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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Sidewalk Foundation is Official!

The Sidewalk Foundation and Shade Parade Nashville are dedicated to bring high quality well designed sidewalk infrastructure to Nashville.  Nashville has, historically, been a place where little planning has been devoted to walkability.  

We hope to change this!


We are now an official 501 ( c) 3 having accomplished non-profit status! 


Maybe your New Year's resolution is to be more active &/or contribute, in a greater way, to your community. 

Web site should be open January 1st!  One of the biggest limitations in creating well designed sidewalk infrastructure is funding.  This is where we hope to come in.

Open soon for donations…

Let's make Nashville more walkable.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

What Can Change An Avid Active Commuter?

As many of you know, I write about pedestrian issues.  Occasionally, I'll veer off into a related topic that still falls under the umbrella of 'active transport' such as bicycle riding.  As a (new!) board member of Walk/Bike Nashville & someone who attends the Metro Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meetings I hear more than my share of bike concerns and thought the story below was well worth some consideration.  Importantly, this is a blow by blow account of why a smart and dedicated bicycle rider would quit riding.  It is a lesson to a changing city and a warning combined.


Pinar Polat is a child neurology resident at Vanderbilt Medical Center.  I had heard about Pinar as she was known as an ardent  bike rider - someone who rode to work in the dark, in the winter, in the rain, when on call.

Intern year, she lived close to the hospital.  Close enough to walk which she did daily with some caution.  Second year, she moved to Germantown, 2.5 miles from Vanderbilt's campus and began riding her bike to work.   The cars scared her some but she arrived at work with a lack of frustration and a feeling it was worth it.  In our conversation, she must have said 10 times that riding made her 'happy'.

To be fair, Pinar has no memory of the event that changed here impression of bicycle riding in Nashville.  Witnesses called 911, an ambulance came but no police report was filed.  Later, no on sought to contact the individuals who reported her accident.  No officer  checked the security or traffic cameras.  The last thing Pinar remembers is being at work, rounding.  Next thing - waking up in a trauma unit.  


I am purposefully calling it an event since the details of what actually happened are unclear.  The thing we do know is on June 18th, at Church and 21st, Pinar was in some sort of accident on her bicycle.  This accident left her with both retrograde and anterograde amnesia.  She had 2 small subarachnoid bleeds.  It crushed her wrist.  The bike was damaged.  And, the medical bills were not small.  

Ironically, this event occurred near the medical new year - a handful of days before July 1st, when she was to transition to her adult neurology training.  On a positive note, the event has left her with a sense of insight and appreciation for her patients.  She has found it very humbling.  Her parents had to come.  Her mom stayed for 2.5 months to care for her.  Without her mother's help managing the house, Pinar is not sure she would have been able to rejoin work so quickly.   She took 3 weeks off work & then started back with a reduced schedule that built day by day.  She had a distal ulna fracture and a severe distal radius crush injury requiring plates and screws.  Her mom ended up having to bathe her for the 1st few weeks.  She had to do complete mental bed rest for a time.  

Now, she feels she is a little forgetful but essentially 100% recovered mentally.  Her wrist, sadly, has lost some rotation ~ roughly 85% effective.  Returning to work was difficult - she had a sense of letting the team down and had to learn the ropes at double speed since everyone else had made the transition weeks prior.  


Pinar describes the event as 'eye opening' as, to her opinion, bike riders are considered '2nd or even 3rd class citizens' in Nashville.  It was incumbent on her to file a police reports.   But due to the brain injury,  she was not oriented at the time of the accident and the following 3 weeks were to be low stress.  Frankly, at the time, it didn't occur to her to file a report.

In addition, it appears she was not actually struck by a car so little for police to pursue.   The leading theory is that she had to take drastic action to avoid being hit.  I believe a critical part in this story is the police response or lack of.  No report was filed.  No investigation.  When Pinar had recovered enough to pursue the matter - she was shuttled from department to department with the sense of 'no one cared'.  She reports she was not naive -'she didn't think Nashville was a super bike friendly city' - but no one took on her case.  No one collected information from the witnesses.  No traffic or security cameras were checked.  Eventually, she was directed to the Hit and Run Unit but because it appeared she was not actually hit - the case was not pursued.  


