When Sidewalk Bill 493 is activated, many times, the property owner can building the sidewalk OR pay an in-lieu fee to the city. Nashville ends up with a piece of completed sidewalk OR money that goes into a pot used to augment sidewalk projects in that particular area. But, the collected money is not nearly enough to cover the cost, according to Public Works, of an actual sidewalk.
Despite a booming city, Nashville is experiencing a budget shortfall (see article in the Tennessean). From the general talk about town, it sounds like we are handing financial incentives to developers and businesses which reduces our ability to cover our essential needs. Why are we doing this?
Nashville's Public Works estimates that their cost to build sidewalks is significantly higher than the in-lieu fee and dependent on the quality of the road. Local roads are estimated to cost $901/linear foot, collector roads are $1183/linear foot and arterial roads come in at the most expensive, and some of the highest in the nation, at $1336/linear foot.
All of us can agree that safety and accessibility of pedestrians is a basic civil right a city should provide its inhabitants. We all have the right to walk.
Know the facts: We currently have 81% of our roadways in need of a sidewalk & a pedestrian death ever 2 weeks. So WHY are we charging property owners such low fees instead of having them build the sidewalk? Many private contractors say they can do this job much cheaper than the city. And, why have we actually DISCOUNTED the in-lieu fee recently? It now stands at 11% of the cost the city says it needs to build sidewalks. Let's not get even further behind...ask your council person to eliminate the in-lieu fee. Let's build some sidewalks!
This in-lieu fee price was reduced in August 2018 from:
- $178 per linear foot
- to $153/linear foot