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NDOT reveals 5-year Vision Zero draft plan to keep pedestrians safer

Posted at 9:28 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-24 08:41:42-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's an alarming trend: each year more people die in crashes in Nashville than the year before.

Crash deaths in Nashville:
2019: 106
2020: 114, despite lower traffic volumes
2021: 131
YTD 2022: 77, which is around 10 more crash deaths than this time last year.

During that time frame, between 30 and 40 of the deaths per year were people on foot.

Getting the numbers to trend down, and keeping everyone safe on the road, is the goal behind the Nashville Department of Transportation's Vision Zero program. This week staff unveiled the draft of a five-year plan.

It calls for $25 million for the next fiscal year, with the bulk ($20 million) going toward engineering safer roads and intersections.

Staff identified 100 priority projects along what's dubbed the "high injury network" of roads, which includes many of the pikes. Around half of them are state-owned and require collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Both Murfreesboro Pike and Gallatin Pike appear twice in the top 10.

NDOT's plan includes more than 50 intersections that need improvements. Options can be as simple as changing the paint, or can include new physical features like better lighting, flashing beacons, curb extensions or raised crosswalks. Some roads and intersections may need to be reconfigured altogether.

They say improving transit access is important, with many people walking to and from bus stops across town.

The plan breaks down projects based on how quickly they can be completed. Some with timelines as short as six months. And it utlitizes a framework that NDOT is calling the five Es:

Engineering
Evaluation
Encouragement
Education
Enforcement

Overall, NDOT says better education and enforcement will be key to curbing the rising death toll.

"How do we change the culture as far as Metro Government (in designing roads), and how do we change the culture of Nashville - the driving culture that we have out there," said NDOT Chief Engineer Brad Freeze. "So we have a lot of work to do with regard to that."

He presented the draft to the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee this week. It still needs to go before the entire Metro Council.

You can learn more about the Vision Zero program here.