Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 Strategic Sidewalk Plan - Update

Currently, I am reading the Nashville-Davidson County Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways circa 2008 (updated).  I do not want it to be an exercise of wishful thinking.  Hence, the creation of Shade Parade.  

According to Jenna Smith from Public Works, an individual who has been more than helpful with my numerous questions, you can track Nashville's sidewalk progress at the website listed below.  

Unfortunately, the stats on progress seem alarmingly slow.  Funding is a major impediment.

1)      Per year, how many new feet of sidewalk has been put in? 

Today, through the sidewalk program as well as development requirements we have over 1,000 miles of sidewalks in Nashville and Davidson County.   Over the past 2 years, over 3 miles of new sidewalk have been constructed and over 20 miles of sidewalks have been repaired.

2)       How do I find out what sidewalks are currently being worked on?  What are the current locations of new sidewalks being put in?  

Current Metro PW sidewalk projects in construction are updated weekly at this link:

The site above currently shows: 

Sidewalk, NEW

  • Baptist World Center Dr. from Gooch Dr. to Seminary St
  • Clarksville Pk from Rosa L Parks Blvd to Cliff Dr
  • Edgehill Ave from 12th Ave S to 13th Ave S

If you have a recommendation for a sidewalk creation or repair in Nashville - please let Shade Parade know. Images are really helpful in supporting an argument for a sidewalk request.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sidewalk Project #3 - Walking From Woodlawn to Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN, Updated

In order to be ADA compliant, a sidewalk should be 32" wide MINIMUM from edge to obstruction.  

On Natchez Trace, between Woodlawn and Blair, in Nashville there are many sidewalk obstructions but most are in surprising compliance with the ADA rule of 32 inches. 

 Some are not.

Unlike the guy wires above, some impediments are simple to remedy.

Despite being ADA compliant, these bushes are a hindrance to walking.

If you have bushes or low hanging trees - trim them back so the sidewalk is as wide as possible.  

Optimally, has proposed a sidewalk plan ( that prescribes a 5' sidewalk combined with a 4' green or buffer zone similar to the image below.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Landscape Design Says 'Do Not Walk Here' or the Busy Corner of Woodmont and Hillsboro Pk, Nashville

The photo below sums up an overarching theme in walkability here in Nashville.  

Can you imagine trying to walk this?  Frankly, walking is difficult in Nashville.  This city was not designed with walking in mind.  Culturally, Nashvillians have not grown up as active pedestrians.  In the past, walking was not considered important.  Value was not placed on the luxury of connectivity walking affords.  Urban planning and design both were not emphasized.  

We recognized that there is no glamour left in sitting in bumper to bumper traffic. There is no chance of running into an old friend, seeing budding flowers about to burst forth, or experiencing the exhilaration of moving ones body.

Trends shows that people want the ease and the richness of throwing on some shoes and going about their business.  There are significant gains to using ones body to get from here to there. To name a few:  reduction in air pollution, decreased boredom, increased circulation, interesting encounters.

Unfortunately, in Nashville, the paucity of attention to walkability is blatantly obvious now.  And, desires have changed.  So, what to do?   

Shade Parade hopes to attract people who support walkability in Nashville.  Our main goal is to create walkscapes via sidewalks.

Please follow and share this blog.  

If you support more sidewalks in Nashville please become a friend of Shade Parade on our Facebook page.

Thank you in advance!   

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Density in Nashville or Promoting Walking-Scapes to Increase the Richness of Life

Shade Parade argues for increased density in Nashville.  Think of a rich mix of shops, restaurants, homes and parks.  With this density - the creation of alluring walking-scapes will be required.  Sidewalks that allow for strolling and window shopping would be ideal.  

As Nashvillians know, there is little space or time left for increased vehicular traffic.  There is no joy in finding a parking space.  Nashville needs increased ways to get around on foot.  But it also needs comfortable walking spaces and eye catching things to view…

Density promotes connections and connections are the richness of life.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nashville High School Student Killed by Tractor Trailor in Nashville - Dec 19, 2013

This is a heartbreaking story of 17 year old girl who was killed in Nashville on Thursday, December 19th, while walking through a crosswalk mid-day on a clear sunny afternoon…

From Walk/Bike Nashville and very well said:

As motorists, we must accept our legal and moral duty to cede

 right of way to pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.

 About this issue State Law is unequivocal.

  • Failure to yield to a pedestrian within a marked crosswalk is a violation of Tennessee State law.

  • Even when motorists turn with a green light, pedestrians crossing with the light have the right of way.

