Dangerous Harding Place stretch could get sidewalks

Sunday, December 5, 2010 at 10:05pm

The portion of Harding Place between Interstate 24 on the east and Nolensville Road on the west ranks among the most pedestrian-unfriendly in all of Nashville.

Given that the vehicle-heavy road has no sidewalks, is densely lined with multiple apartment complexes and foot traffic, and often serves as a super speedway, it is baffling that pedestrians are not killed on a frequent basis.

But now a stretch of the road, from Tampa Drive on the east to Nolensville, could receive some major safety and aesthetic improvements. Four Metro Council members — Greg Adkins, Megan Barry, Jim Hodge and Ronnie Steine — are co-sponsoring a resolution that, if passed (which is likely) on third reading Dec. 7, would fund those improvements. 

The resolution directs Metro Public Works to apply for a Tennessee Department of Transportation grant that would provide $1.96 million for construction of 4,800 linear feet of sidewalks along the Harding Place stretch. Metro would contribute about $491,000.

With a few exceptions — Paragon Mills, Wallace and Welch roads, for example — the numerous residential streets within the area lack sidewalks. Segments of both shoulders of Harding Place reveal worn grass and a dirt path that people have walked for years.

Hodge, who lives on nearby Haywood Lane and represents District 30, said he drives the Harding stretch every day and is concerned about pedestrian safety.

“You’ve got hilly terrain and no appreciable shoulder,” Hodge said. “There are lots of folks walking out there. I don’t know of any injuries or deaths [in recent years], but it’s an accident waiting to happen.”

TDOT funding and approval is a component of the project because Harding Place is technically considered a state highway (State Route 255). The department installed no sidewalks along the stretch of Hillsboro Road (State Route 106) during its recent re-striping of that car-heavy thoroughfare from
Sharondale Drive on the north to Crestmoor Road on the south. 

The long-term plan, according to Metro officials, is to have a sidewalk span Harding Place from I-24 on the east to I-65 on the west. 

7 Comments on this post:

By: dustywood on 12/6/10 at 7:44

This should help the walking folks, but NOT if they decide to cross the road where ever they want,or stand in the middle of the turning lanes waiting for a break in traffic. Another place that needs sidewalks is Glenrose Ave. I have encountered people in wheelchairs,"driving " down the road. Of course no reflective gear on, or other way of seeing them. Only a deep ditch is available for shoulder in this area. But as a poorer neighborhood I doubt this will be taken care of.

By: budlight on 12/6/10 at 8:28

other extremely dangerous roads: Lavergne couchville pike; murfreesboro road; hamilton church pike; old hickory blvd; parts of bell road especially from Target to hickory hollow mall.

But at least harding is a start. now get on the ball, Dean, and put in more sidewalks.

By: AmyLiorate on 12/6/10 at 12:04

It's a shame that so much money is spent on wild city projects like skate parks ($500,000) and expanding the water park on Two Rivers to compete with a private venture a few miles away, when so many four lane roads have NO sidewalks. Areas around schools don't have them either.

Look at Gallatin Road near Briley and the other areas mentioned above. Many places in Nashville it's not safe for many children to do much but stay at home and play video games.

By: kgbean on 12/6/10 at 1:48

TDOT has recently performed a REAL pedestrian safety audit on the corridor and will be striping and signaling most if not all intersections on the corridor in the immediate future. They're also supposed to install crush and run gravel to make the shoulder more stable.
This is tremendous news for hard working neighborhood organizations, Councilman Adkins whom have been working on this for years, and recent joint efforts between advocacy groups Walk/Bike Nashville, Bike Walk Tennessee and Transit Now. This is also a result of TDOT, the Nashville MPO and Nashville Metro Government to work together to solve this difficult challenge.
Harding Place pedestrians are walking because they have to walk. They don't choose to be out there at night, in the rain, in the cold, the heat. They do it because they don't have other means. This sidewalk will result in safe conditions for them. I'm VERY proud of Nashville for serving the community by improving this corridor. VERY proud.
Now, it's your turn. Take the time to write a letter to your councilperson in support of the resolution.

Pat Clements
Bike Walk Tennessee

By: bfra on 12/6/10 at 2:25

Will the sidewalks be added to the sides of the existing streets, or taken away from the existing streets, making them dangerously narrower, which has been done on many streets?

By: kgbean on 12/7/10 at 9:57

BFRA - great questions. The plans I've seen have a sidewalk down one side. Sometimes streets are indeed narrowed. And it's proven that when streets are narrowed, traffic slows down, and unbelievably more traffic flows through congested corridors (idea is people aren't arriving at traffic jams faster, and fewer jams occur.) And slower speeds mean better reaction times for drivers, less severe crashes when they do occur, and of course it's safer for pedestrians.

PS - our website is bikewalktn.org. We have an active BLOG as well.

By: capnjack on 12/7/10 at 11:24

Nashville is destined to be one of the great cities of the future. We must, however, grow with our hearts and our minds so we can continue to be the best place in the world to live.
Intelligently designed pedestrian and traffic connectivity is significant to our future. So are schools, parks, mass transportation and infrastructure.
Economic growth will follow if we lead with an open heart and keep our focus on the bigger picture.
Music City is our moniker, but the real music is in the heart of all of us who chose to make Middle Tennessee our home.