Councilman Glover's Proposal for Religious Institutions to be Exempt from the Sidewalk Bill Denied in Planning, Next Hearing 1/2/2018
Years of minimal planning for pedestrian infrastructure has led to a severe deficit in Nashville. In 2017, we have roughly 1/4 of our roadways sidewalked. Mostly, on a single side.
We are a unique city: 532 square miles, a city/county, that has grown fast. Things are changing quickly. We average one pedestrian death every 21 days. We have record low public transportation ridership. We have poor health statistics around obesity. We have bad traffic.
And, we have a lot of people who want to walk!
Health and safety are two main themes for my writing and why I took to blogging about pedestrian issues in Nashville 4 years ago. Per the CDC, healthy living includes 30 minutes of exercise per day and I am committed to this practice. But, I often feel threatened while on foot: drivers come too close, are driving too fast, are not looking for me. And, I can see why. There is literally no designed place for a walker on most roadways. It doesn't feel safe. If I wasn't so stubborn, I wouldn't attempt those 30 minutes per day, on foot, on Nashville's roadways.
Walking is a basic human right. We should not have to get in a car to travel our city. We should feel safe and invited to go on foot...
The phrase 'nobody walks' is frequently repeated as the reason to continue to avoid building sidewalks. Nobody walks because it is treacherous out there as I have just described. With proper infrastructure, things in Nashville would be different. When Councilman Glover used this notion as a reason for religious institutions to be exempt for The Sidewalk Bill, it struck a nerve.
The good news is his proposition was denied.
Speakers in opposition at the meeting, including Council Members Withers, Elrod, Allen, and Henderson. Plus there were about 15 letters/emails sent (THANK YOU if you were one of those who sent in an email!).
As a result, the planning commission voted nearly unanimously (1 voted in favor) to disapprove the exemption.
The next step is public hearing at council January 2nd. What would be needed is 27 votes to pass it with Commission disapproval.
CASE 2017-160 (Council District – 12) Brandon Williams, appellant and New Beginnings International Ministry, Inc, owner of the property located at 3179 Earhart Road, requesting a Special Exception and a variance from sidewalk requirements in the RS15 District, to construct a new 14,400 square foot Church. Referred to the Board under Section 17.16.170 E3,17.20.120. The appellant alleged the Board would have jurisdiction under Section 17.40.180(B&C). Use-Religious Institution Map 98 Parcel(s) 208