  • If no marked crosswalk exists, pedestrians passing through uncontrolled intersections still have the right of way.

Nashville High school student killed by vehicle

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Great Walkers - Journalist Paul Salopek

Journalist Paul Salopek is covering 21,000 miles over seven years all on foot.  His mission is to retrace the routes of the human diaspora out of Africa.  By walking, he hopes to 'move slowly enough through stories so that you see them at a very granular level'.  

Isn't that a wonderful description of the act of walking?  Just one foot in front of the other allowing you to really see what's going on…

From NPR:

Copyright ©2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.
Back in January, we spoke with journalist Paul Salopek, who then was setting off from Ethiopia on a round-the-globe journey. Salopek is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, a foreign correspondent who has traveled the world - but never quite like this. Now a National Geographic fellow, he has plans to cover some 21,000 miles over seven years - and get this, all of it on foot. He has crossed continents now, moving from Africa to Asia; and we reached him in Saudi Arabia. And Paul, thanks for checking in with us.

PAUL SALOPEK: Thanks, David. It's a pleasure to be here.

GREENE: So can you tell me where, exactly, you are, and how you arrived there?

SALOPEK: Yeah. I'm actually in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, right now; basically, made the crossing from Africa to the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula, after a - oh, about a 400-mile walk up the Rift Valley of Africa through Ethiopia and Djibouti.

GREENE: It's amazing to hear, you know, oh, a 400-mile walk - as if it's just a casual thing. You crossed the Red Sea in a boat that usually is not ferrying humans but camels - is that right?

SALOPEK: That's correct. I'm retracing the routes of the human diaspora out of Africa. And our ancestors moved across the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which translates to the Strait of Grief; between the Horn of Africa and Arabia. So I am taking a boat when it's absolutely necessary. And in this case it was a camel boat. It was a boat carrying 9,000 souls(ph). That would be about 850 camels and 8,000 sheep and 23 human beings.

GREENE: And what was that like?

SALOPEK: It was - David, it was fascinating as a storyteller who writes about global affairs because it was like stepping back off the grid. It was kind of a reassuring reminder that not all the world is kind of globalized. These were small family companies who are, you know, working the margins of the livestock trade in the Red Sea. So it was a 35-year-old Italian-built boat designed to originally carry cars and refitted to basically a floating cow pen. We trailed pieces of straw behind us all the way across the Red Sea. I must say, the Saudi port authorities were a bit wide-eyed. It had been a while, perhaps, since a skinny American in a cowboy debarked from a camel boat (unintelligible).

GREENE: Paul, I read one of your dispatches actually about the piracy in the area of the world that you're in and how it's been really threatening people and also threatening science. Researchers are not able to get a lot of the work done that they're used to. Are these the kinds of stories that you're trying to tell along the way doing some journalism, as it were, even as you're on this amazing trip?

SALOPEK: Absolutely. That is the primary purpose of this long trek, what happens when you move slowly enough through stories so that you see them at a very granular level. You get under the headlines and live with the people whose lives are inhabited by the headlines.

GREENE: Any problems along the way? Any illness or problems with authorities getting in your way?

SALOPEK: No. The first leg of the journey up through Africa is probably the most well-prepared section of my walk. So it went off without too many political glitches or paperwork glitches. It was, however, a crossing of one of the hottest deserts in the world. And I was very fortunate to be walking with the Afar(ph), these camel nomads who live in the area who are masters at survival. So they knew where the water holes were. And what I'm discovering is that the physical rigors of crossing this desert were a huge obstacle to overcome at the end of the day when I would have to break out my laptop and set up the satellite phone and try to write, hopefully, a decent story.

GREENE: The combination that's striking me is being out there in a desert with nomads who are leading you to watering holes even as you're out there setting up your laptop.

SALOPEK: It does get a bit surreal - taking calls from editors around a campfire at night when one of my walking colleagues is, you know, ill with typhoid and trying to get this man to a hospital and doing it on foot.

GREENE: And did that gentleman make it to the hospital and survive?

SALOPEK: H did indeed, yeah. We waited for 10 days at an oasis town for him to get better, and he insisted on rejoining us.

GREENE: Well, tell me, Paul, what's next? Where do you go from here?

SALOPEK: I'll be heading up to one of the big ancient crossroads on the planet in the Middle East. So I'm walking up the Red Sea coast, Saudi Arabia, about seven or eight hundred miles and I'll be walking with Saudi friends who will be also helping me with logistics. In fact, day after tomorrow, we're headed down to Jidda to try to buy two more camels.

