Last week, I was contacted by a reporter for WSMV. She wanted to talk about a constituent's project (a new detached accessory dwelling unit--or DADU) that had triggered a requirement of the relatively recently passed Sidewalk bill #493. Here's the story. A dramatic example of an unintended consequence impacting a homeowner trying to improve her property.
Note particularly the comments of the contractor working on the project. "All this infrastructure will have to be dug up and replaced."
The most frustrating part? It didn't happen. Well, sort of. The new law did not apply in this case. For reasons yet to be determined, as part of an administrative error, a sidewalk requirement was added to the DADU that wasn't supposed to be there. We're still working with Codes and Public Works to figure out how this happened, but the bottom line is: the story was, effectively, a non-story.
There is intent here. I applaud the leadership of CM Henderson, who worked tirelessly for months, first in her role as Council's liaison to Nashville's WalkNBike but also as a champion of a better pedestrian environment. She worked hard with neighborhoods, developers, and other stakeholders like the Chamber of Commerce to ensure a large table was set and that multiple parties understood that we were going to need to establish some infrastructure cost sharing if we were ever going to develop the sidewalk network so many of our constituents have said time and time again that we need.
More and better sidewalks will happen by design. Might there be frustrating cases we didn't anticipate? There might. This wasn't one of them. Even better? Metro Planning is working on a new tool that should establish even greater clarity for anyone building or renovating.
The tool is now ready!!! http://www.nashville.gov/Planning-Department/Transportation/Sidewalks.aspx