Residents Want Tunnel Safety Improvements 6-02-2011 - WSMV News 4

Residents Want Tunnel Safety Improvements 6-02-2011

Reported By Nancy Amons
Nashville is a city that wants to be more walkable, yet a street in one of the city's up-and-coming neighborhoods has a narrow, two-lane tunnel that many say is too dangerous for walking and cycling.

Residents: Narrow Tunnel Dangerous For Pedestrians

The problem is the road at the CSX railroad bridge over 37th Avenue North. The street connects the Sylvan Park and Sylvan Heights neighborhoods.
The tunnel is challenging when cars approach from both directions, and pedestrians walking through the tunnel when there are two cars say they feel squeezed.
Belmont University student Zach White likes to bike in the neighborhood but feels uncomfortable at the 37th Avenue underpass.
"It can get pretty hairy in this area," White said.
More than 300 people have signed a petition asking the city to make the underpass safer.
Svetlana Stephanovic, president of the Sylvan Heights Neighborhood Association, said the hazardous road discourages a lot of people who'd like to leave their cars behind. She said the demographics of the neighborhood are changing, and many new residents would like a pedestrian-friendly environment.
"I just think, overall, the lifestyle and awareness of the ability to walk is much more appealing to people than it used to be," Stephanovic said.
Metro Councilman Jason Holleman said the city has put $500,000 in its budget to add sidewalks on 37th Avenue.
Next year's budget will have an additional $1.5 million for an improvement project that would either widen the street at the underpass or add a pedestrian-only tunnel. He said a complicating factor is that CSX Railroad owns the land.
"Getting money in the capital improvement budget is a great step but that we have a lot of hurdles to climb in terms of getting CSX to agree to this project," Holleman said.

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