Currently, Nashville has approximately 1,070 miles of sidewalks within the city. However, a Nashville resident has started a movement that tells officials the city needs more.
A three-year study showed that almost 1,000 pedestrians were hit by cars in Nashville. The city ranks as one of the most dangerous cities for pedestrians in the nation. Last year, the number of pedestrian accidents and deaths spiked compared to prior years. Many believe this is in part caused by a lack of sidewalks made available.
Nashville Does Not Have Walkability
The Nashville resident who started this movement, an avid runner and a mother to two children, moved to the city nine years ago. When she noticed the city started growing without accommodating the influx of pedestrians by adding additional sidewalks, she began to worry about what she calls the city’s “walkability.” The resident printed out a sign and attached it to her stroller. The sign had a simple message: “Nashville Needs Sidewalks.” As other runners and pedestrians noticed the sign, residents began reaching out to her and asking for signs for themselves.
Nashville’s lack of sidewalks is not the only issue, however. Current sidewalks downtown are constantly blocked off for construction purposes. The routes for pedestrians are blocked without and signs or directions on how to reroute pedestrians who normally walk that pathway. Rather, pedestrians are forced to wander out in the street to avoid the block.
What are Nashville City Officials Doing to Promote Walkability and Add More Sidewalks?
Newly elected Mayor Barry has also noticed the state of Nashville’s public walkways and is concerned about the increase in pedestrian accidents. The mayor has teamed up with Metro Public Works to update the city’s sidewalks and paths for bicycles.
The mayor intends to reach out to the public for input on what the 2016 Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways should entail by conducting surveys, holding interviews and attending meetings on the topic. The mayor’s office will evaluate the existing sidewalk conditions within the city and prioritize which areas need updating first. Additionally, Metro Public Works will work with the mayor’s office to assess what other cities similar to Nashville’s size, population growth rate and terrain are doing to provide safe walkways for pedestrians and subsequently reduce the number of pedestrian accidents. The plan should be formed late this year.
“so that the LORD may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” 1 Kings 2:4