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Monday, March 27, 2017

Sidewalk Bill 493 - Nashville. WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Wonderful News!!!



The Sidewalk Bill avoided deferral and has advanced.  It passed through the Planning Commission with ALL FOR and NONE AGAINST!  Next step, Sidewalk Bill 493 will go before the Council for a vote on April 4th (Tuesday).  




Since the bill passed the Planning Commission step, it will need 21 votes in Council.  The bill has 21 co-sponsers but it will not be immune to the possibility of lobbyist for developers reaching vulnerable Council Members.  

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN!

Please take a few minutes and write to:

Include your Council Member 

  
- Put 'Sidewalk Bill 493 - Support' in the subject line. 

- Nashville has sidewalks on ONLY 37% of roads.  
- We are ranked poorly in regards to safety.  We are the 37th most dangerous metropolitan area when compared to our population.  Not good. 
- Sidewalk bill 493 is important because it will increase sidewalk production in areas linked to development. 
- Nashville's population grows daily.  With this growth, goes more traffic.  We do not have good public transportation partly because you cannot get to the bus stop on foot safely.  This bill will help.  
- make sure you put your address in the email



More density = more sidewalks.  
Now, that's smart.

For more information:





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting - TOMORROW at 1p - PLEASE ATTEND!

TOMORROW


---WHERE: The Board of Zoning Appeals at The Howard School ----WHAT: To oppose the variance requested to build a poor quality sidewalk at Cabot Dr near Charlotte.
---WHO:  The Beach Co, a large developer of rental properties out South Carolina
---WHEN: 3/16/2017 at 1p

I have been able to learn that the variance requested is for a broad sweeping curve abutting a stone bluff (see photo below).  Certainly, this stone bluff is an obstacle that would take an amount of work and money to rectify.  BUT, haven't pedestrians been getting the short end for too long?  If we in Nashville have the right, legally, to hold developers to high standards of sidewalk design, we need to start now.  

Depiction of sidewalk proposed by variance
Note the closeness of the car to the pedestrian


Right now.  

Because building walkability... NEVER GETS EASIER, BETTER OR CHEAPER TO DO THEN WHEN A PROPERTY IS BEING DEVELOPED.  


Sidewalks are few and far between because WE DID NOT REQUIRE THEM FOR THE LAST 50+ YEARS!  Now, we look around at our growth, our traffic, our more urban existence and wonder what happened.  Why can't we walk?  We have policy and we have laws for a reason.  We have the right to deny variances.  The hardship existed prior to The Beach Co. coming to Nashville, purchasing this particular lot and planning this particularly large rental development consisting of 402 units,  over 600 parking spots and 17 buildings.  

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD - TELL THE BZA THAT YOU DO NOT WANT A VARIANCE TO ALLOW A POOR QUALITY SIDEWALK.  We want the PROPER SIDEWALK as the law allows (see photos below).  

 Where would you rather walk?



NASHVILLE WANTS THE PROPER SIDEWALK!  
The > 600 renters projected for this development do too.  So does the neighborhood at large.  



Variance Sought For 402-unit West Nashville Apartment Project...they do not want to put in sidewalk required. Action Required!!!

My main concern about this substantial project is the variance requested to NOT BUILD THE SIDEWALK. This project is to include 17 buildings, 402 rental units and 602 parking spots. The developer, The Beach Co, reports that 'Charlotte is the new hot spot'. If a great sidewalk does not go in at time of development, all those renters will take to their cars even for local trips.
My point is: Please write to BZA@Nashville.gov &/or show to the variance meeting at The Howard School, 1 p, Thursday, March 16th. TELL THEM YOU DO NOT THINK THIS LARGE SCALE PROJECT SHOULD HAVE A VARIANCE TO NOT BUILD A SIDEWALK.
A large development like this needs to have financial provisions to also make it a walkable community. This is the GIFT they give to the neighborhood.
District 20 Council Woman, Mary Carolyn Roberts, is reporting she is 'the main person standing in the way of this project' & has 'announced at every Neighborhood meeting' this stance. She knows a sidewalk is needed for a project of this magnitude. No need to email her anymore about it.
PLEASE:

- Write to BZA@Nashville.gov: Tell them NO variance to avoid building sidewalk. We WANT the sidewalk!
- Show to the meeting: The Howard School, 1 p, Thursday, March 16th

Variance sought for 402-unit West Nashville apartment project

South Carolina developer eyes late spring construction start for Bells Bluff Apartments.


