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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Letter to the Mayor of Nashville - direct request for amending the transit plan


 
 






Statement by the Ad Hoc Nashville Coalition for Walking and Biking
 
 
The proposed Transit Improvement Program represents a significant step forward improving transit in Nashville but fails to include any details or proposals for sidewalks or bike lanes. Although the plan includes a positive promise of a "more safe and welcoming pedestrian and biking environment" it has no specific proposals for how that promise is to be implemented. Although the program includes extensive information and budgets for other parts of the transit system, sidewalks and bike lanes are overlooked. The WalknBike Plan is not even mentioned in the proposal.
 
Cities with transit systems far more advanced than Nashville understand that bus and light rail systems are complete only when citizens can easily and safely walk or bike to transit lines. Nashville’s past commitment to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure was lacking and is only now beginning to catch up to cities with more developed infrastructure. This transit program is an opportunity to make up for those years of neglect.
 
We are asking the Mayor and Council to amend the plan before final passage to include the following:
 
  •  The plan should explicitly recognize that a complete and connected transit system will include facilities for biking and walking as integral to the plan and not just an afterthought.


  •  The budget should delineate the minimum amount that will be invested in bike and pedestrian facilities in the same way that other elements of the transit system are included. The schedule should include completion timelines for these projects in the same way as other parts of the project. Bike lanes and sidewalks should be included down every Rapid Transit Corridor.


  •  Ten percent of the total budget should be dedicated to sidewalk and bicycle infrastructure over 15 years. This is $36 million annually compared to the current Metro budget of $35 million. The current budget should be enhanced and used in other parts of the city and county.


  •  The plan should include a specific minimum amount of linear feet of new sidewalk coverage (not including repair of existing sidewalks). It should require that there will be at least one fully functional sidewalk route (both sides of the street) and intersections with painted crosswalks and pedestrian signals that connect the Neighborhood Transit Centers to each other and to every public school, community center, public library, and park in that community.


  •  The plan should include a specific number of miles of new dedicated and separated bike lanes that provide connectivity between Transit Centers and community facilities. Under no circumstances should the project utilize the kind of sub-standard and disconnected bike lanes in existence in many parts of Nashville.
 
Thank you for consideration of these additions to the Transit Improvement Program. The inclusion of our requests will improve the plan and the future transit system in Nashville and Davidson County.






 
 
The Ad Hoc Coalition is an informal group of advocates for bicycling and walking in Nashville. Many of us commute to work every day on Nashville streets and deal with the deficient infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.
 
Signed
 
Carey Rogers
Jason Garrett
Stacy Dorris
 
Tom Grose
Sean Davies
Mary Hinton
 
Amy Eskind
Ramsay Wall
Amy Willoughby Bryant
 
Sadie Cooper
Kathryn Peters
Thommy Thompson
 
Dane Andersen
Greg O'Loughlin
Tony Burdick
 
David Swanger
John Michael Cassidy
Tom Grooms
 
Kari Hoffman
Robert Randolph
Ryan Kamper
 
Edwin Williamson
Katie Hoovler
 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

See Nashville on 'Perils For Pedestrian' Television


 All three of the new Tennessee and Kentucky episodes of "Perils For Pedestrians" are now online.

'Perils For Pedestrians' Television (http://www.pedestrians.org/), came to Nashville in the Fall of 2017 to explore and discuss walkability and bicycle issues in our city. 


Check out links below!








 
Episode 252 - TN, KY


Perils for Pedestrians - Episode 252 - TN, KY



0:24 - We talk with the head of Walk-Bike Nashville.
6:33 - Nashville, Tennessee, has a new sidewalk law.
12:34 - A doctor discusses obstacles to walking in Nashville.
17:49 - Nashville is improving bicycle facilities.
20:38 - We talk with the head of Walk-Bike Frankfort.
24:46 - We look at pedestrian access to a Frankfort, Kentucky, shopping center.


Episode 251 - Memphis



Perils for Pedestrians Episode 251 - Memphis



We travel to Memphis, Tennessee.
0:30 - We visit a new bicycle and pedestrian path on the Union Pacific Railroad bridge over the Mississippi River: The Big River Crossing.
11:31 - We look at public space improvements in the Medical District.
18:32 - We drop in on a meeting of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (APBP).
23:51 - We listen to Mayor Jim Strickland's remarks at the APBP meeting.


Episode 250 - TN DOT



Perils for Pedestrians -Episode 250 - TN DOT



The Tennessee Department of Transportation.
0:21 -- The Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator,
7:12 -- The Multimodal Planning Office Supervisor, and
13:04 -- The Deputy Commissioner, Chief of Environment and Planning.










