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Monday, July 4, 2016

Walk N Bike Survey Link - Support the Walking Districts Concept!

VOTE for Walking Districts - Nashville's leaders are listening and this is a great opportunity to voice your opinion!

A Walking District is a formalized space for pedestrians on those local roadways that are lowest on the Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI, the scoring system currently used by Public Works to determine who gets a sidewalk next in Nashville.  

A Walking District is made up of 3 things:

- Formalized signage announcing entrance/exit to The Walking District
- Pedestrian Decals in the roadway giving both pedestrians invitation to the space and drivers warning
- Speed limit reduction to 20mph (a safe, inviting and comfortable speed for walkers when sharing the road)

I have presented The Walking District idea in front of 4 different Boards - The Alliance for Green Hills, Walk Bike Nashville, Health and the Built Environment and The Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  Amy Eskind & Ed Cole kindly presented it to the mayor's office on 2 separate occasions.  Nora Liggett kindly presented it to The Hillsboro-West End Neighborhood Association.  

Now, I feel lucky to have it added to the Walk N Bike Survey for your consideration.  I believe I have Adams Carroll to thank for this.


One of the misperceptions I have heard when I presented The Walking District concept is that, instead, we should either 'just do traffic calming'.  This project is NOT just about slowing traffic.  It is about giving pedestrians a place - an invitation to belong - in a city that has historically not provided them a safe path in the public right of way.  

The other misperception is that we should not entertain alternatives to building sidewalks as it is the city's responsibility to put in this infrastructure. As much as I agree with this, I am also very realistic about the prospects.  We have not, as a city, committed to build sidewalks.  We do not fund sidewalks adequately.  Nor are we putting them in now despite the furious increase in density (the Sidewalk In-Lieu Fee is a failed project - most developers do not even know about it -they are not paying or building the sidewalk!  This, in and of itself, is a real shame - one, we will all be sorry about).


 Advocating for a sidewalk on Bowling Av (Sidewalk Project #1), directly next to West End Middle school (with a SPI score of > 40 but dwindles to a 6 near the end) has taught me a lot.  It has been 3 years of neighborhood meetings, phone call campaigns, neighborhood surveys, meeting with councilpersons, writing, discussing...and, still NO sidewalk.  Just a vague reassurance that it is being considered.  

So, in the meantime, why not start at the bottom?  Those local roads where will not get a sidewalk for many years at the rate we are going.  This project is solid:  inexpensive, effective & quick to implement.  Why not create a place for walkers on these public roadways today?


If you are concerned about Nashville's dangerous walking conditions - take a few minutes and fill out the latest WalkNBike survey.  

Consider the question about Walking Districts as an option for those local streets that will not get sidewalks any time soon.  


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