Bells Bluff Apartments will be the name of the 402-unit community that Charleston, S.C.-based The Beach Co. plans to start building in late spring on 44 acres off Charlotte Pike in West Nashville.
On March 16, the developer will go before the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals seeking a variance from sidewalk requirements. The Beach Co. cites severe topographic constraints that would make it difficult to comply with 6 feet of grass strip and sidewalk requirements for a portion of frontage on Cabot Drive.
"The Charlotte market is the new hot spot for Nashville," Woody McLaughlin, a board member of the Greater Nashville Apartment Association said, referring to the corridor leading west from downtown off of which the Bells Bluff  Apartments project is planned. "It's where there's been available land that new apartment developers are attracted to."
Bells Bluff is one of two projects The Beach Co. plans in its Nashville debut.  The developer is also working on plans for a 12-story mixed-use project with 296 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space at Sixth Avenue South and Lea Avenue in the area south of Broadway.
Latest statistics from the Greater Nashville Apartment Association shows average monthly rents across the region at $1,114 at last year's end, just slightly below the record $1,118 for last year's third quarter. The data shows vacancy starting to rise in nearly all Nashville area submarkets with the biggest jump in the West End/Downtown area that accounts for half of all new construction marketwide.
Downtown Nashville has the second fastest-growing submarket nationwide for new apartment supply, McLaughlin said. "We're building downtown a little bit faster than we're renting," he said. "The important thing is our job growth is among the highest in the country and new people continue to come into the market looking for housing and the jobs we're creating tend to be the higher-paying jobs."
Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Co., said construction should start on Bells Bluff Apartments at 7600 Cabot Drive soon after required permits are obtained with completion expected by the third quarter of 2019. Plans call for 17 buildings with residential units and 602 parking spaces.
Miller cites great views in a wooded setting right off Charlotte Pike within good proximity to downtown among appeals of the property on which Bells Bluff Apartments is planned. The Bells Bluff name plays off the location across from the Bells Bend Park rural preserve being on a river bluff roughly 300 feet above the Cumberland River.
Miller said the units at Bells Bluff Apartments will be competitively priced for the West Nashville market,  "We feel pretty good about the timing of this project and the SoBro one," he said. "After this year, there’s going to be a big dip compared to recent inventory. And specific to West Nashville, there really isn’t a whole lot of new product there that'll be competing."
The Bells Bluff Apartments project team includes design firm Southeast Venture, civil engineer Littlejohn and landscape architects Hawkins Partners.



IF YOU CAN SHOW TO THE BZA MEETING TOMORROW AT 1P,  HOWARD SCHOOL BUILDING, PLEASE GO & ARGUE FOR A PROPER SIDEWALK (WITHOUT VARIANCE) TO BE BUILT





Monday, March 6, 2017

Variance Sought For 402-unit West Nashville Apartment Project...they do not want to put in sidewalk required. Action Required!!!



My main concern about this substantial project is the variance requested to NOT BUILD THE SIDEWALK. This project is to include 17 buildings, 402 rental units and 602 parking spots. The developer, The Beach Co, reports that 'Charlotte is the new hot spot'. If a great sidewalk does not go in at time of development, all those renters will take to their cars even for local trips.

My point is: Please write to BZA@Nashville.gov &/or show to the variance meeting at The Howard School, 1 p, Thursday, March 16th. TELL THEM YOU DO NOT THINK THIS LARGE SCALE PROJECT SHOULD HAVE A VARIANCE TO NOT BUILD A SIDEWALK.

A large development like this needs to have financial provisions to also make it a walkable community. This is the GIFT they give to the neighborhood.