GREENE: Well, good luck with that purchase. That's journalist Paul Salopek who is speaking to us by phone from Saudio Arabia. Paul, thanks so much for checking in with us. And honestly, safe travels.

SALOPEK: Thanks so much, David. It's a great pleasure to be talking with you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

La Passeggiata - in Nashville?

La Passeggiata is about going out, being seen.  It is a stroll -  particularly an evening stroll after work hours by the residents of a town.  

I wish I could find the quote from Gandhi that I came across in college where he suggested, for health reasons, that all should take a walk after dinner.

Many cultures have an evening stroll - as a way to get out, mix with neighbors and enjoy the evening. 

Should Nashville?  

Could Nashville?

Can you see the vast difference in city planning?  
We need sidewalks in Nashville.  Please ask your councilperson about sidewalks in your neighborhood.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Afterlife Of American Clothes or How the American Body Habitus is Quite Different from Other Places in the World

Shade Parade is dedicated to creating sidewalks, that are walkable, in Nashville.  In so doing, Shade Parade hopes to entice Nashvillians to get outside and use their bodies for transportation.  

At first glance, the article below would seem to have little connection to sidewalks.  But, actually it intimately reveals why we need to create a culture of walkability in our cities.

Tennessee is the second most obese state in the US.  

Greater than 30% of adults in Tennessee are obese.  We didn't start out that way…

One factor in this alarming shift towards obesity is the minimization of walkability sharply noted in Nashville.  The practicality  of just putting on a pair of shoes and hiking to your destination is fraught with trouble.  

Frankly, many drivers are hostile towards pedestrians.  Many locations in Nashville lack sidewalks out-right.  Some sidewalks are unsafe to walk or are inconsistent.  This lack of homogeneity  (see Sidewalk Project #1, #2, & #3 below) in walking paths leads to increased tension between drivers and walkers as pedestrians sometimes make seemingly erratic choices in when to cross streets and where to walk (see articles about pedestrian vs vehicle accidents below).  

Hillsboro Pike in Green Hills is a clear example.  It is, distance wise, very walkable.  But the obstacles are numerous.

So, what does a used T-shirt vendor in Western Kenya reflect about Nashville's walkability?  It is in our rate of obesity - our secondhand T-shirts sold in foreign countries are literally useless unless tailored down to fit. 

'They fit almost no one here'.

Having essentially a single option for transportation - the car - clearly is of limited benefit.  

The fact is - you have the right to walk.  And, walking may just be the best thing for you…

Source:  NPR

Copyright ©2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

All last week, we brought you the story of T-shirts commissioned by NPR's Planet Money Team. The story had many chapters, beginning in a cotton field in Mississippi. That cotton was then wound into yarn in Indonesia, sewn in Bangladesh and Colombia. And the finished shirts were shipped back to consumers here in the U.S. But what happens to our shirts when we're done with them?
Today, in our final story from the Planet Money series, The T-shirt Afterlife, we're going to hear from NPR's Gregory Warner and first, David Kestenbaum.

DAVID KESTENBAUM, BYLINE: When Jeff Steinberg was in high school, he played a lot of lacrosse which is why he had this shirt: A maroon and white tank top.

JEFF STEINBERG: Had Denver Lacrosse written on the front with a couple lacrosse sticks crossed. And my number that season was Number 5. So it had Number 5 on the back.

KESTENBAUM: Jeff wore the shirt for years - in the backyard, at the beach. Then one day he cleaned out his closet. We've all done this, worn and loved some piece of clothing and then decided it's time. Jeff took good old Number 5 down to Goodwill. He remembers the place - Miami, SW 146th Street near US 1. Which he thought was the end of things.
But then months later he was in Africa, Sierra Leone for work, walking down the street and he sees this guy selling ice cream and cold drinks, wearing a shirt. It's maroon and, yes, it has lacrosse sticks on it.

STEINBERG: It was Denver Lacrosse one and I thought, wow, this is like pretty crazy. He has this lacrosse jersey from that team.

KESTENBAUM: Then Jeff looked at the back of the shirt. And there was the Number 5 - his number.

STEINBERG: It was really a mindbender.

KESTENBAUM: Jeff tries to explain to the guy, hey, I know this shirt - I think it was mine. But the guy doesn't speak English and they part ways, leaving Jeff to wonder about the very strange journey his shirt must have taken.

STEINBERG: I spent a lot of time...

STEINBERG: ...thinking about that over the following days. It was just sort of beyond me how it could have gotten there.

