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Monday, July 28, 2014

In Regards to Sidewalks, Learn Why You Are Getting The Short End of the Stick (and what you can do to turn it around)!

Surely you have noticed the rapid growth Nashville is experiencing.  Seems like every day an older home is torn down and 2 or more spring up.  

Did you know that the developers of these properties are supposed to build a sidewalk in front of these new homes?

According to Metro's Planning Department 'sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'. 


Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are very much in favor of development.  With development comes density and a more 'city-like' experience.      

Every single Nashvillian needs to know this sidewalk rule because frankly you are getting the short end of the stick by not having this infrastructure put in during the time of development. 

In my opinion, we are about to make the same mistake in Nashville that we made post-WW II.  During that time, Nashville experienced rapid growth, too.  We laid out roads in the cheapest fashion without thought to the overall design and the needs of future recipients.  This time around, instead of laying out cheap infrastructure - we are allowing NONE to be built.  And, no one is saying anything about it.  This is where YOU come in!!! 



You might be saying to yourself - well, those little patches of 'sidewalks to no-where' are so useless!  I, too, used to find these development driven patches of sidewalk confusing - sort of ridiculous.    

After meeting with Public Works in May of 2014, my opinion on these bits and pieces of sidewalk has completely changed - and, I hope to change your mind, too.  

According to Public Works, they elevate a 'gap' in the sidewalk network above all else - even above the Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI) - when considering a sidewalk project.

Regrettably, developers can opt to pay into an 'in-lieu' fund - the so called Sidewalk Fund - at an outrageously discounted rate.  


An average new sidewalk in Nashville cost $250 per linear foot per Public Works.

A graphic version of this is below.


Established in 2002, the original developer in-lieu fee was $92 per linear foot in all cases.  This fee was much less than the $250 per linear foot quoted as the average cost of a new sidewalk without any 'bells or whistles'.  This fee, after a June 2012 Commission Meeting, was reduced drastically to $15 per linear foot.  

Here, as a Nashvillian, is where you need to be thinking "I am definitely getting the short end of the stick".  Therefore, a developer is now required to choose: pay 6% of the cost of a new sidewalk or pay 100% and build the sidewalk.  


You can imagine that most developers choose to pay the in-lieu fee (coming soon:  stats on how many pay fee vs how many new sidewalks built).  

To dilute this fund further, the collected fee can only be spent in the district is was collected (there are 13 total).  In reality, partly because the fee is so markedly reduced in comparison to real costs, to date, no new sidewalks have been created with these monies (to be fair, the fee has supplemented projects).

If the goal in Nashville is to build new, high quality sidewalks - this in-lieu fee hasn't and isn't going to get us far.  

The in-lieu fee has been in existence since 2002 and yet has not been able to collect enough to build one project.  Is this fair to the citizens of Nashville?

Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation strongly encourage you to persuade local developers in your neighborhood to NOT PAY THE IN-LIEU FEE BUT RATHER TO BUILD THE SIDEWALK REQUIRED.

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