District 20 Council Woman, Mary Carolyn Roberts, is reporting she is 'the main person standing in the way of this project' & has 'announced at every Neighborhood meeting' this stance. She knows a sidewalk is needed for a project of this magnitude. No need to email her anymore about it.

NOW, IT IS TIME TO:

- Write to BZA@Nashville.gov: Tell them NO variance to avoid building sidewalk. We WANT the sidewalk!

- Show to the meeting: The Howard School, 1 p, Thursday, March 16th



Variance sought for 402-unit West Nashville apartment project


South Carolina developer eyes late spring construction start for Bells Bluff Apartments.


Bells Bluff Apartments will be the name of the 402-unit community that Charleston, S.C.-based The Beach Co. plans to start building in late spring on 44 acres off Charlotte Pike in West Nashville.
On March 16, the developer will go before the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals seeking a variance from sidewalk requirements. The Beach Co. cites severe topographic constraints that would make it difficult to comply with 6 feet of grass strip and sidewalk requirements for a portion of frontage on Cabot Drive.
"The Charlotte market is the new hot spot for Nashville," Woody McLaughlin, a board member of the Greater Nashville Apartment Association said, referring to the corridor leading west from downtown off of which the Bells Bluff  Apartments project is planned. "It's where there's been available land that new apartment developers are attracted to."
Bells Bluff is one of two projects The Beach Co. plans in its Nashville debut.  The developer is also working on plans for a 12-story mixed-use project with 296 apartments and 5,000 square feet of retail space at Sixth Avenue South and Lea Avenue in the area south of Broadway.
Latest statistics from the Greater Nashville Apartment Association shows average monthly rents across the region at $1,114 at last year's end, just slightly below the record $1,118 for last year's third quarter. The data shows vacancy starting to rise in nearly all Nashville area submarkets with the biggest jump in the West End/Downtown area that accounts for half of all new construction marketwide.
Downtown Nashville has the second fastest-growing submarket nationwide for new apartment supply, McLaughlin said. "We're building downtown a little bit faster than we're renting," he said. "The important thing is our job growth is among the highest in the country and new people continue to come into the market looking for housing and the jobs we're creating tend to be the higher-paying jobs."
Ned Miller, development manager with The Beach Co., said construction should start on Bells Bluff Apartments at 7600 Cabot Drive soon after required permits are obtained with completion expected by the third quarter of 2019. Plans call for 17 buildings with residential units and 602 parking spaces.
Miller cites great views in a wooded setting right off Charlotte Pike within good proximity to downtown among appeals of the property on which Bells Bluff Apartments is planned. The Bells Bluff name plays off the location across from the Bells Bend Park rural preserve being on a river bluff roughly 300 feet above the Cumberland River.
Miller said the units at Bells Bluff Apartments will be competitively priced for the West Nashville market,  "We feel pretty good about the timing of this project and the SoBro one," he said. "After this year, there’s going to be a big dip compared to recent inventory. And specific to West Nashville, there really isn’t a whole lot of new product there that'll be competing."
The Bells Bluff Apartments project team includes design firm Southeast Venture, civil engineer Littlejohn and landscape architects Hawkins Partners.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Walking Teaches - Study shows huge bonus for children's ability to navigate

My love of walking stems from my childhood.  Independence came early on foot - around age 7.  I could walk to a friend's, go to a playground, head to school,  sneak over to the 7-11 and buy candy. 

 It was heaven.  

D. Appleyard Map
The connections between those living on a lightly traveled street vs a highly traveled street.  In Nashville, this would be the difference between a local and a collector street.



I know that growing up on foot imbued me with a very decent sense of direction.  Testing this idea, I recently went to Paris with my best friend and co-pilot all through childhood & WE CAN NAVIGATE!  With just a map - no phone - we KNEW which way to go. 

I love the article because it feels truthful to my experience.  It another powerful reason to advocate for the safest and highest quality walkability possible in Nashville.  

Kids Who Get Driven Everywhere Don't Know Where They're Going



A new study suggests vehicular travel affects children's ability to navigate their neighborhood and connect to their community.

