Nolensville Numbers Prove Positive!

Walk Bike Nashville staff and volunteers spent three days at the Nolensville Pike and Welshwood Drive interesection counting the behavior of pedestrians and recording the results. We held four, two-hour shifts each day to track pedestrians that crossed Nolensville Pike, measuring three criteria: did the pedestrian use the installed crosswalk, did they utilize the button to signal to cars they are crossing and were they a transit rider.

During the time shifts over three days, we recorded 643 pedestrians in total that crossed Nolensville Pike. Other results include:

  • 88%, 568 pedestrians, used the installed crosswalk to cross Nolensville Pike
  • 64%, 297 pedestrians, used the button to signal to cars they were crossing
    • Note: The pole and button on the east side of the crosswalk (beside WalMart) were not there. The pole has been hit by a car and has not yet been repaired. We indicated a “yes” when a pedestrian pushed the button in the median of the crosswalk; though, the missing button could have some influence on why some pedestrians did not use the signal when crossing from the east side.
  • 55% of the pedestrians that crossed Nolensville Pike were transit riders
    • Note: Transit ridership was more difficult to track, especially if a person did not immediately get on or off transit from using the crosswalk.

We worked with TDOT to initiate this data count. We can see through the data that the majority of pedestrians used the infrastructure provided for them at this intersection. We know that installing quality pedestrian infrastructure creates a more safe street for all road users, and we can see that a large majority of users in this study crossed Nolensville Pike at the Welshwood Drive crosswalk. Also, we see that over half of the pedestrians crossing Nolensville Pike were transit riders. This shows a link between pedestrians and transit riders, particularly on our pikes.

TDOT is considering replacing this crosswalk with a traffic signal. We believe the mid-block crossing is actually more effective because pedestrians are able to cross when desired with the current installation. With a traffic signal, pedestrians will have to wait for a light cycle to cross Nolensville Pike rather than immediately using the crosswalk on demand.  

Since this crosswalk was installed in December 2017, there have been no pedestrians fatalities. Prior to the crosswalk installation, there were six pedestrian deaths in six years at this intersection. There have been two pedestrians injured in crashes in 2018; however, we still believe this crosswalk is largely a success and something that should be replicated in other parts of our city.

We would like to see more crosswalks like this one installed at our other high pedestrian crash intersections. This crosswalk design, with raised curbs, bollards, lighting to signal pedestrian crossing and a median refuge island is relatively inexpensive for the city/state to install. Our Impossible Crossings Report highlights the most dangerous intersections in Nashville, many of which could be made more safe with a quality crosswalk. If you would like to know more about our Impossible Crossing Campaign or sign our petition, you may do so here.

We plan to revisit the intersection to also analyze car driver behavior. We want to measure car speeds through this intersection to determine if drivers slow down while passing through. We will also be observing if cars follow the law to yield to pedestrians that are within the crosswalk.

We want to thank TDOT for their partnership in this study, and we also want to thank our volunteers who helped us collect the data!

Other notes about the data count:

  • The data was collected January 17th - 19th, 2019, with shifts from 7-9am, 11:30am-1:30pm, 2-4pm and 4:30-6:30pm
  • The weather ranged from the upper 30’s to upper 40’s for all of the shifts. Each day was overcast, and three of the twelve shifts had light to heavy rain
  • There were five bicyclists included in the count. Four of the five bicyclists used the crosswalk to cross Nolensville Pike.
  • One volunteer spoke with several pedestrians, and these are their suggestions for improvements for this intersection:
    • Have police enforcement of vehicle speed limits
    • Have advance warning flashing lights for pedestrian crossing
    • Reduce speed limit to 30mph on Nolensville from Haywood Ln to Captain D’s (near Allied Drive)