Thursday, June 28, 2018

Walk Bike Die

Last night I discovered the new plans (well the most recent as that changes like the wind) for the MLS Stadium down the road from my home.   They now want to add a hotel, an apartment unit and retail in addition to the stadium.   There are two major roads leading to said future stadium, now a dilapidated fairgrounds, and both are crossed by train tracks which are used and used often.  CSX owns the tracks and in turn block the intersections often for hours at a time, oddly most often during prime peak hours use in the a.m. and p.m.  There is one bus to service the area and the other bus that does go by is available week days only and only during certain times.  The area is largely residential and gentrifying and of course has no sidewalks nor crosswalks to enable pedestrian traffic that currently the two other stadiums in Nashville do at least have.

Right now the transit situation is in limbo. Irony that the transit bill failed and now the MTA has decided to go ahead to remodel the downtown singular transit station, replace buses and in turn alter lines and reduce service while the upgrades are taking place.  The times to do such is during 2-6 pm, prime commute time as most Government employees begin leaving work at 3:15 to 3:45 and the peak commute time starts at 4 pm.  Perfect time to reduce express bus services and options to travel in the city, make connections that are already challenging and all while having a massive heat outbreak with temps over 100 degrees during the same time frame.  Good planning! And it is why I rent cars with this as it is not safe to wait for buses let alone walk in this heat.  But I live close to the center of town which enables me to get to where I need to be fairly easily but that is not the case for most who work in the core of the city.   This is just one of many problems facing Nashville. 

Add to this the rising cost of housing that has not kept up with wages, but again the Chamber has said the low available jobs, the supposed 100 people a day moving here (a number pulled out of an ass) has enabled them to say wages can remain low as competition for said jobs are high. Add to this that the MEME's (as I call Millennial morons) change jobs at an average of 24 months which high turnover enables employers to keep wages stagnant as they do not need to negotiate nor provide wage increases for performance over time.  They know it all the MEME's!

Yesterday I went into another new hotel to go to the Stumptown coffee place they have inside.  A nice 20 y/o girl has moved here from Chicago and picked the most remote area serviced by transit, Hermitage, in where to live.  She has no car and in turn is used to the robust L that services the city and of course the walkablity that enables those to access buses and other means of transit.  Given the refurbishment of the transit station (clerks are in a refurbished container, I kid not) it has made it impossible for her to figure out her transit options.  She was at work, a man with a baby who was screaming was inside and I suspect remaining to listen to the conversation, made it difficult for me to explain that yes she has a train option that does again only run during the week during limited hours and in turn takes no time and is literally just at Riverfront Station a matter of a 5 minute walk from where we were.  She had no idea about this service or her options as well transit is a hot mess here but if you are willing to sit down and figure out options it is possible.  It is why I am particular about where I work and in turn getting there in the morning may be a combo Bus and Uber but walking, varying bus routes are truly what I am looking for as I don't have the haste that needs a singular route. 

I have written about the failure by Nashville to have genuine urban planning and once again the City t hired someone who has been here for two years and yet this is a gig that has been on the carousel from hell, three planners in three years.   Again that is a statement that there is a problem here.  Who does this woman report to? And again what is her role?  Hell if I know even the Council wondered about this.  Well get in line.  A city well running into the red, the public schools awaiting an audit with contracts in question and signed without board approval. Nothing new as the City Hospital is facing scandal after scandals for the same.  So the Mayor too is cleaning house and yesterday the  City financial officer who saw both the boon and the bust has "elected" to leave his vaunted place in the Mayoral office after a decade of serving his master-s.  The Mayor is only one of the many players on this board game.  Nashville Scene noted that this man who is not elected wields immense power and in turn offers little to no transparency when it comes to decision making.  That is the private sector in public office, note the current office holder and his ranting, raving and rambling.  Hard to go from  a closed door where the crazy is behind it versus stepping out in front of it into the light.   Heard of McKinsey?  Well that is another like Goldman Sachs that revolves through said doors in Governments across the globe.  Beware of Consultants as they are like Attorney's as it is about billable hours not about solutions and resolutions to a problem.   Our School district is awash with them and that may explain the budget shortfall. 