Traffic and kids don’t mix. That’s something people intuitively understand. Automobile collisions disproportionately kill kids, for starters. Heavy traffic also prevents them from playing on their neighborhood streets. And communities with limited opportunities for walking and playing outside have been shown to have higher rates of childhood obesity, which can lead to serious health complications in later life.
It turns out vehicular traffic does something else, too, more subtle but equally pernicious: It changes the way children see and experience the world by diminishing their connection to community and neighbors. A generation ago, urbanist researcher Donald Appleyard showed how heavy traffic in cities erodes human connections in neighborhoods, contributing to feelings of dissatisfaction and loneliness. Now his son, Bruce Appleyard, has been looking into how constantly being in and around cars affects children’s perception and understanding of their home territory.

Appleyard worked with children in two suburban communities. One had light traffic and infrastructure that allowed children to walk and bike on their own. One had heavy traffic and children traveled almost exclusively by car. Using a technique called cognitive mapping, Appleyard asked groups of nine- and 10-year-old kids to draw maps of their neighborhoods, showing destinations such as school and friends’ houses, and marking places they liked or disliked. The results were revealing:

In the Heavy [traffic exposure] neighborhood, the children frequently expressed feelings of dislike and danger and were unable to represent any detail of the surrounding environment. Newell Avenue, the main road in front of the school, is a tree-lined street and yet few of the trees were drawn; instead, red (danger, cars) and orange (dislike) dominated. Participants from the Light [traffic exposure] neighborhood, on the other hand, showed a much richer sense of their environment, drawing more of the streets, houses, trees, and other objects, and including fewer signs of danger, or dislike and fewer cars. The children also drew many more places in the street where they liked to play and areas that they just simply liked: they noted playing in 43 percent more locations in their streets relative to the children in the heavy-traffic-exposure neighborhood.
In sum, as exposure to auto traffic volumes and speed decreases, a child’s sense of threat goes down, and his/her ability to establish a richer connection and appreciation for the community rises.
I spoke with Appleyard about his findings, and he highlighted a paradox of the modern car-dependent community. The United States has made gains in traffic safety over the last generation, but we have done so in part by removing pedestrians from the streetscape (THINK ABOUT THIS!). He cites a poll that shows 71 percent of parents surveyed had walked or biked to school when they were kids, but only 18 percent of their children do so.

“We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in fatalities,” Appleyard says. “But we’ve also seen abandonment of the streets. Parents see too much traffic. What is the rational thing for a parent to do? Your choice is to drive them. It’s a multiplier effect – parents are driving because there’s more traffic, and then there’s more traffic.”

Children who had a “windshield perspective” from being driven everywhere weren’t able to accurately draw how the streets in their community connected, whereas children who walked or biked to get around produced detailed and highly accurate maps of their neighborhood street network.

Appleyard followed up with the children in the heavy-traffic neighborhood after improvements were made to pedestrian and bike infrastructure. Not only were they able to draw more detailed maps, they were happier with their environment:
Before the improvements were made in the heavy-traffic-exposure neighborhood, many children drew expressions of dislike and danger associated with automobiles and were unable to represent any detail of the surrounding environment -- possibly feeling overwhelmed by the threats posed by the automobiles. After the improvements alleviated the exposure to these threats, there were indeed fewer expressions of danger and dislike, indicating a greater sense of comfort and well-being.  

As Appleyard points out, the Safe Routes to Schools program (http://www.walkbikenashville.org / Robert Johnson) is one framework for improving children’s access to safer streets. He is also trying to get his message out to leaders in the developing world, and recently presented his findings in India. “We’re past the tipping point here in the U.S.,” he says. “But there, they are moving from a human-transport culture to an auto-transport culture.” And maybe, he's hoping, it’s not too late for humans to be taken into account.


http://www.citylab.com/commute/2012/05/kids-who-get-driven-everywhere-dont-know-where-theyre-going/1943/?utm_source=SFFB

Thank you Anthony Campbell for sending my way!