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Where did all the streetscaping go?

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I'm very discouraged by Nashville's lack of effort to make many of our major road into "complete streets".

There have been a few decent projects in the last decade or so. The one that comes to mind is Nolensville Rd. near 440. While the work done there wasn't exactly astonishing (and the stamped asphalt was a waste of money), it's certainly an improvement on what it looked like in the 90's. That being said, I don't feel like anything has even been scratched at in the last 5 years or more.

Gallatin Rd, Charlotte, Dickerson Rd, Harding, Nolensville are all long stretches of road that are just downright crummy looking and dangerous.

I know these are very expensive projects, but they can be done over time. The economic impact return could be huge. Developers would be more inclined to build dense on these streets if they are places where people want to be. Not to mention the intangible benefits. Traffic light synchronization, storm water improvements. These are just a few things that would be added benefits of these projects. Not to mention the opportunity to add transit into the mix.

Furthermore, high density corridors are what this town is going to need to accommodate the influx of population that is expected.

Is anything being done or even planned? Is there something I'm missing?

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More? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. So many streets in Nashville are just uninviting at best, downright dangerous to pedestrians at worst.  The amount of improvement that just a little bit of streetscape improvements would provide to the major thoroughfares of the city would be astounding.  Plant some trees, make some visibly pleasing sidewalks and curbs, put a few benches out, add some brick here and there, put some plants in the medians when available, separate traffic from people where possible, and you'd have some amazing improvements that would bring people to neighborhoods and would bring value beyond their cost for years to come.

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Dickerson Road has already had substantial Metro investment in new sidewalks and streetscaping, with some degree of the benefits you described. Those efforts so far have only stretched as far north as Douglas Ave. Future phases are in the multi-year Capital Improvements Budget.

It's a small but very expensive start.

Also, keep in mind that sidewalks and streetscaping proposals including public transit stops and benches compete for CIB dollars with other big-ticket items such as ballparks. There are only so many capital expense public dollars to go around without asking for a property tax increase. I am pleased that the Mayor's budget did include more money for sidewalks this year, not to mention the Nolensville and Charlotte pike BRT Lite lines.

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I do agree that our city should be constantly adding more appealing streetscapes. I also think we should be doing a better job of maintaining what we already have.

Some of the streetscape maintenance is going to depend on having a corridor-focus chamber of commerce that can lobby for Public Works improvements where needed, but also dedicate private dollars to installing and maintaining plantings, signage, benches, garbage cans, and other amenities.  Dickerson Road Merchants Association has worked literally for years, if not a decade or more, to get things where they are today on Dickerson.  Don't laugh.  Look at before-and-after pics.  It's getting there very slowly but surely.  The sidewalk improvements haven't come north of Douglas yet, but they are scheduled and will help.


Donelson is on the right track to improve Lebanon Pike.  Gallatin Road businesses need to get more serious about coordinating such efforts. 


There was an Inglewood Action Partners group but I'm not sure how active they are today.  The Inglewood Neighborhood Association had worked with Public Works and CSX to install a monument sign and landscaping at the railroad overpass.  (BTW, I have helped out with that landscaping on more than one occasion).  But unfortunately so many drunk drivers struck the median, repeatedly demolished the brick monument sign, ran over the landscaping, etc, that the INA literally gave up on the whole thing.  It wasn't worth it any more.  Let it go back to 20-foot-tall weeds.


But that is a sampling of what you are up against in this city in terms of streetscaping.  Unless taxpayer-funded Public Works projects and staffing are approved, or unless Chamber of Commerce groups will pool private dollars for capital improvements and streetscapes and write a contract with a maintenance company to cover more than just one property at a time, you will be left with a couple of volunteers trying to do everything and just getting run over (literally or figuratively) by careless people who destroy all of your work repeatedly and dump litter everywhere.  I have never seen a city with a decent economy with such trashy residents.  Even St. Louis is spotless compared to Nashville.

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