The Nashville Transportation Plan (the Plan) provides the framework for future transportation projects for the region. Although the Plan is intended to be long term, the initial funding strategy for this plan affects a small number of projects. The next two images below are from the Plan and gives a snapshot of initial projects. All things considered; it is still a good step in the right direction towards building a better transportation network. Keep in mind, however, that this post is focused on sidewalks and will address other transit priorities in the coming days.
Navigating the Plan
I will use this post as an example of how to navigate the Plan, using the Nations neighborhood as an example. As a general note, the Plan should not be viewed as comprehensive; it is more of an abridged version of the previous ‘Nashville Next Plan’ as well as other community plans. In order to figure out what sidewalks were included & how they were implemented for the Nations, I had to read through the following:
- The Metro Nashville Transportation Plan (December 2020)
- Nashville Interactive Sidewalk Tracker
- Nashville Next Plan (Last Amended 2017)
- West Nashville Community Plan (Last Amended 2017)
- Charlotte Ave Corridor Study (Last Amended 2018)
- Metro Nashville Community Transportation Plan Tracker
The image below is a figure from the Nashville Next Plan from 2017.
The plan itself is broken up into two parts: (1) 100 pages of mostly text with some graphics and (2) 248 pages of appendix. Think of this plan as the summary of all previous plans adopted since 2017. However, if you were not part of this engagement period, it is challenging to follow. That is, without spending hours of time researching to figure it out. Objectively, my assessment is that the Plan is written for those who already know what should be in it. As it does not provide easy-to-follow references to background information. Additionally, the lack of design concepts, outdated figures, & overall presentation, detracts from the level of effort that may have gone into its development.
As an example, these are the only two design figures in the first 100 pages of the 2020 Plan.
Sidewalk Priority Network vs. Projects for The Nations
In the Appendix, there is a list of each Councilmember’s Projects. However, there are no illustrations, community plans, or references to them. The snapshot below shows some of the Priorities for Council District 20 from the Plan.
The implementation strategy for these Projects is not clear, given how the document is written. For instance, it states the following regarding the Projects:
- Sidewalk Priority Network – 2 Projects
- However, it then lists 13 individual Projects vs the 2 Projects Stated
- Followed by 4 Projects underway with an “*”
Here is the Priority Network list extracted specifically for the Nations. This is for Councilmember Mary Carolyn Rogers, District 20:
- Tennessee Ave – 0.5 Miles
- Fill In Gaps on 51st Ave – 1,480 feet
- Morrow Rd. (from Georgia Ave. to Tennessee Ave.) 2,575 ft
- *James Ave. (Robertson Ave. to Morrow Rd.) design complete; ROW 2021
- 46th Ave. N. (from Georgia Ave. to Michigan Ave.) 1,200 ft.
I created the following graphics to give a more detailed look at the 5 Sidewalk Projects in the Priority Network for the Nations. This is based on my own recent survey of existing conditions.
What’s Not Cleary Defined In The Plan.
It is equally important to note the number of unfinished sidewalks not included in the list of Priorities. To accomplish this, I did a survey of sidewalks east of 51st Avenue North. I then created the map below to give an example of how many unfinished sidewalks remain east of this street. Please note that the unfinished sidewalks are represented in yellow. It’s not clear from the Plan when or if these are to be installed.
Although the plan is now approved, there is still a lot of engagement needed. It’s my hope that this post would further outreach and engagement efforts by Metro Nashville. This is especially true for areas like the Nations that have had cardinal demographic changes and land-use shifts. I’ve been told by several long time Nashville Residents that the Nations from 2015 and 2020 are significantly different. Given that reality, this plan may not equitably represent a large share of recent tax-paying residents.
What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. Be sure to share and follow NashvilleNowNext.com for more updates!
Thanks for this detailed analysis and the great diagrams! As a resident of the Nations myself, I’ve been excited to see some new sidewalks finally getting installed, though the recent effort on Morrow Rd left the gap between Kentucky and Tennessee where the going gets a little tougher. There’s also still a dearth of painted crosswalks, and the ones that exist are sometimes ridiculous, like the one at Morrow across Tennessee where there is no curb cut and giant utility pole on one end. It still mystifies me why they didn’t just require developers to build new sidewalks while the majority of the neighborhood got redeveloped (rather than putting money into some sidewalk fund as a way out or whatever ended up happening).
I was going to do an update of this pretty soon, I just wanted to give them time. Walking in the Nations can sometimes be stressful, especially with my dog and bad sight lines. I’ve been seeing sidewalks going in as well so its good to see progress.