Council Bill 2016-493, aka the Sidewalk Bill, continues to advance! The bill will before the Metro Planning Commission on March 23rd and (hopefully) before Council on April 4. This bill will require significantly more sidewalks be built by our development community, an essential part of expanding our network. Currently only 37% of streets in our city have sidewalks. In order for Nashville to truly be a more walkable and livable place we need everyone -- both metro and private developers -- to work together to fill the many gaps in our sidewalk network.
Sponsoring Councilwoman Angie Henderson has been busy meeting with all stakeholders and made some edits to the original language. Review the new text here.
What this Bill Does
- Requires single and two-family residential developments in the Urban Zoning Overlay, on Major Streets and near Nashville Next centers (denser areas) to either build sidewalks or contribute to the development of sidewalks in that region of the city (Pedestrian Benefit Zone)
- Requires commercial and multi-family developments in urban areas and on major streets to build sidewalks.
- Requires those contributing money, rather than building sidewalks, to also dedicate easements for future sidewalks.
- Creates common sense parameters to ensure the best possible sidewalks are designed and built.
- Changes Pedestrian Benefit Zones to better reflect Nashville Next.
How you Can Support this Bill
- Write to the Planning Commisioners at firstname.lastname@example.org by March 22 expressing your support for 2016-493.
- Join us at the Planning Commission on March 23 at 4pm at Sonny West Conference Center (700 Second Avenue South). We need to show support by having the room packed with sidewalk supporters!
- Contact your council member to either ask them to support the bill or thank them for co-sponsor (co-sponsors currently are: Angie Henderson, Freddie O'Connell, Russ Pulley, Jeremy Elrod, Burkley Allen, Bob Mendes, Nancy VanReece, Dave Rosenberg, Brett Withers, Karen Johnson, Jacobia Dowell, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Anthony Davis, Kevin Rhoten, Colby Sledge, Jeff Syracuse, Jim Shulman, Sharon Hurt, Kathleen Murphy, Tanaka Vercher)
- Spread the word. Share this info with friends and family!
- Mark your calendars for April 4th Council hearing.
Template Email to Planning Commission:
Dear Planning Commissioners,
I am writing to ask you to support council bill 2016-493, which would change requirements for the provision of sidewalks during development in our urban areas and along transit corridors.
Nashville desperately needs more sidewalks. According to the WalkNBike Plan only 37% of streets currently have pedestrian accommodations. As our city grows, so do our traffic and health challenges. It is essential that as a community we invest in more walkable neighborhoods. This is especially true in our neighborhoods that are becoming denser and more reliant on walking, biking and transit.
Insert personal comments on why walking is important to you.
Our historic sidewalk network was largely built through residential and commercial developments. When the policy was changed many decades ago to remove the requirement for sidewalks, our walking infrastructure began to fall farther and farther behind. Metro Nashville cannot fill this gap alone. The WalkNBike report estimates that at current Metro spending levels, just meeting the highest priority sidewalk need will take 20 years. Sidewalks always have, and always will, require a team effort. Bill 2016-493 is a fair and reasonable approach to ensuring we are all working towards a more walkable Nashville.
Thank you for your consideration.
Some Lingo Defined
- Urban Zoning Overlay: Refers to the historic Metro boundaries, this mostly includes the inside of I-440, East Nashville, and the nations. See a map here.
- Nashville Next: Nashville general plan to govern zoning and planning, completed in 2016. See here.
- Nashville Next Centers: The centers are areas identified in Nashville Next as future or current urban hubs (think downtown, Hillsboro Village, Madison). Read here about the centers.
- Major and Collector Street Plan (MCSP): Design guidelines for our larger roads. You can see the guidelines here and an interactive map here.
- WalkNBike Plan: Nashville's nearly complete Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways, which you can see here.