Nashville organization reflects on pedestrian fatalities in 2022 so far, seeking to fix infrastructure

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – When it comes to infrastructure in Nashville, the Walk Bike Nashville organization says the city has some catching up to do. The statement centers on pedestrian fatalities. So far this year, Metro Nashville police have investigated four pedestrian deaths in Davidson County.

“The number of times I’ve opened my mailbox and seen another alert for a pedestrian fatality, it’s just tragic,” said Meredith Montgomery of Walk Bike Nashville.

This month, Metro Police were called to Demonbreun Street, where 51-year-old Roger Freels was walking near Demonbreun and I-40 when he was hit.

A few days later, police were called to Dickerson Pike, where 34-year-old Ashley Young was struck while walking. It was unclear whether Young was walking on the side of the road or trying to cross the street.

Freels and Young are dead.

The deaths come as Mayor John Cooper’s Vision Zero action plan is due to be released next month. The city is asking for the public’s help in reducing the number of traffic and pedestrian fatalities to zero.

Data collected in partnership with Walk Bike Nashville details safety improvements focused on repairing dangerous roads, new lighting at crosswalks and lowering neighborhood speed limits from 30 to 25 miles per hour.

“There’s a lot of data in there, and that data reflects what our organization has known for years, which is that our streets in Nashville aren’t all created equal. Only a small number of streets are responsible for the majority of these pedestrian deaths,” Montgomery explained.

It’s no secret that Nashville is growing, but can the city keep up with how many people are walking, biking and needing sidewalks? News 2 asked Montgomery if she thinks the city has an infrastructure problem.

“I think we have some catching up to do,” Montgomery replied. “You know, it’s the implementation of figuring out how to do what we need to do, when, in the most efficient way.”

Montgomery said the organization is already developing plans and recommendations on how to improve Dickerson Pike, considered one of the deadliest roads in Davidson County.

” That will take time. I mean, we have a lot of work to do, since last year we had 37 pedestrian fatalities. So going from 37 to zero won’t happen overnight,” Montgomery said.

Walk Bike Nashville is hosting its 5th Annual Pedestrian Memorial on Saturday, January 29 at noon. The group will gather at Murfreesboro Road and Millwood Drive, another dangerous intersection for pedestrians, to remember the 37 people who died in 2021 in “preventable accidents”.

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The Vision Zero community survey takes five minutes or less to complete. To enter, go to hubNashville or visit Nashville’s Vision Zero webpage.

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