So far in 2010, Davidson County has seen 14 pedestrians killed by motorists. Officials hope that the county’s newest pedestrian crosswalk — a futuristic thing, really — will prevent future accidents.
Recently, Gannett Corp., working in tandem with Metro Public Works, installed massive streetscape hardware at the long-standing pedestrian crosswalk “connecting” 1100 Broadway with a surface parking lot next to the Exxon Tiger Mart. Visitors to the building and some staff working for Gannett’s Metromix, Nashville Lifestyles and The Tennessean park in the lot.
The installation follows 88 traffic violations — 16 of which involved vehicle damage, according to Metro police statistics — in 2010 within that block of Broadway.
“Since moving into the building earlier this year, the only negative has been the dangers of crossing that street, especially at night,” said Stacie Standifer, Nashville Lifestyles editor and publisher.
Standifer said it is “amazing” how many motorists not only fail to yield to pedestrians but actually exceed the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit along the bustling segment of Broadway.
The pedestrian crossing project is unusual in that it involves both large-scale hardware that extends over the street and a sign bearing the prominent wording “State Law: Yield To Pedestrians.” Gwen Hopkins-Glascock, public works spokeswoman, said Davidson County has fewer than 20 “mid-block” crossings, which are found at non-intersections that don’t have traffic signals.
“Most are on low-volume, low-speed roadways,” she said.
Hopkins-Glascock said the area “has been of concern to public works” for years.
The crosswalk is near the Exxon, a McDonald’s drive-thru, a Firestone and the Interstate 40-65 access ramps, all of which are vehicle-heavy entities.
“The crosswalk has been in place for a long time, but given its close proximity to the signalized intersection [at 12th and Broad] and the fact it’s a busy seven-lane street, drivers tend to be less vigilant,” Hopkins-Glascock said.
Metro police statistics show Davidson County recorded 12 pedestrian deaths in 2009. Broadway has seen no fatalities this year.