KESTENBAUM: Well, Jeff, today we have an answer for you. Because it turns out it is not just your shirt. The Planet Money shirts, and a lot of our clothing, will eventually make this epic voyage. The U.S., in fact, is the largest exporter of used clothing in the world - over one billion pounds every year.
What happens is that charities like Goodwill, they just get far more clothes than they can use. So a lot of the clothes get sold in bulk, packed in bales, and sent across the ocean on a containership, where they begin an entire second life. Many of the bales are headed to Africa.
And here's where I'm going to pass things off to Gregory Warner, our correspondent in Kenya.

GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: I'm in a shed in downtown Nairobi, where some of those bales of clothes end up. This particular shed is a bit bigger than a two-car garage. It's stuffed from the dirt floor to the tin roof with bales. And at the door sits a woman named Jane Ireri. She's got tight blond braids. She's sipping sweet white tea.

WARNER: So I want to describe where you're sitting. I mean, so I found you here. You're sitting on a bench but you're surrounded essentially by, like, 70 bales?

JANET IRERI: Five-twenty bales.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Five hundred and twenty bales.

WARNER: There's 520 bales here?
Turns out she dug a whole sub-basement under her shack, with more than 200,000 pieces of used clothing she shipped in from New Jersey, London, Toronto. And it's all under here.

IRERI: Yeah.

WARNER: Once Jane sells each bale, it heads out the door straight into the biggest market in Nairobi. It's called Gikombo.

WARNER: There's a whole section of street just for denim, another boulevard of bras. We're, of course, on the street of T-shirts where vendors have laid out their wares on horse carts. And these shirts are washed. They're ironed. They're carefully folded. It's more like shopping at The Gap than Goodwill - only, if The Gap had a very strange product line.
Just to pick at random from one cart - there's a fundraising T-shirt for a cancer charity, a promotional shirt for The Not So Newlywed Game. A conventional souvenir shirt from Broadway New York. And, oh my God, Jennifer's Bat Mitzvah, November 20th, 1993. This shirt has been around. It's remarkably good condition though for being 20 years old.
Now, the original owners of these shirts, of course, had some connection to these things. They went to that bat mitzvah. They supported the charity. They visited Broadway at some point. So all these shirts were acquired and valued for reasons that cannot possibly apply here in Kenya.
What are you looking for? You seem like you're looking very closely - very quickly.

MARGARET WANJIKU: (Foreign language spoken)

WARNER: Margaret Wanjiku is a T-shirt vendor from Western Kenya. She's putting T-shirts in yes piles and no piles. She comes here to Gikombo every couple weeks by overnight bus. She buys as much as she can carry back to sell. And so, she told me through a translator, she has to be very careful about what she picks. She's not looking at the writing so much as the condition of the shirt.

WANJIKU: (Through Translator) I'm looking at the smartness of the T-shirt? And so, I'm guided by the quality and the condition of the T-shirt.

WARNER: And what about what's written on it, does that matter?

WANJIKU: (Through Translator) Yeah, I look at the writings because there are some writings that appear abusive and my customers may not like them.

WARNER: Abusive, what do you mean by abusive? For instance, that T-shirt over there says: I'm The Guy You Have To (CENSORED) To Get A Drink Around Here. So this, she would not buy because this is offensive, right? Or is this OK?

WANJIKU: (Foreign language spoken)

WARNER: What did she say?

WANJIKU: This may not be abusive.

WARNER: Not abusive, but it's committed an even worse sin.

WANJIKU: It seems to be so big it may not get a customer.

WARNER: It's size extra large. And here lies the wide gulf between the Western T-shirt market and the African physique. Many of the used shirts that pop out of a bale in Africa simply cannot be sold as is. They fit almost no one here.

Which is where this guy comes in.

FRANCIS MUNGAI: (Foreign language spoken)

WARNER: Francis Mungai commutes to Gikombo market every day from the Kariobangi slum of Nairobi. He carries a pair of scissors. His job, downsizing extra large T-shirts, now in a big pile at his feet. He picks up a faded black T-shirt for the heavy metal band Motorhead.

MUNGAI: (Foreign language spoken)

WARNER: OK. So you cut the sides off and you cut the bottom off.

MUNGAI: (Foreign language spoken)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You make it a small size, after that...

MUNGAI: Another color.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: And you make another color.

MUNGAI: Another color. Mm-hmm.

WARNER: Oh, you take another color.
The canary yellow sleeves from some other useless extra large - now echoing the yellow fringes of the Motorhead logo. This design choice is made in seconds. And then he hands the sleeves and the shirt to a seamstress named Caroline. She adds two more scraps from two other T-shirts, pale blue accent for the seam, turquoise for the collar.

