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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walking on Woodmont, Nashville - Sidewalk Project #6, Woodmont Av

I can say, with all sincerity, that walking on Woodmont Av in Nashville is NO FUN!

Without sidewalks it is truly unwalkable. You cannot walk on the road due to little shoulder and the speed of the cars (40 mph).  And you cannot really walk well on the grass.  The landscaping certainly says to a pedestrian 'DO NOT WALK HERE' and it is fraught with numerous obstacles.  

But, the area, next to the road is a right-of-way.  As an individual, I have the right to walk there.  If I could walk there, I would have an easy path to walk to my work at One Hundred Oaks Medical Center, to the public library with my kids, to Green Hills, to Harding Rd/West End…

As I tried to walk it, I wondered how residents of this street do simple tasks such as walk their dogs?  Do they get to know each other? I imagine that there is little chance of running into a neighbor except for possibly at the mailbox.    

It really is a shame, too, that it is essentially unwalkable, as it is a pleasant wide street with grand houses and within walking distance to Green Hills and West End/Harding Rd.  

Certainly, there is plenty of room for sidewalks and it doesn't appear that there are major drainage issues.  One hardship to overcome would be the speed of traffic (40 mph) but as long as their was a wide green tree lined buffer between the road and the sidewalk - it may not really matter on Woodmont as much as it does on small, more narrow roads. 

As it stands, walking on Woodmont poses a real safety risk.   


But the question of funding seems to be the stopping point in discussions about sidewalk production in Nashville.  At this point, it is a rare individual who is actually against them.  So, how do we, as a city, obtain more funding for sidewalks?


Do we do it ourselves?  Create a Sidewalk Foundation?  

There is actually precedence for the idea of public space being privately funded…Woodmont was the 1st paved street in Nashville and the paving was funding by the residents and developers of the street not the city of Nashville.  

This article from 1964 mentions a repaving effort on "concrete boulevard," which was Woodmont's nickname for many years. 

In its heyday, Concrete Boulevard was often a training ground for young people learning to drive. The paving of Woodmont in 1916 was financed by property owners and real estate developers, not the city of Nashville.


Could this not occur again - almost 100 years later - this time to fund sidewalks on Woodmont if the city will not do it?


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