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Friday, February 26, 2016

Nashvillians Will Walk...When It's Worth It

We have a lot of stats in Nashville that show are growth, our niceness, our interest to the world, etc.  

3 statistics on Nashville that aren't rosy -

---ranked the 15th most dangerous cities in the US based on pedestrian deaths AND pedestrian deaths went up in 2015
---our obesity rate is hovering near 40%
---for every mile of roadways, we have 1/8 mile of sidewalks on both sides


Some people argue that we don't need sidewalks.  They say things like, no one walks or it's too expensive.  I have been thinking a lot about why it is that so few walk in Nashville.  Why isn't there more of a culture of walking?


When walking in the freezing rain the other day with my 3 year old son - it became quickly worth it to hop on the bus.  With a well designed sidewalk network, it will quickly become worth it to walk.  

On this walk, it occurred to me that Nashvillians will walk if they find it easier than driving - if it is worth it.  If it is quicker, easier and more interesting.  If the sidewalk network is designed well & completed - we could literally create the best (& only!) walking city in the South.

Right now it isn't worth it.  It is not safe, connected, or interesting.  This is one explanation for all the hostility around sidewalks:  we don't have a walking culture.  We don't have it because we haven't properly planned for it nor funded it.    

As part of this project - we hope to get photos of  our Council Members, business owners & VIPs holding these signs.  Interested?  


Follow us on Instagram:  #NashvilleNeedsSidewalks


  1. I hope we in Nashville could build the best walking city in the South. But it would not be the only one. Cities like New Orleans, Charleston SC, Greenville SC, Savannah, Richmond and other cities with dense (usually old) areas have a fair amount of walking traffic. More than any other region, those components that you promote are important: shaded streets, places to get to, etc... To make it worth it, as you write today, it has to be easier, safer and cheaper than driving. With our parking minimums and our focus on moving cars faster, we need a frame shift.

    Thanks for your great writing,

  2. Thank you, Edwin! I completely agree...we do need, as a city, to make the change from cars 1st to people 1st in our minds and in our actions. States such as California have a culture and laws that support pedestrians as having the right of way...I think Nashville would really benefit from a Public Awareness Campaign and some stronger pedestrian laws. Thanks for writing!