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Addressing Nashville's deadliest intersections for pedestrians

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - As Nashville grows, so does the number of vehicles on the road and the number of pedestrians. In Metro Nashville, there were 23 pedestrians deaths in 2018. This year, there have been 19 already.

"Anytime we lose a life in Davidson County it's a high priority," said Lt. Michael Gillaland, the Traffic Section Commander for Metro Police Department, "Many of the pedestrian crashes are actually not the fault of the automobile or the driver of the automobile. Therefore, you say how we do regulate pedestrians and their walking?"

In fact, many pedestrian deaths are not due to impaired drivers, but impaired walkers. 

The deadliest intersection in Metro Nashville-- Trinity Lane between Dickerson Pike and Brickchurch Road. A total of seven deaths since 2017, five of them were impaired.

"Then we turn to environmental issues. What can we do environmentally to change the atmosphere in that area. We communicate on a regular basis with public works," Gillaland said, "We touched base with them earlier this year and they're finishing up a traffic study right now and looking at possible solutions in that area because most of these crashes occurred after dark hours."

Most pedestrian fatalities occur at night, in dark places, and under interstate overpasses. 

The second deadliest intersection is Lafayette and I-40.

One of the most dangerous stretches in all of Tennessee, you could probably guess, is Broadway from 1st to 5th Ave. However, they're very rarely fatalities.

"Because you're talking about lower vehicle speeds and as vehicle speeds dramatically decrease, the survivability increases," Gillaland said.

Walk Bike Nashville's been advocating for change at 50 of the most dangerous intersections in the city of Nashville since 2014.

Four have seen improvements: Nolensville Pike near Welshwood Drive, Broadway, and 3rd, Gallatin Pike by Lakewood Drive and Harding Place by Tampa Drive.

At those intersections, they've either added another crosswalk between existing ones, they've lengthened the times of the signals to give people more time to cross and even narrowed the driving lanes to force people to slow down, according to Bike Walk Nashville.

But, they say it's not enough. 

"In the past four years alone, 18 people have been killed at 257 people have been injured at these 50 most dangerous intersections," said the Director of Advocacy Lindsey Ganson, "There are things that can be done to make them safer for everyone, and especially for pedestrians."

But stopping an impaired person from crossing the street at night still poses a challenge.

"It's hit or miss when you're talking about impaired pedestrians, whether or not they're gonna obey the signals or not, but it's an effort we have to put forth in order to make that area safer for pedestrians to traverse," Gillaland said.

Crossing the street, not in a crosswalk or intersection is a misdemeanor offense.

Metro officers ask that pedestrians pay attention, be alert, and similar to driving-- do not walk distracted. 


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