NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — After more than two dozen pedestrian deaths so far this year, the Metro Council is taking a new approach to try to increase the number of sidewalks in Davidson County.
Vice Mayor Jim Shulman announced eight new special committees will focus on specific issues facing the city. One of those committees will focus on sidewalks.
Committee members will examine the following: who has a list of current and future sidewalks? How is that list determined? How much does it cost to build a linear foot of sidewalk in Nashville? How does that cost compare to other peer cities? Is there a way to reduce the cost so more sidewalks can be built?
“I think it’s really important that we focus on ways that people can move around the city other than cars,” said Emily Benedict, Council Member for District 7 and Chair of the sidewalk committee. “No senior and no child should be put in harm’s way because our streets are unsafe and unwalkable.”
Council Member Benedict said cost has been one of the issues that has slowed building new sidewalks.
Nashville Electric Service released a statement regarding the new committee: “Nashville Electric Service is happy to support the Metro Council in its efforts to bring more sidewalks to Music City. We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office and the council on this initiative.”
People who attend and live around the Cathedral of Praise church in Nashville are just some who are lobbying to get more sidewalks. There are no sidewalks on Clarksville Pike, and this can make it challenging and dangerous for members to walk to church.
“Traffic has really increased since the population has increased,” said Misha Maynard, Chief Operating Officer for Cathedral of Praise. “When there are people walking in or walking to businesses, there isn’t enough space for cars and pedestrians.”
Maynard said church members have expressed their concerns, and the church has even hosted a couple of town hall meetings to address the issue.
“Hopefully, there will be great changes,” said Maynard. “If we don’t have it, we will continue to voice our opinion and be a voice for our people here.”
The special sidewalk committee will work for the next three months to find solutions, and then report back to the Metro Council in January.
The other special committees will examine low voter participation in Nashville, improving relations with the Metro School Board, street closures in downtown, the high incarceration rate in the 37208 zip code, pay for Metro employees, after school opportunities for young people, and enforcement of Metro code.