Rows of shoes — 32 pairs in all — were displayed in Nashville’s city hall on Saturday morning to honor the pedestrians who died in 2019. It was the city’s deadliest year on record for pedestrians.
For about 7 minutes, members of the Metro Council recited each victim’s name and the precise location of the fatal strike.
“These are not only tragic deaths, but they’re also extremely traumatic and unexpected for all of the people left behind,” said Lindsey Ganson, director of advocacy for the nonprofit Walk Bike Nashville.
A tragic symbol of Nashville moving in the wrong direction from #VisionZero with pedestrian fatalities reaching a historic high in 2019.
— Freddie O'Connell (@freddieoconnell) January 18, 2020
In response to the dangerous year, Mayor John Cooper announced he’ll pursue a policy known as “Vision Zero” to end driving and pedestrian fatalities.
“One of the most substantive ways that the city of Nashville can honor their memories is to make a lasting and effective change to our transportation infrastructure, and a change that protects all our residents,” Cooper said.
He’s not the first Nashville mayor to make such a commitment, but the Vision Zero movement has advanced in other cities.
Cooper says Nashville leaders will collect data to guide how to improve roadway infrastructure, push for lower speed limits, take input from the community, and set a timeline for reaching zero roadway deaths.
I'm proud to announce my administration's commitment to Vision Zero, a strategy that will seek to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries in Nashville and Davidson County. This is an important commitment for our city… pic.twitter.com/M0pHIRN0Cb
— Mayor John Cooper (@JohnCooper4Nash) January 18, 2020
He also vowed to be honest about progress and challenges in lowering fatalities.
Cooper noted that his forthcoming transportation plan will prioritize changes to 14 areas that are known to be dangerous to walkers and bikers. Those include:
- Church Street between 15th Avenue North and 16th Avenue North
- Clarksville Pike between Buena Vista Pike and Cliff Drive
- Gallatin Pike between Eastland and Chickamauga avenues.
Councilwoman Joy Styles, who represents the Antioch area, noted her district ranked second for pedestrian deaths last year.
“We actually have four of the most dangerous intersections in the entire county,” she said, “so infrastructure is an imperative need going forward.”