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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Howlin' Shame...with all our development, why aren't sidewalks going in???

Everyday, I hear of someone interesting moving to Nashville.  

Our little city is on fire and it is wonderful!

From The New Yorker, Goings on About Town:
Adia Victoria's powerful 2016 B-side 'Howling' Shame' lurches through foggy, spellbinding guitar and violin like the withered woman described in its lyrics.  Raised in South Carolina as a Seventh-Day Adventist, the twenty-nine-year-old tried out New York, then settled in Nashville to live 'like a voyeur'.

The new Nashvillians are so fresh and vibrant...and, they are flocking to walkable neighborhoods.  

But, there has been a real challenge in Nashville as we do not have a city wide movement to build sidewalks.  Our sidewalk budget is 50/50 new/maintenance of old.  Developers are not building the infrastructure to help rapidly changing neighborhoods be walkable.  And, they are not paying the Sidewalk In-Lieu fee to help these areas in the future either.  We have whole neighborhoods that are sandwiched between busy 'centers' but you cannot get out of them on foot without risking your life - so called 'Walking Deserts'.  Traffic is mounting - we are in an uncomfortable pinch.    

The darkest shape is a single district in Nashville:  check out the huge disparity in proposed sidewalks when comparing the northern part vs the southern part.   This is a 'Walking Desert'

The fact is, we all will welcome, adjust or move...Nashvillans span the gamut in their responses to the growth of our city.  When discussing sidewalk advocacy, many ask, 'who could be against sidewalks'?  You'd be surprised...

'Like an ocean liner:  you turn the wheel slowly, and the big ship pivots'.  'People may feel like we need a fifty-degree turn; we don't need a two-degree turn.  And you say, 'Well, if I turn fifty degrees, the whole ship turns over'.  - President Obama

This is how many feel about sidewalks...we need the fifty degree turn.  We just completed the tasks required from our big ADA lawsuit back in, maybe the sidewalk budget can shift away from being 50% for new and 50% for repairs?  Maybe we can stop fixing perfectly fine sidewalks (hello Natchez, hello also to the sidewalk in front of Climb Nashville) and starting building some new ones in areas that REALLY NEED them?

Maybe, like other big civic projects (yes, baseball stadium, I do mean you), we can commit to creating a culture of walking here in Nashville.  We can build well-designed, tree-lined sidewalks, create Walking Districts, implement Vision Zero, have a 'pedestrians first' attitude + public awareness could be HUGE!

Vote now for where you would like to see a sidewalk:

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