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smeagolsfree

Walkable Nashville

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I have walked all over different parts of Nashville in my time here. Many things are sorely lacking as far as walk-ability. I thought this would be a good topic to discuss some suggestions that could make things better. I dont want to turn this into a big debate but would like some strong suggestions on what you would like to see in Nashville and what you would tell the Mayor and Metro council if you had a chance. Thats not an open door to slam them but maybe we can get a list of needed projects and present it to them.

I can start by offering a few suggestions off the bat.

1) Add crosswalks and pedestrian signals crossing over I 40 on Church, Broadway, and Demonbreun.

I have seen many times that cars do not yield to pedestrians at those location and it can be dangerous to get from DT to Midtown.

2) Add a pedestrian crossing at the Schermerhorn and the Shelby St. Bridge crossing 3rd. This is a major pedestrian route across 3rd ave. and I have seen people almost run over.

3) Add flashing ped/crossing signals at the busiest mid street crossing in the DT area. 4th and 5th Ave. between Union and Church, Union @ legislative plaza, 4th at the Hilton, 3rd at the Shelby St Bridge.

4) Strict Enforcement by Metro police. I have never seen anyone pulled over for not yielding to a pedestrian.

Well this is a start. Lets see what we can come up with.

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Better lighting at night on some of the downtown streets are always a plus. And the city does not need to spread the new retail that comes into the core all over the place, I know that may be out of our control but there needs to be some kind of plan in place to make the city more pedestrian friendly. I think the new renovated Church St. is a good example of a area of the city you wouldn't mind walking, Its very inviting, with wider sidewalks, lighting and different places to sit.

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Better lighting at night on some of the downtown streets are always a plus. And the city does not need to spread the new retail that comes into the core all over the place, I know that may be out of our control but there needs to be some kind of plan in place to make the city more pedestrian friendly. I think the new renovated Church St. is a good example of a area of the city you wouldn't mind walking, Its very inviting, with wider sidewalks, lighting and different places to sit.

I think it would be nice if we had a "retail" district....something along the "Miracle Mile" in Chicago. Someplace close to all the "goings on" so walkability is not a problem.

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1) Add crosswalks and pedestrian signals crossing over I 40 on Church, Broadway, and Demonbreun.

This is a definite and clear cut must do for the city IMO, and I have no idea why it hasn't been done yet. Those crossing are real hazards for pedestrians, in areas of the city that should be extremely pedestrian friendly by this point.

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To make any city walkable, you need to first have a really great public transit system to encourage people to get out of their cars to begin with, then develop around that system (be it rail or bus). Tightly cluster the retail and office around the stops. Continue by having wide and well lit sidewalks and crosswalks, enforcement by police, and just an overall appealing look (all of wich were stated in the above posts). Brick sidewalks look the best in my opinion (I.E. Hillsboro Village) but as long as it doesnt look like you're walking through the projects, people wouldnt really care much.

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these are pretty generic, but work well in big cities.

i think more dense development including retail, condos, and jobs will help

and street design that is more pedestrian friendly

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1) First and foremost I cant for the life of me figure out why they put street lights poles, benches, and other assorted poles right in the middle of the sidewalk. Some of these sidewalks around Nashville are like obstacle courses. I'm not sure what they were thinking when they were building the sidewalks or the benches, whichever one may have came first.

2) Neighborhoods like the Nations in West Nashville have a good bit of foot traffic and very little sidewalks, people have to walk in the streets. I would have like to seen some of the money that was wasted on Bill Purcells sidewalk to nowhere program be spent in areas like this. Many of the sidewalks between downtown and Nashville West on Charlotte Pike are in desperate need of repair.

3) I would like to see crosswalks become more visible to motorists in high traffic areas. I think something as simple as a nice reflective design would be relatively inexpensive and help out a lot.

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Aren't sidewalks and roads the two most expensive things to build and maintain as far as infastructor goes? I know that they're very expensive regardless...

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1) Add crosswalks and pedestrian signals crossing over I 40 on Church, Broadway, and Demonbreun.

I have always thought there needs to be some kinda pedestrian bridge over the interstate on at least one of these. Most likely Demonbreun.. or possibly Church. But Demonbreun is being branded by the city as the 'Music City Mile'... with the intention of having a sidewalk of stars all the way to the Roundabout... but obviously, the interstate poses a huge issue with this being a walkable star-filled sidewalk. Walking across this intersection is a death-defying maneuver, no doubt.

Broadway does actually have the countdown timers now, I believe. But its still sorta scary.

To make any city walkable, you need to first have a really great public transit system to encourage people to get out of their cars to begin with

I completely agree with this... Good transit is a must. Obviously rail would be ideal.. but if we must stick with buses for now.. I think a trolley (or technically, fake trolley bus) system might have some potential in 'select' areas... it might be more likely to be used by those who see the 'city bus stigma'. Not only that, but it would be distinguishable from the city buses.. in that you could designate the trolley to only go to certain bus stops in high traffic areas (ala a subway system might do), and let the regular city buses stop like they already do now.

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How about restoring streets like Magnolia Blvd. to their original grid. It feels like six lanes of desert when you try to walk across it.

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Have studies been done to determine the routes most travelled by pedestrians? I think walkability can be planned like driveability; first identify main arteries and important links to other areas of town and concentrate on making those pedestiran friendly. Then, move on to less traveled streets that feed the more walked ones, etc. From the above posts, it seems some obvious connections lack the proper infrastructure.

Another thought is to ask the mayor to include pedestrian access studies and sidewalk/crosswalk improvement plans as part of downtown projects like the symphony hall and the convention center or a future shopping district. Require the developer to identify pedestrian access points and routes, make improvements, and implement new walks, bridges and signals as required to safely bring pedestrians to the planned facility from a mile out in all directions. After only a few such projects, one would see alot of improvement overall because the pedestrian access improvements would begin to intermingle.