The reality is that while Nashville brags and postures itself in some delusional grandeur of a city of import the City is a walking dump.  And you cannot walk here it is not safe.  The drivers go like bats out of hell and the reality is that they are simply unaccustomed to pedestrians and cyclists.  The man who hit a cyclist on a rural road (all caught on camera) is back in the news for being a drunk  and he is not alone in the endless stories about similar accidents.  

This is another list that the area made along with 35th best place to race a child.  Wow we were that high up the list?  Clearly that is wrong.  The reality is Nashville is a 20th Century city being shoved into the 21st Century with no one knowing what the fuck they are doing.  It shows. 

Pedestrian fatalities up in Tennessee's largest cities
Mike Reicher, Nashville Tennessean June 28, 2018

More people have been killed walking the streets of Tennessee's largest cities in recent years, reflecting the national uptick in pedestrian fatalities.

Memphis, which nearly doubled its number of deaths over six years, ranks among the top 25 large cities for its fatality rate from 2012 to 2016, according to a USA TODAY Network analysis of federal safety data. Nashville, number 70 on the list (out of 173 cities with populations greater than 100,000), saw a dramatic spike last year, but 2018 is looking better. Knoxville ranked 47th.
An elderly female pedestrian was hit by a teenager driving an SUV who was attempting to turn left at a green light at Abbott Martin Road at Cross Creek Road in 2011.Buy Photo

“We just do not have a pedestrian culture here," said Stacy Dorris, a physician and pedestrian safety activist in Nashville. "It was not designed very well as a walking community.”

Death on foot: Distracted driving, cell phones seen as factors

Studies in Nashville and Memphis have pointed to problems such as crumbling concrete, missing sidewalks and long blocks without crosswalks.

About 80 percent of Nashville's pedestrian deaths in recent years happened along state roadways, including the city's major pikes, said Nora Kern, the executive director of the nonprofit group Walk Bike Nashville. Old Hickory Boulevard is another hot spot, she said. The deadliest stretches are typically wide thoroughfares with multiple lanes in each direction, and long blocks.

In 2017, for instance, three people died on Old Hickory Boulevard, during a particularly bad year in Nashville.

The city saw 23 pedestrian fatalities last year, according to Metro Nashville Police Department statistics. The previous seven years saw an average of either 13 or 16 deaths per year, depending which statistics you examine — local police or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figures. Federal data excludes crashes on private property and it includes a more narrow definition of a pedestrian.

Advocates and government agencies, both at the state and local levels, are leading construction projects aimed at improving safety. In Nashville, the city allocated $30 million for sidewalks in each of the last two fiscal years, but progress has lagged as the city spent more time planning than building. The pikes are especially problematic, Kern said, because of their width and lack of walking infrastructure.

“To go back to add sidewalks is going to be very expensive,” she said.

Her group championed a relatively affordable project at Nolensville Pike and Welshwood Drive. For $50,000, Kern said, the Tennessee Department of Transportation installed a "pop-up crosswalk" with warning lights and signage. The state has identified other dangerous areas and will be using federal funds to work through the list of projects.  **BTW I know this and there are still major problems as it is across from Walmart and the bus transit stop.  It is at least better than nothing.

Memphis pedestrian fatalities

2010: 10

2011: 17

2012: 11

2013: 25

2014: 20

2015: 28

2016: 28

Nashville pedestrian fatalities

2010: 12

2011: 11

2012: 14

2013: 11

2014: 11

2015: 14

2016: 16

Knoxville pedestrian fatalities

2010: 10

2011: 17

2012: 11

2013: 25

2014: 20

2015: 28

2016: 28

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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