Advocacy groups call for safer streets during ‘Walk the Pike’ event

Walk the Pike participants reading the names of those killed in 2018 while crossing streets in Nashville.

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Walk Bike Nashville and Music City Riders United are two organizations that are fighting for active, equitable transportation for all of Nashville. The two groups have joined together to launch a petition for the Impossible Crossing Campaign, which seeks dedicated city staff and funding to reduce and eliminate pedestrian fatalities.

On January 12, the two groups were joined by Council members, community advocates, and other elected officials and walked at the busiest bus stop on the Gallatin corridor, a top pedestrian crash location. The groups want to urge the city to create safer crosswalks, especially among bus route stops where people often cross in order to catch their bus on time, resulting in deaths.

At the event, called ‘Walk the Pike.’ the names of 22 people killed in 2018 while crossing streets around the city were read as several people riding the bus had to cross quickly and were seen trying to reach their bus on time, further highlighting the need. At the end, flowers and signs with the names were laid as a memorial near a bus stop.

“People, who rely on the bus for getting to work or going anywhere, need safer ways to get around,” according to Walk Bike Nashville. “We want our sidewalks and bikeways to support active living, additional commuting options, and recreational opportunities. We use a mix of educational programs focused on safety and skills and membership outreach focused on advocacy to pursue our goals.”

The petition, Impossible Crossing Campaign, seeks dedicated city staff and funding to reduce and eliminate pedestrian fatalities.

The petition calls on city leaders to request that Mayor Briley formally commit to working to eliminate pedestrian, bike and traffic fatalities and severe injuries; establish a new Pedestrian Safety Program this year, with at least two Metro Public Works staff dedicated to addressing road safety; produce an annual report from the Pedestrian Safety Program to Metro Council; provide at least $1.5 million to address top crash locations in the Impossible Crossing report from the Capital Spending Plan; and establish a Vision Zero Action Plan, including an update to crash analysis data at least every two years.

The Walk the Pike comes on the heels of recent reports released by the two advocacy organizations: Impossible Crossings published by Walk Bike Nashville, and the Bus Route Report Card by Music City Riders United. Both reports highlight the mortal dangers for Nashvillians who are forced to cross the street in the absence of adequate pedestrian safety infrastructure investment by metro government.