Almost all neighborhoods are “walkable” to a certain degree, but in Nashville most are NOT safely or enjoyably walkable. If you live in District 34, can you safely walk to Radnor Lake or the Warner Parks? Probably not. Can you safely walk to the major artery where a transit line runs? Probably not. And if you can make it there, are you “rewarded” for your effort by standing in a ditch to wait for the bus? Probably.
Nashville has an inappropriately low level of infrastructure investment in neighborhoods. We already have many neighborhoods that are sufficiently dense, that have been pleading (for many years) for sidewalks on their “collector” streets to safely connect them to adjacent commercial areas, parks, schools, and transit. Those neighborhoods should be served whether or not they choose to become more dense. In District 34, neighbors with .45 acres or less are our “denser neighborhoods.” My neighborhood has 300+ households within a half mile of restaurants, shops, a major park, a major community/tourist destination, and a transit line, but ZERO walkable infrastructure except around one townhouse infill project built 8+ years ago. It is completely illogical. Saying that more density will bring more walkability is a backwards conversation. Let’s improve the Sidewalk Priority Index and direct more funding to sidewalks. Let’s make smart, targeted sidewalk investments improving what we already have, and filling in gaps, both large and small, in the sidewalk network. We can and should build mixed-use walkable areas and transit-oriented development in strategic locations all over Nashville. There are opportunities for strategic infill, where neighbors support it, closer to major arteries and commercial areas, but “Density” should look different for every neighborhood.
To view my comprehensive answers from the Walk/Bike Nashville candidate survey, click here.