NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On the first Wednesday in October, people across the country celebrate National Walk to School Day. In Nashville, this year’s featured school, Shwab Elementary, highlighted the dangerous conditions along Dickerson Pike.
Walk Bike Nashville has called Dickerson Pike “one of the most dangerous roads for pedestrians.” According to the organization’s data, 40 pedestrians were hit while walking on the 1.7-mile stretch over the last five years.
Shwab Elementary School Executive Principal Cheryl Bowman said about two-thirds of her students live within walking distance of the building, but the majority are driven to school because of how treacherous it is.
“We need sidewalks, and so this not only highlights good health and healthy habits, but the need of a safe way to walk to school, so we’re excited to be here this morning,” Bowman explained as students, parents, community members, and Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell gathered to walk from Trinity Creek Community Commons to Shwab Elementary on Wednesday, Oct. 4.
According to Walk Bike Nashville, the goal of National Walk to School Day is promoting healthy habits, raising family support and community support, and drawing attention to neighborhood safety concerns
Metro Councilmember Sean Parker, who represents the area around Dickerson Pike, also walked with the group. Both Parker and O’Connell have transportation as a top priority.
“It’s very difficult to fix a street once it’s already built up and developed so we’re trying to get Dickerson right on the front end,” Parker said in a statement. “We’re building a safe, accessible, and active corridor that supports existing businesses and residents as well as new development.”
In late January 2023, Walk Bike Nashville presented a study to make Dickerson Pike safer, backed up with examples from other cities. The plan includes reducing travel to three lanes, which the study said would slow traffic and make room for the sidewalks this school is requesting.