Sidewalks Left Out of Nashville Development Fee System

Josh Brown reports for the Tennessean on the unintended consequences of a fee waiver meant to encourage infill development—developers are readily choosing to pay the fee instead of building sidewalks.

According to Josh Brown, Nashville has had a long history of underbuilding sidewalks, resulting in a legacy of perilous conditions for pedestrians. In fact, "[the] city's 2003 strategic plan for sidewalks and bikeways found that for every three miles of road, there was roughly just a mile of sidewalks."

The article posits, however, "that it's cheaper for builders to pay a fee that waives the requirement to build a sidewalk than it is to construct one." After some 2012 changes meant to encourage infill development, "[the] fee is now a flat rate, depending upon the size of the development, but the most a developer would pay for not building sidewalks is $500 to $1,500."

The article also noted that Nashville ranked as the 15th most dangerous city for pedestrians according to the "Dangerous by Design" pedestrian safety report released in May by Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition.

Full Story: Nashville's lack of sidewalks sparks campaign

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