Recently, I had the pleasure to meet The Music City Riders United group whose advocacy work is focused on better public transit in our city.
Soon after, I had a fund raising dinner party for The Sidewalk Foundation and a deep thinking native Nashvillian friend said, 'walking is the most basic form of public transportation'. We were discussing, to our eyes, one of the reasons the Transit Referendum did not pass: citizens cannot figure how to get to the bus on foot or where it would be safe and comfortable to wait for it.
|People walking to the Bus on Sharondale and Hillsboro|
|My Bus Stop|
Then, I was listening to the former NYC Traffic Commissioner Sam Schwartz on Fresh Air (NPR, Terry Gross, LINK for full interview) and thought, he nailed Nashville with this description:
'There are bad public transportation systems out there. 90% of the country has lousy public transportation. It's called a bus that comes around every 1/2 hour or hour. It largely serves poor people. When a system only serves poor people, it's a poor system'.
Good news, we are not alone, I guess.
Add to this, missing sidewalks on 80% of Nashville's roads (AKA no safe way to walk to the bus) and you get a severely under-utilized public transportation system in the setting of mounting traffic as our city grows.
Nashville, this needs to change.
Other cities have made a commitment putting pedestrians first and Nashville could too. Sidewalks need to go in as a first step. Naturally, then, public transportation use would grow and traffic could be reduced.
'Many scientist have one big idea, which they stick with throughout their career,' writes Daniel M. Davis in The Beautiful Cure. I feel this way about sidewalks for Nashville.
'Above all [scientists] aren't afraid of being wrong'. These thoughts, in this blog, are my own. I am passionate about helping Nashville transform into a great walking city for the health and safety of its citizens. This work is voluntary and therefore I may not have all the facts correct from every angle. What is presented, I believe to be accurate and fair.