Sunday, December 31, 2017

Nashville's New Year's Resolution: 30 minute walk per day

Happy New Year's Eve Nashville!!!


A great resolution as it is doable and healthy is to commit to a 30 minute walk per day. 






If you do this on Nashville's city streets, you will quickly identify the issues our pedestrians face:  lack of logical connected infrastructure, safety concerns, distracted drivers, poor lighting conditions. 

Walking 30 minutes per day would turn us all into pedestrian advocates as the full menu of our issues would be quickly understood by all. 





As health and safety are 2 major themes of this blog, I am wishing you a 30-minutes-per-day ACTIVE new year (per CDC guidelines) but encouraging you to be safe while on foot.








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Please read the stories of those pedestrians who have lost their lives walking in Nashville. 









Friday, December 29, 2017

Judah R. Bryndal, perished on foot, December 21, 2017, Nashville TN

Judah R. Bryndal


A pedestrian was struck and killed on Lebanon Pike near Central Pike at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, December 21, 2017, was not carrying identification.  Later, he was identified as Judah R. Bryndal, 22, of Nashville      
The pedestrian was either sitting or attempting to stand up in the left travel lane of Lebanon Pike when he was struck by a Ford F-150 pickup truck driven by Roger Hanson, 69, of Nashville.  Hanson said he did not see the pedestrian until seconds before impact and could not avoid striking him.  The immediate area was not well lit.        
The pedestrian had a bicycle.  Witnesses told officers that they saw him standing in the left travel lane trying to pick up the bike when he fell over.  He was hit shortly after that.       
No charges are anticipated against Hanson.      
Toxicology testing on a blood sample from the pedestrian will be performed by the medical examiner. 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Metro Nashville Public Works NEW Interactive Map...see where sidewalks are planned, track progress.



Metro Nashville Public Works NEW Interactive Map...see where sidewalks are planned, track progress.


Nashville Public Works has released its interactive map.






Please note that 'Completed' - in green - sidewalks may only mean on a single side - not both sides of the street so this definition of 'completed' is arguable.  I would have liked more clarity as to sidewalk on one side or both.


There is still too much grey here and not enough yellow or blue. There are too many 'sidewalks to no where' - we need to stitch these together for better connectivity.  This must be a goal & we must start talking about an end date for this goal.  Is 5 years fair?  10 years?  Are we even close to ADA compliance in all of Nashville?  What is the legal implications of not completing this goal in a timely way.  When will we have proper sidewalks in Nashville???


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Maps like this are important to compare with where citizens wish  sidewalks to be.  Check out:  http://thesidewalkfoundation.org/ which has an interactive map where you can drop a pin where you believe a sidewalk is NEEDED. 


Public Works Interactive Map:
https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fmpw.nashville.gov%2FCapitalProjects%2FProject%2FInteractiveMap&data=02%7C01%7Cstacy.l.dorris%40vanderbilt.edu%7C2bbedc84fad1438eefa108d54951fb47%7Cba5a7f39e3be4ab3b45067fa80faecad%7C0%7C0%7C636495538963043982&sdata=ib8j01ve%2FAxwT%2FU2bgXWeIW9zuwTw5ejl%2F7BPXSuVD8%3D&reserved=0




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https://www.nashvillepedestriandeathregistry.org/the-registry/


Nashville has a pedestrian struck and killed every 21 days.  Look for me. 











Thursday, December 21, 2017

Councilman Glover's Proposal for Religious Institutions to be Exempt from the Sidewalk Bill Denied in Planning, Next Hearing 1/2/2018



Councilman Glover's Proposal for Religious Institutions to be Exempt from the Sidewalk Bill Denied in Planning, Next Hearing 1/2/2018

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Years of minimal planning for pedestrian infrastructure has led to a severe deficit in Nashville.   In 2017, we have roughly 1/4 of our roadways sidewalked.  Mostly, on a single side. 

We are a unique city:  532 square miles, a city/county, that has grown fast.  Things are changing quickly. We average one pedestrian death every 21 days.  We have record low public transportation ridership. We have poor health statistics around obesity.  We have bad traffic. 

And, we have a lot of people who want to walk!

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Health and safety are two main themes for my writing and why I took to blogging about pedestrian issues in Nashville 4 years ago.  Per the CDC, healthy living includes 30 minutes of exercise per day and I am committed to this practice.  But, I often feel threatened while on foot:  drivers come too close, are driving too fast, are not looking for me.  And, I can see why.  There is literally no designed place for a walker on most roadways.  It doesn't feel safe.  If I wasn't so stubborn, I wouldn't attempt those 30 minutes per day, on foot, on Nashville's roadways.





