$30 Million Allocated for Nashville Sidewalks to Improve Pedestrian Safety
18 pedestrians died in accidents with motor vehicles in 2015 in Nashville, and 13 of those fatalities occurred when pedestrians were outside of crosswalks.
To reduce the number of pedestrian fatalities and injuries, Metro Nashville recently budgeted $30 million toward improving sidewalks throughout the city.
WKRN.com reports that Mayor Megan Barry is prioritizing sidewalks in areas that connect children to their schools and residents to transit options, such as MTA bus stops. In addition, city council members are telling the public works department where sidewalks are needed the most.
To streamline the process, the city is updating its overall strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways, and the project is expected to be completed and ready for implementation by the end of the year.
A local resident told reporters that her vehicle recently broke down and she takes an MTA bus to get to work. However, she must walk two miles just to get to the bus stop. During her commute to the bus stop, she says that drivers often don’t see her on the side of the road and she has had close calls where vehicles nearly hit her.
Residents who know of locations that need sidewalks and sidewalk repairs are encouraged to contact their local city council members and the Nashville Public Works Department.
What Are Benefits of Sidewalks and Paved Shoulders?
Although most Nashville residents commute by vehicle, there are a sizeable number of residents who get around town on foot. Regardless of the length of their trips, pedestrians are much safer when traveling through residential and urban areas when they have access to sidewalks or even paved shoulders.
The Federal Highway Administration published data that shows the benefits of sidewalks and paved shoulders for pedestrians, which include:
- Roads with sidewalks are half as likely to have pedestrian accidents.
When a road is upgraded to include sidewalks, the risk of a pedestrian accident occurring is cut in half.
- Sidewalks encourage recreational walking.
People who have access to sidewalks are more likely to get out and walk for recreational purposes. Walking for 30 minutes to one hour per day can help improve the health and well-being of individuals and entire communities.
- Sidewalks help reduce potential slowdowns and congestion caused by pedestrians.
Pedestrians who are forced to walk in or near a roadway are not only at risk of being struck by vehicles, but they can also lead to traffic slowdowns as drivers are forced to reduce their speed and wait to pass. When pedestrians are confined to sidewalks, traffic can flow normally.
- Paved shoulders reduce pedestrian accident risks by 71 percent.
Pedestrians are most at risk when they walk on roadways that don’t even have paved shoulders. On those roadways, pedestrians are often forced to walk extremely close to traffic, putting them in harm’s way. When a road is upgraded to include a paved shoulder, the risk that a pedestrian will be struck by a vehicle decreases by 71 percent.
- Sidewalks can reduce 88 percent of “walking along roadway” accidents.
Although most pedestrian accidents occur when people cross roadways or walk into streets, around eight percent of pedestrian deaths occur when people are walking along a roadway. Studies show that simply building sidewalks can reduce the number of “walking along roadway” fatalities by 88 percent.
If you frequently walk for exercise or just to get around town, it’s important that you plan a route that provides as much access to sidewalks and paved shoulders as possible. If you live in an area that doesn’t have sidewalks or paved shoulders, always put as much distance between yourself and the roadway as possible and consider alternate methods of transportation. In addition, you should also always walk facing oncoming traffic to make yourself more visible and better prepare yourself to avoid a potential accident.
Were you or someone you know recently injured in a pedestrian accident caused by a negligent driver? If so, the Nashville pedestrian accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law want to speak with you. We have more than two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims like you, and we know what it takes to win. Get in touch with us today by dialing (615) 200-1111 or completing a free online consultation form.