NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A camera set at S. 10th Street and Fatherland Street caught driver after driver blowing through a four-way stop in East Nashville. A few hesitate with a slight slowdown, but in the end, take dangerous chances.
James Guthrie is president of the East End Neighborhood Association.
“You use the expression people dying in the streets and that’s supposed to be hyperbolic, a situation that would demand attention and be the number one priority,” he explained. “That’s literally the situation on our hands, and you don’t see enough happening to prevent it.”
Residents have had enough.
“I remember being livid, it was seven or eight years ago, that we had a record-breaking number of fatalities at 29 and it has increased every year since,” said Daniel McDonell, an East Nashville resident and candidate for District 6 Council.
Forty nine pedestrians died in Nashville in 2022, up from 37 in 2021, and even more were injured.
Jabari Patterson broke both legs after a truck struck him in December while walking in the crosswalk on S. 10th Street and Shelby Avenue.
“These beacons have been shown to reduce injuries by 50%, you just have to hope you’re in the right half, I guess,” Gutherie said while traveling through the same crosswalk where his friend, Patterson, was injured.
This is just one intersection that troubled Guthrie as he directed News 2 to S. 14th and Fatherland Street.
“What the design asks you to do is stand out here, exposed, to wait to cross,” Guthrie demonstrated while standing at least 10 feet into the disjointed intersection. “A car coming from behind, to turn right, is probably going to go behind you. So you’re having to look 360 degrees for potential conflict when you’re just trying to get across the street with a stroller or a friend.”
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His concerns were validated as News 2 cameras caught several vehicles breaking the law — never even pausing for stop signs.
Back near S. 10th Street, Guthrie explained more of his frustration.
“We are sitting on grants from the state and NDOT to completely redesign this street, but we are years into the waiting for that, and it’s going to be years more before we see those changes.”
Tired of waiting, Guthrie does what he can to make small changes with the help of concerned neighbors.
“We filled out probably 15 hubNashville! tickets, and we got a meeting with NDOT. Our council member [Brett Withers] supported it, and working with the developer, they changed it,” he said with a satisfied nod.
Their persistence paved the way for safer crossings at S. 11th Street and Fatherland Street. It’s a lot of additional steps for these pedestrians who just want equal respect on the roads.
“We’re developing, and of course that comes with more people who need to get around,” McDonell said. “I think if we’re thoughtful about it, and we understand the benefits of giving multiple transportation options, we’ll see there’s a really high return on investment for things like sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit investments.”