CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As Clarksville continues to grow, some city leaders worry sidewalks aren’t keeping up. With the city’s average walkability score coming in at 18 out of 100, Ward 9 Councilwoman Karen Reynolds is proposing a new approach to expanding sidewalks.
For students living within a mile of Clarksville elementary schools, like Glenellen, the bus isn’t an option. Instead, they have to catch a ride or walk, but not all routes offer sidewalks, including certain stretches along Centerstone Drive.
“These children are really risking their lives when they cross the street, because there’s no sidewalk on the opposite side of this street to get to the school,” Reynolds said.
On top of accessibility for students, Reynolds also wants to make sidewalks ADA compliant. Currently, the federal government is in the process of adopting the Public Right of Way Access Guidelines. To comply with those new rules, Reynolds wants to expand sidewalks from four to five feet where possible, providing enough space for two wheelchairs or scooters to pass. In addition, she said, any obstacles for canes need to be removed.
“If I have a low vision or I’m blind, I can’t drive, so I rely on public transportation and ability to get to and from the bus stops, and you can see here, we are not supporting that part of our community,” Reynolds said.
On Thursday evening, Reynolds will take her plans before the Clarksville City Council. The complaints call for any new construction projects to add compliant sidewalks, or builders can pay an “in-lieu” fee to go toward the city sidewalk fund.
“There’s going to be times when the topographic, the property doesn’t have space to put in, or it’s too much of a hill, and so again not requiring them to do sidewalks, they would pay the ‘in lieu of’ fee,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds stressed that her plan is still in the discussion phase. Right now, she’s seeking input from city legal, as well as the public, and hopes to have a final draft to vote on in December.
“Bring your advice and any re-writes. Let’s not try to adopt changes on the floor; let’s work as a team to make sure by the time it gets to the floor that everybody’s happy with it,” Reynolds said.
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Reynolds also encouraged residents to attend the next Street Department Committee meeting to weigh in on sidewalk plans.