Advocates call on city leaders to make Nashville streets safer

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Posted at 10:18 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-02 06:32:06-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville is on pace to see another record number of pedestrians killed while walking or biking on city streets, and advocates are calling on city leaders to make changes.

Just 24 hours after a group gathered to remember pedestrians killed in traffic crashes in 2021, a man riding his bike on Nolensville Pike was hit by a car and killed. He is the sixth pedestrian or cyclist killed on Nashville streets this year.

"There are seven roads that account for more than half of pedestrian deaths year after year after year in Nashville," said Lindsey Ganson, director for advocacy and communications for Walk Bike Nashville. "Of course, Nolensville is one of them."

Ganson said Walk Bike Nashville is calling on Mayor John Cooper to make changes now to make streets safer.

"There are some very basic safety improvements that could be done, that haven’t been done," said Ganson.

Ganson said additional lighting, crosswalks and protection for bike lanes are all proven to increase safety.

"Those things can all have really big impact on safety for everyone using the road," said Ganson. "They don’t cost a lot, and don’t take a lot of time."

In May of 2021, the Nashville Department of Transportation started developing a Vision Zero Action Plan to end traffic-related deaths and serious injuries.

A spokesperson for Mayor John Cooper said in a statement that he is committed to pedestrian and traffic safety and Vision Zero. She added, over the last two years he has invested $20 million in improvements, and lowered neighborhood speed limits. Metro is also currently implementing about 50 neighborhood traffic calming projects that result in safer driving and lower speeds.

She said NDOT is already making safety improvements, as well, including improved street lighting, and new sidewalks.

However, critics said after eight months, the Vision Zero Plan is still mainly focused on research and feedback, and not much action has been taken.

"We have been doing a lot of planning within Nashville and that is all wonderful," said Ganson. "But there are things that can happen in the short term that haven’t happened."

The Vision Zero Plan is open for public comment through Feb. 4, and officials hope to have a plan finalized by late next month.

To learn more about the plan or offer feedback visit Metro Nashville's Vision Zero website.