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Advocates call on improved pedestrian infrastructure after another death on Dickerson Pike

Advocates call for improved pedestrian infrastructure along Dickerson Pike
Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 17, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Areas that include poverty, carless households or high unemployment rates are considered vulnerable in Nashville. Those same areas — like Dickerson Pike — are also the ones most at risk for traffic deaths or injuries.

“Yeah I mean it’s absolutely an equity issue,” said District 5 Councilmember Sean Parker. Much of Dickerson Pike runs through his district.

For the third time in 12 months a pedestrian — this time a 34-year-old woman — was killed on the street.

“We’ve got mobile home parks, we’ve got apartments, we’ve got businesses, we’ve got schools, we’ve got all that activity happening and those people have just as much right to safely access the corridor as motorists do,” Parker said.

This comes after Mayor John Cooper and the Nashville Department of Transportation recently introduced the first draft of the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan — a plan aimed at making Nashville streets safer.

“The Vision Zero Action Plan really confirmed what we’ve known for years that there’s a small number of streets that cause the majority of crashes,” said Lindsey Ganson, director of advocacy and communications for Walk Bike Nashville,

“There’s a lot of transit riders, there’s a lot of people trying to get to and from work, a lot of people trying to access the stores and shopping and services that are along Dickerson,” she said. “Everyone involved in Metro government, whether it’s the mayor, whether it’s the Metro council members, whether it’s the Metro Department of Transportation, everyone knows this street is dangerous.”

Ganson said Dickerson is one of the seven most deadly streets for pedestrians in Nashville.

“We should really expect to see more immediate action from Mayor Cooper, from the Department of Transportation to add more pedestrian crossings, more signals, more lights," said Ganson. "There are really basic things you can do to improve pedestrian safety on a street like Dickerson Pike and it needs to happen immediately so that nobody else needs to die.”

As part of the Vision Zero Action Plan, the city developed what’s called a “high injury network” to show crash hot spots in Nashville like on Dickerson Pike.

high injury network
The high injury network identifies the most dangerous roadways and intersections for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

Both Ganson and Parker said pedestrian infrastructure improvements are simple and overdue.

"When it comes to pedestrian safety, really simple changes to signal timing, adding pedestrian islands, upgrading crosswalks, adding lighting have all been proven to dramatically reduce crashes," said Ganson.

You have until Feb. 4 to share input on the city's Vision Zero Action Plan. You can email your thoughts to VisionZero@Nashville.gov. For more information, click here.