____ BRILEY: What Mary Carolyn Roberts has tried to do in District 20, there along 51st, is to try and get some of the business owners that utilize the gas depot back there, trying to get them voluntarily to move their routes. There is a bridge under construction, I think by river quarry, that will pull a lot of the traffic off of Robertson over there a bit west of The Nations. So we have to work with the traffic and parking commission and with the district council members to try and get those commercial vehicles off of residential streets where we can. The council is considering lowering the speed on all neighborhood streets to 25 miles an hour. That would, I think, have an impact in terms of pulling some of those off the streets. I have semis rolling by my house all day every day, so I know what it’s like. I have to think about a more comprehensive approach to that. SWAIN: To me that’s a police question, right? And right now, they can barely handle the emergency calls. A lot of this goes back to public safety. I think that when we have more police officers in our city and we won’t have those ATV vehicles—it’s clear that people know the capacity of the Nashville police and the fact that they are understaffed. And so, there’s evidence that people are coming from other parts of the state to Nashville because they know they can get away with things. And if you have departments, police departments that are adequately staffed, you would have people out there monitoring all the highways and giving tickets and the 18-wheelers would know not to come through the residential areas. That’s the only way it’s going to be addressed is through more police officers. It’s a public safety issue. COOPER: Well, I think you’ve got to enforce the code.
372WN.com | June–July 2019
West Nashville needs to be more walkable. As mayor, how will you help us increase the number of berms, curbs and sidewalks? CLEMMONS: It’s a mandatory issue that requires addressing in the mayor’s office. It has to be at the top of the agenda. Too many people are dying in the city every year trying to cross the street or on bicycles. And I would argue that one is too many. We need better crosswalks, we need better-lit crosswalks, and we need sidewalks connecting people to public transportation and the crosswalks. Sidewalks to nowhere work for no one. So, we need to improve walkability in this city. Again, if we’re going to portray ourselves as a progressive 21st century city, this is something that we’ve got to do a better job of. BRILEY: In Whitland and Cherokee Park, it’s great, and so the aspiration should be to have that same level of walkability as many places as we can. I think you have to look at each one sort of individually, right? We’re going to see a ton of development up and down Charlotte, so as developers go in, they’re going to have to improve the quality of the pedestrian infrastructure along that corridor, and it’d be part of the development cost. If you go to The Nations, it’s much more complicated because our existing regulation doesn’t require single and two-family developers really to do a lot under every circumstance. So, we’ve been thinking preliminarily about a more comprehensive investment in The Nations to look at sidewalks and storm water infrastructure over there. It’s a unique little part of town because when it was subdivided, when they did the platting a long time ago, they platted very small lots—25 feet wide and 100–150 feet deep—and so folks
would come in and buy two or three lots and build one house on it when they initially did it. Now that it’s getting redeveloped, we’re seeing a lot more where they build two houses on what seemed to have been one lot before. I think it’s going to require us to do some more substantial infrastructure investment just in that part of town. The income associated with the increased property values warrants doing so. So, that’s one place where we’ll have to do something more comprehensive. Otherwise, we’ll continue to invest at least $30 million a year in sidewalk construction like we did last year. We’ll actually do more than that next year because we’re going to spend some money finishing the bollards down on lower Broad. Those have been built so far from the $30 million pool, and we’re taking it out of the $30 million pool next year and doing it on its own. So, the $30 million wouldn’t be spent downtown—none of it would be spent downtown. You go to a place like Hillwood, and the houses were built on acre lots or half-acre lots, so they’re maybe 400 feet per house. And so, I think we have to be creative about how we add walkability there. It may not make sense, the expense may be too much in some neighborhoods, for us to put in typical sidewalks everywhere. I think we’ve got to be sort of creative about how we do things over there. SWAIN: Here’s what I can say. As mayor, I want to be able to keep my word and so I don’t want to overpromise, but I do think the infrastructure, which includes sidewalks, is important and it’s been neglected. Until I actually take office, I don’t know what the possibilities are. You really have to sit down and know what the numbers are. A lot of emphasis has been on bike paths as opposed to sidewalks, and I continued on page 60