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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Irony of Green Hills


From a recent article in The Tennessean, entitled Green Hills Project Ramps Up Traffic Woes, the author begins by saying:

'When Joy Richards needed to buy something from the Mall at Green Hills a week ago, the retired counselor left home at 9:35 a.m. to ensure she would find a parking space and get in and out before traffic worsened….'


LINK to article:



I want to point out the stinging irony of this article - The very 1st sentence details Ms. Richards, a resident of The Apartments for Retired Teachers needing to drive to The Green Hills Mall. Now, if you are not familiar with these two locations, you may not recognized that Ms. Richards home is directly kitty-corner from the mall.
It is literally across the street!!!  




To be fair, we never learn why Ms. Richards does not walk across the street to make her purchase.  She may have a physical issue that makes walking hard highlighting the lack of ADA compliance in the area.  If I can speculate,  I would say she felt unsafe to walk.  There is no sidewalk on the corner where the mall starts for which I can find no excuse.  The mall must be a huge trip generator and yet does not have adequate walking infrastructure in place.








In Nashville, we have literally designed away every mode of transportation except driving in the Green Hills area with its too-many-to-count ingress/egresses per block, super block design, dilapidated / missing walking infrastructure, lack of pedestrian awareness, and too many drivers trying to cut through from the Williamson Co. suburbs at high speeds.   

Rather than being so concerned about adding citizens to the area, why not hold the city & the developers accountable for building the infrastructure to support them?





What I fear is that our attention is being diverted and our energies are being wasted on complaining about more residents.  This is going to happen regardless.  We need to refocus the lens on to how to make the situation best for all.   People are not going to want to walk if they feel unsafe.  The plan currently has pedestrians crossing 6 lanes of traffic on Hillsboro with no pedestrian island in the middle.  This is the equivalent of crossing a highway and it doesn't feel good.  (I encourage you to try it!).  Lastly, there should be no right turn on red (onto Richard Jones as a driver is heading north) to prevent turning into pedestrians trying to cross.  




Richard Jones Rd. also needs some attention.  This road is HUGE (5 lanes) - but only a few blocks long ending in a cross street that does not line up.  It is weird little road but if done right could become its own urban center kind of like Hillsboro Village.  It has a number of businesses and a number of homes/apartments.  It is the perfect street to have pedestrian rest running down its center.  I would also strongly encourage a loss of the radius turn and making it so there is no right turns on red to prevent drivers turning into people crossing in the cross walk.  This road should not be a high speed cut through but rather the beginning of a mixed use neighborhood like the 12th So area.  


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Shade Parade is for well designed sidewalks / walkability in all of Nashville. Instead of making the core of the discussion about traffic and parking spots - let's refocus and create walkable neighborhoods so that we can get around on foot.

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The big picutre here is to consider putting in pedestrian rests down Richard Jones and in Green Hills on Hillsboro so people do not have to cross a riduculous amount of lanes to cross the street.





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