Walking is a basic human right.  We should not have to get in a car to travel our city.  We should feel safe and invited to go on foot...

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The phrase 'nobody walks' is frequently repeated as the reason to continue to avoid building sidewalks.  Nobody walks because it is treacherous out there as I have just described.  With proper infrastructure, things in Nashville would be different. When Councilman Glover used this notion as a reason for religious institutions to be exempt for The Sidewalk Bill, it struck a nerve. 



The good news is his proposition was denied.

Speakers in opposition at the meeting, including Council Members Withers, Elrod, Allen, and Henderson. Plus there were about 15 letters/emails sent (THANK YOU if you were one of those who sent in an email!).

As a result, the planning commission voted nearly unanimously (1 voted in favor) to disapprove the exemption.

The next step is public hearing at council January 2nd.  What would be needed is 27 votes to pass it with Commission disapproval.



CASE 2017-160 (Council District – 12) Brandon Williams, appellant and New Beginnings International Ministry, Inc, owner of the property located at 3179 Earhart Road, requesting a Special Exception and a variance from sidewalk requirements in the RS15 District, to construct a new 14,400 square foot Church. Referred to the Board under Section 17.16.170 E3,17.20.120. The appellant alleged the Board would have jurisdiction under Section 17.40.180(B&C). Use-Religious Institution Map 98 Parcel(s) 208

















Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Quick Call to Action! Exemption to Sidewalk Bill Being Requested - Take 5 minutes and write a brief 'NO' email to the Planning Commission!

Quick Call to Action!


Councilman Glover is proposing a bill, BL2017-938,  which would create an exemption from sidewalk requirements for churches.  It is on the agenda of the Planning Commission tomorrow, Dec 14th, 2017!

This particular exemption is for a single church in his district and the planning staff has recommended approval but the bill is to create an exemption for ALL CHURCHES.

The ordinance requiring sidewalk construction was passed in April and took effect July 1st 2017. 

In my opinion, it’s too early to start exempting anyone before we know more about the impact of the law. It is estimated, that if we continue producing new sidewalks at our current rate, our network will not be completed until 1000 years!!!  We have a huge sidewalk deficit in Nashville, we are not in ADA compliance and exempting properties is not going to help create a safe and inviting landscape for our pedestrians.   
  
One exemption will lead to others in the future.

For the HEALTH & SAFETY OF ALL NASHVILLIANS:

PLEASE take 5 minutes and write to the Planning Commission.  Let them know that you oppose Bill BL2017-938.   Let them know you want every piece of sidewalk put in properly.


 

 

It’s agenda item  2017Z-023TX-001 .  

You can and should write to the commission members here: 


Make sure you put your address and zip code


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Dear Planning Commission,
Wanted to write and say I am deeply opposed to exemptions from sidewalk requirements in Nashville.  Councilman Glover, BL2017-938, has applied for an exemption on Thursday's agenda and I truly hope that you say no to this request. 
Churches, as a gathering place, are of highest need for access by all and should, in no way, be limited to car ridership only. 
The sidewalk bill is also very new - give it time before we start passing out exemptions!  It will not be successful if we start allowing people out now.  Places, such as churches, benefit mightily by being in Nashville.  Let's let all of Nashville benefit a little by adding one more piece of the sidewalk grid. 
Safety, health and fairness should prevail.  Nashville has a pedestrian struck and killed every 21 days.  Most roadways are not ADA compliant.  If you let this one go exempt, it sets the dangerous precedent to continue in this same vein and for others to request exemption, too.
Please do not allow this exemption.

***




 You may also want to shoot CM Steve Glover and email, too: steve.glover@nashville.gov


Here is my email

Dear Councilman Glover,

As a health care provider and volunteer, I am highly interested in the health and safety of all Nashvillians. That is why I was so alarmed and concerned when I read that you were working to exempt churches from having to build sidewalks.

Churches, to me, should be welcoming to all. Including the community nearby. Including people who may walk. Including those who take the bus. Including those in wheelchairs.

Churches also build community. And, the best community would be local. Neighbors should be encouraged to get to a place of worship on foot.

Nashville has 2 things that could be reduced with sidewalks: a very high pedestrian death rate and an alarming rate of obesity. Neither is good for our citizens. We also suffer from some lack of connection. An easy way to work towards fixing this is to wave hello to neighbors as you walk along.

Please, I am asking you to stop putting energy into a bill that will hurt the health, safety and community building that goes with great walkability. Please stop BL2017-938.