Nashville pedestrians want more sidewalks along with bike lanes

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro Nashville budgeted $30 million for sidewalks this year and council members are letting the city know where they are needed.

For some people in Nashville, their morning commute means hitting the pavement instead of pressing on an accelerator.

Sharon Parsons took for granted the convenience of having a car, until hers broke down. Now, she is among the thousands who ride a MTA Bus to get to work.

But before she gets to her bus stop she walks up to two miles one way to catch the bus.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

“It is dangerous, cars sometimes don’t recognize you are walking there and they almost kind of hit you,” she said. “It’s very dangerous without sidewalks.”

In 2015, 18 pedestrians were involved in fatal collisions. In 13 of those cases, the pedestrian was in the road outside of a crosswalk.

“We have a strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways greenways and parks we are looking at all of those as avenues for transit,” Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said. “We have put in $30 million in our budget this year for sidewalks.”

Mayor Barry said she has prioritized putting sidewalks down that connect children to schools and people to transit. Metro Council members have been letting public works know where to put in sidewalks.

“Those budget dollars get spent all over the county on different sidewalk projects,” Mayor Barry said. “Council members are telling us where they need them the most and we are putting them down as fast as we can.”

The city is also updating its strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways. The plan is currently in its final phase and should be ready for implementation by the end of the year.

But it can be frustrating to pedestrians to see improvements to roads that include better bike lanes.

“We need more sidewalks because a lot of people walk to work,” Parsons said. “When they put in a bike lane they should think about a sidewalk.”

Parsons also said drivers should be more considerate of pedestrians who have no choice, but to walk.

“My transportation is currently down so riding the bus is much cheaper as I try to save money for a car,” Parsons said. “Some drivers if they see you trying to cross the road they speed up and if they see you in the middle of the road trying to cross the street they definitely try to speed up.”

If you live in an area in need of new sidewalks or sidewalk repairs you can contact your council member or the Public Works Department.