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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Where's Our Sidewalk? Why ISN'T Nashville requiring sidewalks with density?



'Sidewalks that run in front of a house as part of a neighborhood are
constructed by the city not the home builder. We cannot construct
public sidewalks for a house when there are no existing city
sidewalks in the neighborhood to tie into. I know this will be disappointing news to you, but sidewalks are something you would have to go to the city about and  is out of our control and scope of work'.


- direct quote from a Nashville developer






Here is the rule for developers:  "Sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'.

Is it not confusing then, that there is such rapid development in Nashville but a shocking lack of sidewalks going in with it???




These small yellow signs are made by a fellow walking advocate & question developers and neighbors to ask 'Where's Our Sidewalk'?    I very much support her work.  It is really hard to watch whole neighborhoods redevelop in Nashville and yet no sidewalks. Particularly, when it comes with increased density.  In the past, there was an argument about the challenge of balancing cost to developers with production of the sidewalks.  I would argue that are rate of growth would say that developers are doing just fine. It is fair, now, to ask them to give back to our communities that have supported them for many years.  


We are building fast...let's not regret it.  






These pictures are mostly from Woodmont from Granny White to Estes, a distance of 2.6 miles, where 10 developments are occurring (one house turning into multiple houses) and yet not one is putting in a sidewalk.    If you look up this area's Walk Score, it is labeled 'car-dependent'.  If you work downtown, it is calculated to cost you $215 per month and 9 hours in driving costs and time respectively.  

https://www.walkscore.com/score/woodmont-blvd-and-estes-rd-nashville-tn-37205


To boot, I would be very surprised if any of the developments paid the Sidewalk In-Lieu Fee which, since its inception about 15 years ago, has collected a paltry, just under a million dollars (the equivalent of 1 mile of sidewalk).  The fee is set so low that it makes more sense to pay it than build a sidewalk and there seems to be no one at Public Works actually remembering to collect it.  





Can you imagine if Woodmont had 10 big pieces of sidewalk put in from 12th S to Estes this year?  It would literally be a matter of time before the entirety was sidewalked at the rate of redevelopment.   A whole neighborhood would have access on foot to 12th S, Belmont, Green Hills, Hillsboro Village without getting into their cars.  


So, why ISN'T Nashville requiring sidewalks with density???    What are we waiting for??? 
Where's Our Sidewalk?





Two surprising thoughts from this campaign:

1) Developers are not aware that they can (should) put in sidewalks.  
- See quote above from a major developer in East Nashville.  He has no idea that he can (and should) put in a sidewalk. 
- Here is the rule for developers:  "Sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'.  Can't get any clearer than that.  


2) When signs are placed in front of homes without sidewalks, they aren't taken down because no one walks by.  
- No one walks by because it is too hard to walk in this area - what a better argument for Nashville Needs Sidewalks can you have?

















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