One consequence of Nashville’s construction boom: Displaced (and grumpy) pedestrians. As many as a dozen sidewalks at a time have been closed recently near downtown construction sites.
This summer, championed by Walk Bike Nashville, pedestrians have started calling out what they see as unnecessary interference by posting photos to social media and using the hashtag #DontBlockMyWalk (while suggesting sending messages directly to city officials and council members as well).
“These closures push pedestrians to cross the street, jaywalk, backtrack or walk in the road,” the non-profit
wrote in a blog post announcing its campaign.
While they may not get their sidewalks back through social media, activists also have been calling attention to measures that construction crews could take to be more accommodating.
They suggest that scaffolding to cover sidewalks, or closing stretches of traffic lanes and shifting pedestrians there, would make more sense. And they’ve raised questions about the impact on travel for persons with disabilities.
As it stands, a
work crew can apply to Metro Public Works to close a sidewalk instead of giving pedestrians an alternate route. It costs $55 for up to five days closed and $10 per day after that. The penalty for not properly applying for a closure, or improper signage or other violations, is $165, and $30 for each day after the first five.
Judging by the response from contractors, the fee has been preferable.
A survey by Walk Bike Nashville in March found that 88 percent of roadways next to construction sites were open to vehicle traffic while 80 percent of adjacent sidewalks were closed.
There’s a chance some of those closed routes will appear during a walk on Friday morning that kicks off Walk Nashville Month (the local version of a national effort in October).
Vice Mayor David Briley and other officials will lead an educational 1.9-mile pedestrian safety walk starting at 7:30 a.m. at Public Square. They plan to discuss construction zones, pedestrian safety efforts on Lower Broadway and other city street initiatives.
Other Walk Nashville Month events include:
* Oct. 5: Walk Bike Ambassador Orientation
* Oct. 14: Walk To School Day, with 62 schools and as many as 15,000 people registered.
* Oct. 21: Walk to Lunch Day at the Nashville Farmers’ Market.
A full list of the month’s events is available at