NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Changes are coming to Nashville neighborhoods over the next few months, and city leaders and advocates hope new lower speed limits will keep people safe.
Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced the Neighborhood Speed Limit Reduction initiative Tuesday afternoon. The plan will lower residential speed limits from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour in the Urban Services District - which includes most Nashville neighborhoods.
The program was funded as part of the 2018-2019 Capital Spending Plan. It was approved by the Metro Council, as well, as Metro’s Traffic and Parking Commission earlier this year.
"When you are living on a street and cars are going fast, it's very unpleasant. It also has safety implications as well that we are trying to counteract," said Metro Public Works Assistant Director Jeff Hammond.
Hammond said more than 180 communities across the city have requested some type of traffic calming measure.
The reduced speed limits come on the heels of the deadliest year on record for pedestrians in Nashville. Officials with Walk Bike Nashville said especially in neighborhoods without sidewalks, it is critical for drivers to slow down.
"It seems dramatic, but just a few miles per hour can be the difference between life and death,” said Lindsey Ganson, Director of Advocacy and Communications for Walk Bike Nashville. “A pedestrian’s risk of severe injury or death is cut in half when the impact speed drops from 33 mph to 25 mph."
Metro Public Works will begin installing 2,500 new street signs across the city. The process will take 4 to 6 months to complete. The sign replacement will cost around $85,000. Officials with Public Works said the project was originally budgeted to cost $500,000.
The department will also work over the next several months to inform residents of the changes, and also educate them about the dangers of speeding. Metro Police will enforce the new speed limits.