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Monday, April 8, 2019

Nashville Still Needs Sidewalks

Nashville Still Needs Sidewalks

I have been blogging about sidewalk issues and walkability in Nashville since 2013.  As a pediatric physician, I am highly interested in 3 things - health, safety and a little fun.  I was warned, while researching this issue, that it's only for those willing to be in it for the long haul.  Desire for sidewalks in Nashville is nothing new.  Production of new sidewalks runs at a snail's pace.  For a little context in how long Nashvillians have been discussion our need for sidewalks, Bill Purcell ran for mayor on the platform of 'schools and sidewalks' in 1999 spurred by a lawsuit against the city for not having ADA compliant infrastructure in the downtown area.  Twenty years later, we have sidewalks on only 20% of our roadways.  Progress has been made but its glacial.

Nashville has always been fun but we have a long way to go to becoming a safe and walkable city on every one of our 532 sq miles.  There are still too many starts and stops in the sidewalks - a crazy quilt patterning of inconsistency.     

I acknowledge significant improvement in the downtown area and select neighborhoods like the Gulch & 12th So but the vast majority of neighborhoods are still wanting when it comes to sidewalks.

Nashville budget gaps and lack of confidence in Public Works are issues that will slow progress.   The Sidewalk Bill #493 has been a highly effective law change to require either building sidewalk with major development/redevelopment on arterial and collector streets (see map) or payment of a contribution in-lieu (currently  $153/linear foot which is significantly less than the cost for the city to build but maybe not too far from what a contractor would charge).  More money has been collected by this payment of a contribution in-lieu since inception of the law in 2016 than in the 10 years prior. 

Once a piece of sidewalk is built on a block that is considered an arterial or collector street (see map) then the contribution can no longer be accepted and a sidewalk must be built - a significant win for our city.  But, the trick is, it requires one piece of sidewalk to be present before the contribution option closes.  Too often, these pieces are not going in at the time of development.  Woodmont is a key example of this issue at this moment (see photos). 

If you live on an arterial or collector street and have the option of building the sidewalk or making the contribution, PLEASE, build the sidewalk. 

You will be the beginning of something wonderful.

The Sidewalk Foundation of Nashville has two $500 grants available for first piece of sidewalk on any arterial or collector street in Nashville. 
  You will be the beginning of something wonderful!


To make a contribution:  The Sidewalk Foundation

We are looking for corporate, celebrity, individual and business sponsorship to help build a new piece of sidewalk on every arterial and collector street in Nashville.










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