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Friday, February 17, 2017

Walking Districts Coming to Life - 3 pilot projects in the works!


Most pedestrian projects take a long time.   Thankfully, Walking Districts are fairly easy to implement and can solve a great need inexpensively.   I reviewed my documents and we began discussing Walking Districts in June of 2014 & are proud to announce that 3 pilot projects should be up and running in 1-2 months.

To review:

The concept of a Walking Districts is pretty straightforward.  Designed for local streets that are highly walked but have a low Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI) score.  With our current system of using the SPI, these areas would be last on the list of sidewalk creation.  And, maybe rightfully so.  The areas I am talking about are low volume in vehicular traffic neighborhoods and many have a park-like feel.  

The concept entails 3 things making it a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix.  The first is signage:  a sign announcing that you are entering a Walking District.  The second is a street decal (think of the bicycle decal you see on roadways but change it to a pedestrian).  The third is a speed limit reduction to 20mph.

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Happy to announce that the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood ran with this idea and has carved out 3 pilot projects under these guidelines.  Implementation planned for 1-2 months. 

Here is the update:

At Monday's Traffic and Parking Commission meeting, it was agreed that the walking district will be implemented on a pilot basis in Hillsboro-West End and two other Nashville neighborhoods, Cleveland Park (East Nashville) and Una (Antioch).  This will lower speeds to 20 mph on neighborhood streets and 25mph on collector roads.  Within the next month or two Metro will install signage designating the neighborhoods as Walking Districts, replace the speed limits sign, and paint the new speed limits on the pavement.

After the program has been up and running for six months Public Works plans to evaluate its success in all three neighborhoods.  The key indices of success will be reduction of the 85% percentile speeds, zero pedestrian/bike crashes attributable to the changes, and positive feedback from neighbors.  At that point they will make a recommendation to Traffic & Parking and the Commission will vote on whether to make the program permanent.

We are very excited about this initiative and have great hopes that it will ultimately help neighborhoods across Nashville that are trying to make their streets safer for pedestrians.

You can watch to proceedings of the Traffic and Parking Commission below.


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