Metro commission to add more sidewalks, bike paths - WSMV Channel 4

Metro commission to add more sidewalks, bike paths

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Metro is ready to add more sidewalks and bicycle paths in five of the busiest areas of town. It's something a lot of people have been wanting to see happen for years, and now Metro says it's time.

Commuter Justin Harkleroad says he doesn't drive to work anymore due to many factors.

"The price of fuel, price of cars, cost of living, lower wages," he said.

Turns out, those same factors are forcing more people than ever across Middle Tennessee to pedal, ride or walk to work.

"People in the region are choosing the bike or walk as their mode of transportation, especially during peak hours when we see so much congestion on our roadway network," Mary Beth Ikard, with the Metro Planning Organization, said.

Ikard and the planning organization just wrapped up a regional bicycle and pedestrian study, which shows the number of people walking and biking around town is up about 50 percent from 2009.

"It really makes the case for continued investment in the non-motorized modes," Ikard said.

The study shows Middle Tennessee needs to expand greenways and add a new bike network that would bring more than 1,100 miles of bicycle lanes across Middle Tennessee.

And as far as the roads go, the study pointed out a problem pedestrians have dealt with for years.

"More sidewalks. That would make a great different for kids and for their safety," commuter Lisa Williams said.

The study suggests sidewalks should be added to all major thoroughfares.

The top five roads on the list include Nolensville Pike, Murfreesboro Road, Lebanon Pike, Gallatin Pike and Franklin Road.

Walkers even made their own path near Harding Place because they don't have sidewalks there. It is just one indicators the Metro Action Commission is considering as it decides which roads across Middle Tennessee need help now.

The MPO is using $2.5 million from a federal grant to make sure the roads aren't just safe for drivers. They will announce which roads will get the funding in December.

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