NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you walk or bike down Shelby Avenue, then you’ve probably noticed a change.

Rapid flashing beacons were added to the intersection of Shelby Avenue and 10th Street at the end of 2022.

That change came shortly after Z Zaldivar’s husband Jabari Paterson was hit by a car while attempting to cross that intersection.

“Those improvements were scheduled, but you cannot deny the fact that they came right after the community spoke up,” said Meredith Montgomery.

According to Metro Nashville Police, the city of Nashville ended 2022 with 49 pedestrian deaths, setting a new record.

“It feels really sad,” Montgomery said. “At first, there’s a sense of, ‘Ugh, is any of the work we’re doing matter?'”

Montgomery is the executive director of Walk Bike Nashville, a group that advocates for people to feel safe traveling through the city either by foot, bicycle or transit.

“We all have the right to move through the city in a safe way,” she said.

Montgomery believes our city’s infrastructure plays a large role in why so many people are getting hit by cars.

“We need a lot more, a lot better infrastructure, especially for pedestrians and our cyclists,” she said.

On the first day of the new year, a 73-year-old man was hit and killed by a car off Murfreesboro Pike near Elm Hill Pike.

Montgomery said this year they want drivers to stop prioritizing speed of travel over pedestrian safety, and start speaking up about improvements that need to be made.

“When we see somebody’s constantly in the middle of the road trying to cross a busy street, we need to report those to HUB Nashville,” she said. “We need to talk to our councilmembers about them and they need to hear from the community, this is what we’re seeing, this is what what we need now.”

With Nashville’s Vision Zero plan finally implemented, Montgomery is hopeful we’ll start to see changes and said their group will continue to push for those changes this year.

“We’re going to do everything that we can to respond when there are these crashes and to see how we can reverse this trend,” she said.

Walk Bike Nashville will be holding a pedestrian memorial event and walk for those who lost their lives in 2022.

The event and walk will be held Saturday, Jan. 28 

The Nashville Department of Transportation just announced it’s new Vision Zero Task Force Members.

Those members are:

  • Joy Andal, MSPS, RN
  • Chris Bowe
  • Shandira Edgecombe
  • Ben Hubert
  • Christine Irizarry
  • Amanda Key
  • Koby Langner
  • Dr. David Martin
  • Dr. Katherine McDonell
  • Peter Robison
  • Chris Sandwith
  • Hannah Sasscer
  • Kemar Small
  • Wes Smith
  • Jeremiah Wooten

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The group will meet regularly. The first meeting date has not yet been set, but will be held at the end of January.