We need to expand how we think about infrastructure and prioritize pedestrians. Those were the key messages that emerged from CRT’s forum, “Creating Safe Streets”. The second installment of CRT’s 2021 Power of Ten Forum Series was held online on May 19. Facilitated by Erin Hafkenschiel of the Vanderbilt University, the panel featured Nora Kern (Walk Bike Nashville), Robbie Hayes (HNTB), Angie Henderson (Nashville Metro Council), and Bill McCord (City of Gallatin).
Rethink infrastructure. Too often the purpose of infrastructure is perceived to be as about moving automobiles and not people. As Robbie Hayes said "we've got to continue working on a change mindset on how we look at our transportation infrastructure and our transportation networks...it's an asset for all it's not just for automobiles."
Prioritize pedestrians. Thirty-nine people lost their lives while walking on Nashville's streets last year. It was the most deadly year in the city's history. Safety challenges are not limited to Nashville. Pedestrians and cyclists across the region face unsafe conditions daily. Nora Kern discussed how pedestrians need to be the focus of street design, stating "I wish there was it was almost the reverse and that we mandated pedestrian safety first and then worked in the cars around them."
Speed kills. Car speed has a significant impact on pedestrian survivability. Angie Henderson urged participants to slow down, reminding that "driving the speed limit or one mile per hour under is is really a gift to your neighbors and your friends and and your community ."