New sidewalk committee to kickoff first meeting

Local News

There have been 26 pedestrian deaths in Nashville so far this year, making 2019 the most deadly on record.

A new committee aims to curb that with a new city-wide effort on sidewalks.

“There should be sidewalks on every street because if not, you’ll get run over,” said walker Joe Harding.

But take a look around Music City and you’ll quickly discover, that’s not the case.

“This is to make sure city-wide, we have a solid process,” said District 7 Councilmember Emily Benedict. “And to really get to the bottom of why we can’t more sidewalks more quickly because there’s a need for it.”

That new approach expands on past efforts to get more sidewalks through a special sidewalk committee headed by Benedict.

“We are a city that was built around the car, and we’re really looking at multi-modal transportation now,” she said.

The committee is tasked with coming up with improving processes around sidewalks – taking inventory, comparing it to cities of similar size, and coming up with obstacles to work around.

Another factor is cost.

When you look at right-of-way, surveys, and materials, one linear foot can cost up to $1000-dollars.

“These are capital improvements, so we have to find out where we have the budget available to put into these capital improvements,” said Benedict.

Benedict said the committee will continue to collect sidewalk data before presenting recommendations to Vice Mayor Jim Schulman at the end of January 2020.

“In my district, my folks want to make sure we have complete sidewalks around every school zone, that’s important,” said Benedict. “But we also have to look at the most dangerous areas in the city.”

The public is invited to attend Monday’s kick-off meeting.

It’s set for 6 p.m. at the Lentz Public Health Center on Charlotte Avenue.

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