WARNER: And as Caroline stitches all this together on her Singer machine, it's going to take a minute, so let's just pause to consider the first life of our Motorhead shirt. Assembled, in stages, all over the world, sold perhaps in the United States for top dollar at some show. Worn for years, but eventually discarded maybe on a pile in Goodwill.
The moment that shirt left the United States and got on a ship to Africa, it entered a whole new supply chain but reversed, because now, the finished shirt is the raw material imported to Kenya for 15 cents. Resold and sold again for 45. Someone got 12 cents to cut it up, 18 to tailor it, 14 to wash and iron, finally a vendor bought it for a dollar-20 to hawk it off to its future wearer, who, for just 2 or $3, owns a bespoke artisanal Motorhead shirt whose tag says XL, but fits like a small, with a cheerful blue collar and some rather jaunty yellow sleeves.
I'm Gregory Warner in Nairobi.

KESTENBAUM: And I'm David Kestenbaum, NPR News.

Nashville Codes - Sidewalk Width Minimum 32" from Edge to Obstruction

Rick Kirkpatrick, of Nashville Public Works, graciously fielded multiple questions about sidewalks in Nashville today.  

Nashville does not have a current 'rule' on sidewalk widths but they strive to follow the ADA guidelines.

According to the American Disability Act (ADA) guidelines, from the edge of the sidewalk to obstruction there should be a MINIMUM of 32".  


Preference for sidewalks is 5' with a green buffer zone…

very narrow passage due to bushes overhanging path

Cardboard recycling and bins
obstructing sidewalk

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sidewalk Project #3 - Walking From Woodlawn to Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN

Heading out on a cold day in the Chariot.

Taking Andie (4 yo) to school on foot. Our route will be Woodlawn Av to Compton, Sharondale to Woodlawn (again) to Natchez Trace, Blair to 24th Av S.  Woodlawn will be the most difficult on foot as it is narrow. 

Start time 10:19a, 0.88 miles, 2023 steps.

Woodlawn is very narrow.  It functions as a cut through.  Therefore, drivers go pretty fast.  

Biggest lesson learned:  on streets that are narrow and function as cut through - waving at every driver reduces tension.


                  There appears to be room for a sidewalk.

Turning onto Compton, heading north is a relief after Woodlawn.   

A walker is supposed to walk opposing traffic.  This sidewalk start will not require a mid-block dart/dash to reach its origin. 

Nice wide sidewalk near 440 overpass, heading north, Woodlawn

Heading north on Natchez 

Two things are quickly apparent on Natchez, heading north.    Sidewalk is infringed upon by utility poles/guy wire & trash bins in multiple locations.  The Trash bins occlude the sidewalk entirely.

Mid-sidewalk utility pole

Literally, cannot fit.

Bushes overlapping sidewalk.  

                            Sidewalk converted to a narrow path.

Turning west onto Blair, great wide sidewalk with green buffer.  

    Blair is perfect for walking and it shows - we passed plenty of pedestrians out walking. 

Sound Forest planting.  
 Nashville can be brutally hot in the summer months.  
Planting tree lined sidewalks would be ideal for pedestrian comfort.

                Tree lined sidewalks = Shade Parade!

Shade Parade!

Corner of 24th Av S and Belcourt.  

The utility pole leaves a blind spot for drivers who may be making a right turn from 24th onto Belcourt.  There is a moment, when you are completely behind the pole, that a driver would not be able to see you.  Drivers making turns are a source of potential conflict.  

50 minutes, 1.8 miles, 4117 steps.

A few more examples of trash cans occluding sidewalk.

Perk of a good long walk…sleeping baby.

Another example of utility pole and guy wires blocking sidewalk, Natchez

Fire hydrant mid-sidewalk, Natchez

Abutting a concrete wall, this utility pole and guy wire blocks walkway.  

             With a stroller, you must enter flow of traffic, Natchez

Note the many footsteps on this wide sidewalk
Overpass, 440, Woodlawn Dr.

On Compton, heading south.

Note the terminus of the sidewalk.  Due to sidewalk being on the west side of the road, to comply with pedestrian law of walking against traffic, one would have to perform a mid-block dart/dash to cross over.  This is one of the most prevalent sources of pedestrian/driver conflicts.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Sartorialist in Nashville - Images from the Sidewalk

The Sartorialist in Nashville
Images from the Sidewalk

Have you ever met anyone interesting while sitting in your car?


Walking allows you to meet interesting people…