road or sidewalk easement along this route so that the public has access across private property. If sufficient right of ways do not exist, Metro would need to obtain them from private landowners on Bowling. Fortunately, there appear to be sufficient easements on this segment of Bowling.
    2.    Hardscapes or utilities must be relocated to allow sidewalk access. There are hardscapes on a few properties and utility poles present that would need to be relocated. These modifications may be expensive.
    3.    Water drainage must be evaluated and addressed in the construction. Drainage issues on some parts of Bowling may be costly to address.
While Nos. 2 and 3 are issues that may add to the cost, the overall assessment is that sidewalks are a possibility. Rep. Sean McGuire has said that he is willing to add this segment of sidewalk to the upcomingCapital Improvement Budget. Admittedly, this is essentially a ‘wish list’ for projects. But it is the next step needed to initiate the process of getting approval and funding.
In our view, sidewalks are a significant benefit to our neighborhood. Home values, many argue, are enhanced by the walkability of the neighborhood. There is a measurement called “Walk Scores” that has been developed to evaluate the potential impact on home values. This measurement is important to individual home owners and local governments. A one point increase in Walk Scores may equate to an approximate increase of $3000 in value in most metropolitan areas. We’ve indicated resources below for more information on Walk Scores.
The Walk Score for Bowling - from Brighton to Woodmont - is 31. This means 'car dependent' rather than walkable. When compared to the walkability of north Bowling, from Murphy Rd to West End Ave, where sidewalks line both sides of the street, the Walk Score jumps to 51 and is considered 'somewhat walkable'. Assuming that each point in the score equates to $3,000 in home value, the homeowners on our stretch of Bowling may potentially enjoy an increase in home value of $60,000 by adding sidewalks.
Our area is delightfully well-travelled by walkers and runners. Many streets are already walkable and we are an active group! Bowling is the sore thumb that sticks out. In addition to home value, there would seem to be a significant safety improvement with sidewalks for those who daily navigate Bowling to move through the neighborhood for exercise and access to parks, churches/synagogues and schools. This improvement equally accommodates long-term residents and the many young families that are choosing to live in Nashville rather than move to the suburbs. This is reflected in a recent New York Times article (link below) that describes what is happening in Nashville – it is a “youthquake.” When people decide NOT to move to Nashville, one of the top 3 reasons is: lack of sidewalks or walkability.
While we are very much in favor of sidewalks, we want your feedback so that we’ll know if there is significant interest in pursuing this topic. Please respond and indicate your level of willingness, interest and commitment to working on this for the short to medium term. As a homeowner with property on Bowling, your thoughts should be heard.
How do you feel about completing the sidewalk on Bowling from Brighton to Woodmont? ___________ (indicate your score)
1. Very Supportive - I would like to see sidewalks on Bowling and would contribute private money, if needed, to secure public money to make the project a reality
2. Supportive - Would be happy to allow the city to create a sidewalk on the existing public easement on my property
3. Neutral - Do not feel strongly if there is a sidewalk or not

4. Against - would not support the creation of a sidewalk on Bowling
Please feel free to write any additional comments you may have. And please indicate if you are interested in being on the committee that is organizing to pursue this project.
Stacy Dorris
Trish Mixon 
Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Home Values in U.S. Cities (Aug 2009),

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