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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Can a Foundation Fund Sidewalks in City Where they are Lacking? AKA Nashville?

For full article:  The New Yorker - Shaking the Foundations

In dealing with HOW to BUILD MORE SIDEWALKS in Nashville for the last 5 years, it has become clear that a foundation is a solution.  A solution with some precedent

With this knowledge, The Sidewalk Foundation, a 501 c 3, has been created and is taking donations, directly turning them into micro-grants to those who build their sidewalk triggered by Sidewalk Bill 493.  We currently have (4) $500 grants available - 2 citywide and 2 for Bowling Av.  This project is to express the enduring citizen THANK YOU to those who build their sidewalk instead of paying the in-lieu fee. 

That being said, the major criticism expressed in regards to this non-profit is that sidewalks are the responsibility of cities.  A city is to provide safe access for all.  Private citizens should not be funding them. 

At our current pace, it will be 1000 years to completion of our sidewalk network in Nashville.  81% of our roads do not have a sidewalk. 

Our government funding level and commitment to walkability is wanting. 

For better or for worse, it seems "the more government spending gets squeezed, the more important nongovernment spending will become'.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

#DontLetYourBuilderTalkYouOutOfBuildingTheSidewalk Nashville

Sidewalks are expensive but truly needed.  Unfortunately, the great majority (81%) of Nashville's roadways are like this one with literally no place for a person (not in a car) to be. 

One of the best features of the Sidewalk Bill 493 is that once a piece of sidewalk goes in on a block face, the in-lieu fee, which allows for payment into a fund instead of building the sidewalk, is no longer an option.  Unfortunately, this in-lieu fee has recently been weakened as an agent of change - the cost has been reduced from $178/linear foot (lf) down to $153/lf - despite the current city estimates quoted below being significantly higher. 

One thing we can all do then is to build the sidewalk required of us by law.  A contractor can build the sidewalk for significantly less then the cost quoted below.  This act alone would be a huge gift to the city and a gift to every single citizen as we are all pedestrians. 

The Sidewalk Foundation has (2) $500 micro-grants available to any homeowner who builds their sidewalk when the Sidewalk Bill is triggered Nashville-wide and (2) specifically reserved for Bowling Av (Sidewalk project #1).  Please contact us for more information.



Monday, October 15, 2018

Nashville's Sidewalk Tracker - a visualization of why you are not currently walking from A to B on a new sidewalk

I'm often asked, 'where are the new sidewalks.'  Despite increases in sidewalk funding, our large city-county of 532 sq miles still feels void of decent walkability. 

 It is arguably hard to tell that we are making strides in timely fashion.

  This map is clear example why Nashvillians are not feeling progress.

These tiny blips and dots represent complete (green), under construction (red), scheduled construction (orange), in design (purple) and planned (blue) . 

Monday, October 8, 2018


Shade Parade began 5 years ago with the idea that better infrastructure (ie more sidewalks in Nashville) would increase walking (the 'parade' part) but that shade could too (ie more tree cover because Nashville is HOT!) is a critical piece of solving our walking woes.

Nashville is experiencing rapid growth and with it quick depletion of our tree canopy.  This is felt most acutely in neighborhoods such as the Nations where whole blocks seem to have been torn down and rebuilt in the blink of an eye.  'Just since 2008, the tree canopy in the urban core has dropped from 28 percent to 24 percent, a loss of roughly 9,000 trees a year'.  For a pedestrian, this tree canopy loss means exposure to the elements including the searing summer sun.  As anyone can imagine, arriving at your destination drenched with sweat is never optimal.  

'Nashville’s mayor, David Briley, announced a campaign to restore and enlarge the city’s tree canopy called Root Nashville.  Root Nashville will be overseen by the city and the Cumberland River Compact, an environmental nonprofit, and funded through a combination of public, corporate, foundation and private dollars. Together with several municipal departments and other nonprofit organizations, the initiative aims to plant 500,000 trees in Davidson County by 2050'.


(AKA future site of sidewalks!)


More Trees, Happier People

When cities grow, green space dies. Replanting it has been shown to lift the human spirit.

Click to read full article --- NY TIMES ARTICLE

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

At 20 mph, a pedestrian has a 95% chance of survival if struck. 20 is plenty on residential streets.

20 is Plenty.
At 20 mph, a pedestrian has a 95% chance of survival if struck.
At 40mph, the chance of survival is reduced to 20%.

As speed increases, your cone of vision narrows.

20 is plenty on residential streets.

20 is plenty when passing pedestrians.


Remember - pedestrians are to walk against traffic (not with traffic).  It's the law. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

What does the LA Cougar have to do with Nashville's Sidewalk Woes?

LA Times article - Mountain Lion overpass / 101 Freeway
LA Times - mountain-lion-freeway-bridge

Last night, I went with my family to see Steve Winter talk about photographing big cats for National Geographic.  It was completely enthralling.  One of the most striking things he spoke of was a land bridge, to cross the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, to allow mountain lions safe passage and access to a much larger terrain. 

This project is being spearheaded by volunteers and by private donation.


To build a bridge for mountain lions, wildlife activists need $60 million

As 101 Freeway traffic streaked past, a dozen conservationists and fundraisers gathered this week just west of Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills, their eyes alternating between maps they carried and the contours of a canyon where mountain lions hunt and breed.
But it wasn’t the big cats they were looking for. Their target, instead, was a patch of land that could anchor a 200-foot-long, 165-foot-wide overpass spanning a stretch of freeway that carries 100,000 vehicles each day.  Click 1st link for remainder of article.

This topic, sat with me in part because of my persistent interest in the safety and health of pedestrians in Nashville. 

Nashville is a large city/county of over 500 square miles.  We have 19% of its streets sidewalked.  At our current rate of production, none alive today will see this job done.

The notion of private funding major projects like the land bridge above is being done in other cities and it raises the notion of doing it in Nashville to build sidewalks.



Monday, October 1, 2018

20 is Plenty!

20 is Plenty.

20 is plenty...on our local neighborhood streets.

20 mph is plenty...when passing a pedestrian.
20 is plenty...when passing a runner.
20 is plenty...when you see a bicyclist.
20 is plenty...when you see children playing

Other cities have reduced their speed limits on local streets as part of Vision Zero. 

Could Nashville?


Maybe we shift gears from Walking Districts to the creation of Walking Cities.  Speed limit reduction could go a long way to helping pedestrians feel safe and be safe.

The Sidewalk Foundation.Org
Nashville Needs Sidewalks on FB
Pedestrian Death Registry.Org
Found on Foot on Instagram