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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Sub-Standard Sidewalk in Nashville - and it is Brand New!?!

In 2003, The Nashville-Davidson County Strategic Sidewalk Plan For Sidewalks and Bikeways was created.  It sets forth our intentions, as a city, to build high quality sidewalks that relate to the roadways they line.  Later, in 2008, we spent additional time and money to update it.  In fact, currently, there has been more discussion of spending more time & money to update it again!  

As the city moves towards a much more urban profile, we adapted and will continue to do so.  But, Nashville has a sidewalk plan right now - we have delineated our standards and set the bar high - so, why aren't we following it?  


I am so thankful for any move towards a more walkable Nashville but I do sharply question why we are not adhering to our own standards.  Standards that took a lot of detailed thought, time and  money to create.  Standards that would be a vast improvement over our current sidewalk infrastructure.

Case in Point:
Natchez Trace

Natchez Trace, 2014, one year ago.   Note the thin green buffer and the narrow sidewalk on this collector street.  Also note the overgrown bushes making the sidewalk even smaller. 

Natchez trace, from Blair to Woodlawn, is a collector street.  Our Nashville-Davidson County Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways states that the preferred sidewalk should be 6 foot wide with a 5 foot green buffer.

New sidewalk on Natchez, March 2015

Natchez Trace recently underwent storm water improvements.  A new sidewalk was put in on the west side of the street.  As you can see, the replacement is in the exact foot print of the prior sidewalk which was NOT to Nashville's standards.  This would have been the opportune time to bring this sidewalk up to standard.


If we truly want Nashville to be more walkable - why are we allowing sub-par sidewalk infrastructure - particularly when the 'gold-standard' in sidewalks has been put forth in our very own plan???  We all know that walking right next to the road on these busy thoroughfares is not a comfortable or safe experience.  We all  understand that the heat of the summer is not ideal for walking and we need ample shade coverage.  This tiny green buffer you see in the photos above will not allow for trees to be planted.


Why does a city like Nashville have a plan to then disregard it?


I ask you to be observant & proactive.  Sidewalk infrastructure has been very slow moving and it will not become cheaper or easier as time goes on.  

When a new sidewalk is being planned in your neighborhood, reference Nashville's standards for sidewalks & assess the project.  If it is not to our standards - call Public Works and your council person immediately! 

Shade Parade Nashville & 
The Sidewalk Foundation are dedicated to:


We hope you are, too.

If you see a sidewalk going in that does not fit the standards - please speak up!  Call Public Works!  Call your Council Person!  Organize your neighborhood!  Donate to The SidewalkFoundation.  Donate to Walk / Bike Nashville.  

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