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Thought I should also mention this in this thread as well...

I was in Dallas last weekend... and believe it or not, I had no idea about this before going there... but the Trolley system idea that I had in mind for Nashville was actually in place in Uptown Dallas... in the form of a real streetcar.

Still, I think this could easily be mimicked by using Franklin's idea of Trolley buses... and would probably be quite popular, in my opinion.

The Dallas Uptown trolley is completely free to ride, and stops at many of the popular & trendy spots around the city... here's a link: Uptown Trolley

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Ok, everytime I come home I arrive off I-24 and Harding Place. My parents live in between I-65 and I-24 off Harding Place. I always see people walking down this dangerous road, and it still shocks me that no one has put a side walk down this road! People are forced to walk in people's yards or on the teeny-tiny shoulder. Has anyone else experienced this and why has the city not put a sidewalk through this area?

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I have walked this area before, and it has to be one of the most unsafe areas of town to walk in. I have no idea what the powers that be in Metro are doing to solve any of these problems. They spent millions making existing sidewalks wheelchair accessible in areas that you never see a person in a wheel chair and will not spend a dime where folks actually walk.

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Funny that this topic was brought back up recently..

I went to the 4th of July fireworks tonight.. walked to the riverfront from the Gulch, where I live. On the way back.. going down Broadway.. the police had almost every stoplight on Broadway blinking yellow, so that cars could easily make their way to the interstate.

There were a few strategic stoplights that were not blinking, such as 8th ave. However, I was walking on the north side of Broadway, and by the time it dawned on me that all the stoplights were blinking yellow, I was already at 10th.. it was at this time that I realized... there's NO FREAKING WAY i'm getting across Broadway right now. Of course, I then realized that I could make a right on 12th and go around the Tennessean, and back down 11th to the Gulch this way.

Still, it got me thinking of how unbelievably un-pedestrian friendly this city can be!!!!! At the time that I realized that I needed to cross Broadway, but had no possible way to do so (without going 3 blocks out of my way in one direction or another and/or risking my life) I was pretty pissed off.

My first thought was.. as soon as I get home, i'm shooting an email off to the mayor.. thats how pissed I was, hah. I am still considering doing so.. but am not really sure if it would do any good or not??

At a time when the city is trying so hard to revitalize downtown and create nice walkable communities.. metro is doing its part to cater to the automobile!

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I have mentioned my area several times, but feel the need to again. I live on Bell Rd. west of I-24. I work on Bell Rd. east of I-24. I live 1.2 miles from my job. Yet i have to drive every day. Crossing under 24 and the parallel railroad tracks is a death defying maneuver. No sidewalk with no shoulder. Your only option to walk or bike this interchange is IN the street with fast moving traffic, in a shaded tunnel. I tried it twice, and decided it's not worth my life. Motorist seem annoyed by people attempting so, and typically don't slow down.

But, it's a working class area with no resident politicians, so who cares.

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Bringing this thread back from the dead. Some new overhead signs with flashing lights were installed on Broadway near the interstate on/off ramps at the Exxon gas station for people crossing in the crosswalks. Hopefully the signs will remind people to be aware.

Pedestrians still hesitant to use new crossway

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"1) Add crosswalks and pedestrian signals crossing over I 40 on Church, Broadway, and Demonbreun." -smeagolsfree

I couldn't agree about this more. I think it is an easy solution.

1. "Mark" pedestrian lanes in a high visibility crosswalk. There are many architecturally pleasing ways to do this such as paint or stamped concrete.

2. Light timing. Lights can either give pedestrians a "grace period" (5-10 seconds contingent upon a button being pushed), or have an automatic delay built in (assuming people will be there every time).

-this can be done on the cheap!!!

"the police had almost every stoplight on Broadway blinking yellow, so that cars could easily make their way to the interstate...it got me thinking of how unbelievably un-pedestrian friendly this city can be!!!!! At the time that I realized that I needed to cross Broadway, but had no possible way to do so" -Jice

This has frustrated me also. Often! I leave hockey games, and they seem more concerned about cars hitting each other than pedestrians. I say to let the lights cycle as normal. It will help the suburban drivers learn how to drive downtown as well as it will the suburban walkers learn how to walk downtown. Not to mention give the rest of us a fighting chance!

It seems the city wants people to get out quickly. Shouldn't they want people to be forced to "wait it out" and spend a few more bucks downtown?

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That crosswalk at the Tennessean has always seemed oddly placed to me. I'm glad they added a blinking light.. but I can totally understand why people would continue to be reluctant to use it.

On one side, there's oncoming traffic coming over the bridge from lower broadway.. basically a block and a half of no stoplights where cars can continue to accelerate.

On the other side is traffic just getting off the interstate.. also a scary situation.

The interstate is just more or less a pedestrian nightmare. I'm not sure what needs to be done, but something...

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I think the biggest goal to make the city walkable should be to make it more feasible and pleasant to walk from the CBD/SoBro to the Gulch and across the interstate. I repeat - we need a pedestrian bridge from the convention center to the Gulch.

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this seems like a great idea for connecting two areas that will be developed in the coming years...are there any plans floating around to do this? producer, any inside scoop?

I think the biggest goal to make the city walkable should be to make it more feasible and pleasant to walk from the CBD/SoBro to the Gulch and across the interstate. I repeat - we need a pedestrian bridge from the convention center to the Gulch.

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This is often such an overlooked stretch of roadway, but perhaps one of the most used by pedestrians. The residential density is thick and the demographics themselves spell a lesser level of car ownership. This is certainly a long time coming, and a most welcome bit of news.

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