How to Fix Our Impossible Crossings: Vision Zero Speaker Series Continues

The second event in our Vision Zero Speaker Series focused on intersection and crosswalk design.

Over 150 people registered and over 100 people "Zoomed" into the second event in our Vision Zero Speaker Series focused on intersection and crosswalk design. You can watch a recording of it on our YouTube Channel.

We started off with an overview of Nashville’s most dangerous intersections for pedestrians, what we call Nashville’s "Impossible Crossings." Nora began her presentation with a moment of silence to honor the three pedestrians killed in the 10 days before this event. 15 pedestrians have been killed during the first six months of 2020, compared to 12 in 2019 during this same period. 2019 was the most deadly year on record for pedestrians in Nashville. We know that 80% of all pedestrians killed in Nashville are killed on state-controlled arterial streets, streets like our “pikes,” streets with four or more lanes, speed limits over 30 mph and few safe pedestrian crossings. Learn more about Nashville's Impossible Crossings here

Then we heard from Dr. Richard Nassi, Ann Chanecka, and Gabe Thum from Tucson about their widespread adoption of HAWK signals (also known as the pedestrian hybrid beacon) and how it has made a difference for pedestrian safety. The HAWK signal is a button-activated flashing yellow light that then turns to a steady red light, placed next to a crosswalk. It has the highest level of crash reduction (about 70%) after implementation than any other pedestrian safety device and an average of 97% driver compliance and 91% pedestrian compliance. Watch this video to learn more about how HAWKs work. View Dr. Nassi's full presentation hereWe currently do not have any HAWKs in Nashville. HAWK signals can be similar in cost to the flashing yellow beacon that we do have here in Nashville. And in Tucson, they have even been able to do some cost sharing with private business and school districts. Read about the criteria used by Tucson to prioritize which intersections received HAWKs here.

We then heard from a panel of local experts, Peter Kauffmann of Barge Design Solutions, Jorge Riveros of Metro Nashville Public Works and Daniel McDonell of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Daniel said it best when asked why we don’t have any HAWKs in Nashville, “we haven’t done it before, because we haven’t done it before.” It is definitely time to change that! Jorge Riveros, Metro Nashville Public Works new Chief Engineer, spent time in Tucson and then Austin, two cities where HAWKs are widely used, before joining the team at Metro Public Works six weeks ago. Jorge has extensive experience in HAWK implementation and said he is very much looking forward to supporting the implementation of HAWKs in Nashville in coordination with TDOT.

Panelists then answered a number of questions from the audience. If there wasn’t time for your question to be answered or if you have any additional questions, please reach out to us! 

The next event in our Vision Zero Speaker Series is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28th at 9AM. Make sure you sign up for our emails or follow us on social media so you get the details.