Last night Metro Council passed the ordinance to put Let's Move Nashville, our city's Transportation Plan on the ballot for a May 1 referendum. We've spent the last several months pouring over the plan, and here's what we think.
Let's Move Nashville isn't perfect, but its passage is a critical step towards making our city more walkable and bikeable.
We still have questions about details of the Plan, but overall it supports our mission directly through funding much needed walking and biking infrastructure, and indirectly through supporting street design and land use that prioritize people, not cars.
In particular, Let's Move Nashville presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to make major investments in sidewalks and crosswalks on our most deadly transit corridors: Gallatin, Murfreesboro and Nolensville, which combined account for nearly a third of all pedestrian fatalities in Nashville.
We need to keep moving forward. Let's Move Nashville lays out a vision for a transportation system that provides options. It's up to us to determine whether or not that reality comes to place. Our voices are needed not just on May 1st, but hopefully for years to come to ensure the projects outlined in this Plan are truly walkable, bikeable and equitable.
- Saving Lives: Our city pays a huge cost – in terms of lives lost and dollars spent – on traffic fatalities and injuries. In 2017 alone 23 people were killed walking. This is unacceptable. The Transportation Plan presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebuild our most dangerous corridors to ensure they are safe for people walking.
- Supporting Walkable Developments: To be truly walkable, a neighborhood must be compact enough to allow for the useful walk. Transit is essential to supporting compact, walkable neighborhoods and reducing car-based sprawl.
- Equitable Access: To access most jobs and houses in Nashville today you have to own a car. The Transportation Plan will provide transportation choices to a wider variety of Nashvillians by investing in buses, light-rail, Access Ride, walking, and bicycling.
- Planning for Growth: Our city is growing, but our roads are at capacity. In order to accommodate that growth while also providing affordable living we must invest in other ways to get around. The plan focuses on Complete Streets that accommodate transit, walking and parallel bikeways.
- Affordable Living: Affordability isn’t just about housing costs. The average Nashville household spends $12,000 or 22% of their income on transportation each year. The Transportation Plan reduces the transportation burden for families by providing options, offers free or reduced fares to our most vulnerable residents, and will allow for affordable housing investments along transit corridors.
- Dedicated, long-term funding for alternative transportation: The infrastructure investments laid out in the Transportation Plan will provide our city’s first dedicated source of funding for non-automobile transportation. This is an unparalleled opportunity to expand the impact of our advocacy and ensure walking and bicycling are included in major infrastructure projects. The plan is flexible on design, so we can work to ensure the projects focus on safe and complete streets. But only if it is approved!
- We cannot afford to wait: Anyone who walks, rides a bike or takes the bus in our city knows we have a lot of work to do to make our city safer and more accessible. We cannot wait to get serious about funding and building a better transportation system. This is a chance we cannot miss.