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Thursday, June 25, 2015

How To Get A Sidewalk in Your Neighborhood - a sarcastic view

People often ask me how they can get a sidewalk in their neighborhood.  If I am being sarcastic, I must say - have enough pedestrians struck and injured/killed - then, you will get it.  

Rightfully so, in Nashville there is laser beam of focus on areas where latent demand and stinging need causes people to risk walking even though it is clearly dangerous.  

Areas like these where there has been a significant number of pedestrian vs vehicle crashes get the sidewalks first as they should.  


That being said, there are so many areas in Nashville that are bubbling with pent-up demand for walkability but where need may be less.  What I mean by this is - the people who can - drive.  They have options.  Therefore, there is little crash data for these areas because no one would dare walk given another, much safer, option.

This is Nashville's Urban Service District

This is Nashville's Urban Service District

When are we going to fund the Strategic Sidewalk Plan in a significant way?  

The current budget of 25 million will lead to 6.75 miles of new sidewalks for next year for the entire city of Nashville/Davidson Co.  And, I tell you, the future is not going to be cheaper.  Since I have been writing about sidewalks the average cost per linear foot has changed, according to Public Works, from $250 per linear foot to $350.

I encourage you to ask this question of every individual running for public office.  When they come knocking at your door - question them on this topic.  Let them know that walkability is issue #1 for you.  Now is the time.  

Nashville is a city where, for every mile of roadway, we have just 1/8 of a mile of sidewalks.  Often these sidewalks are not connected, are located on a single side of the road and are in poor repair.  These are terrible statistics and it puts Nashville near the bottom of walkable cities.

We are also the 15th most dangerous city in the US for walkers - another statistic that is abysmal.  


For information on Nashville's ranking as the 15th most dangerous city in the US for pedestrians:

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