Push to make Nashville’s roads safer

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Growth in and around Nashville means more and more bicyclists and pedestrians.

But recent data shows the number of pedestrian deaths in the Metro area are on the rise.

An ordinance set for a second reading in Metro Council would lower the speed limit on residential roads from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

“We have a really serious issue and it’s time to be serious about making changes,” said Nora Kern, Executive Director of Walk Bike Nashville.

It’s a proposal based on the idea that slower speeds mean safer streets.

“We know speed is the number one factor,” said Kern.

Kern said reducing speeds would have an immediate effect.

“Where you can’t build a sidewalk, lowering speed is a great low-cost first step to make a difference for people who live there,” she said.

Proponents said the proof lies in a 2018 pilot study of three neighborhoods, one being Cleveland Park, in which the speed was reduced from 30 to 20 miles per hour.

Malcolm Lake is the deacon at the church bordering the park.

“It’s gotten better since they dropped it to 20. You see a lot of more people walking their dogs riding bicycles,” said Lake.

Lake said the proposal could even be beneficial if applied to other high-traffic roads.

“McFerrin, Gallatin Road, people are excessive in school zones- have to tell them to slow down,” said Lake. “It’ll be safety for our kids, it’ll be safety for our seniors.”

Adding those collector and arterial roads in the county is part of the long term plan, Kern said.

The goal is to reduce the speed limits of those thoroughfares from 40 to 30 miles per hour.

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