At this time, she has not gotten back on her bike.  It was damaged and she hasn't found the time to fix it.  For her, biking was 'her thing' and it 'made her happy'.  But now she is unwilling to 'take a chance' and she 'doesn't trust Nashville drivers'.  

For a woman who loves to sleep (common among residents who work long hours with little time off), she used to wake 15 minutes early to ride to work on her bike.  Now, due to safety concerns, she arrives to work frustrated along with all the other drivers.  She is keenly aware of the risks involved and of not being able to take more chances.  

In closing, Pinar notes, 'Nashville is changing fast…it is going to need better infrastructure  in the future to support it'.


Friday, December 19, 2014

Remembering Elena Zamora.

Remembering Elena Zamora.

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.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

What the Locals of Nashville Already Know…#8 is most pertinent to pedestrians.

From Style Blue Print:

If you are a walker in Nashville you will recognize this to be a BIG issue like the back of your hand.  Why are speed limits so ubiquitously fast? Why would they be so fast on side streets where people walk or ride without access to sidewalks???  

I encourage you to write to your mayor and to your councilperson when you feel a street is too fast for pedestrians to walk safely and comfortably.


8) You can’t understand why neighborhood speed limits are so high.

Walking a neighborhood in Nashville can feel perilous at times. With neighborhood speed limits at 30 MPH, which matches many of the speed limits on some local business streets, and with the addition of a seemingly 100% penetration of cell phones in the past decade, there’s good reason to feel this way! Parents want to send their kids outside, but cars drive way too fast, usually a good 10 MPH over the speed limit, in our neighborhoods. School speed zones, to protect kids, are 15 MPH. But in our neighborhoods, you are legally able to drive double that speed. Slow down, people! And, please, can we get that speed limit lowered to 25 MPH?
Speed Limit 30 signs Nashville TN
Nashville’s speed limit signs: on left near the Hill Center in Green Hills; on the right on Richland Ave, in an old Nashville neighborhood.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

West Nashville's Pedestrians About to Get a Turn?

There has been a lot of energy poured into East Nashville, The Gulch and 12th South.    Is West Nashville about to get its turn?  The proposed I-440 Greenway, shown below, is being discussed and it is really amazing.  Sounds like right-of-way issues have been mostly worked out.  Now, we just need the mayor and council to fund it. 

And, as a pedestrian advocate - I would say this is the biggest boost to walkability - affecting the most Nashvillians - that I have heard of to date. 

The proposed cost is less than the Gulch Pedestrian Bridge (which I support) so it seems reasonable & tangible.  
Take a minute to look at the proposal, then run (for once, don't walk) to write or call your council person to request support.  

This could be city wide game changer.  Maybe we could change our Nashvillian average of 3 active minutes per day into a much healthier number & encourage more commuters to walk.   

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Average Nashvillian Completes 3 Active Minutes Per Day - Sad.

Today, at the BPAC (Bike/Pedestrian Advisory Committee) I heard a very interesting statement.  The average Nashvillian accomplishes 3 active minutes per day.  This was from a study the MPO conducted via surveying over 6000 households, a portion of which wore accelerometers.

I quickly checked my Fitbit…after a busy clinic day at work at Vanderbilt followed by a quick trip over to the courthouse for the BPAC meeting I had exactly met the Nashvillian average.


In my mind, this argues for better infrastructure that promotes walkability.  It also strongly argues for leadership that puts walkers and bikers 1st so that they feel safe, comfortable and able to incorporate active transport into their day in a real way - every day.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

Being Thankful For Legs in Nashville - Your New Year's Resolution?

Two weeks ago, I met with Dana Tardy Manno, a Nashvillian who was struck by a car while walking. She was in a crosswalk with 2 friends - just crossing the street.  The right-of-way was theirs.  The light was red but the driver ran it.  

This was in August of 1990.  Eight months later, she was released from the hospital.  Another four months were spent in and out of the hospital.  An additional eight months to learn to walk normally.     

Her injuries included a skull fracture, pelvic fracture, severe lower leg fractures and damage to her soft tissues requiring muscle flaps, bone and skin grafts.  She had steel rods placed.  Complications with infections delayed her healing and required further skin grafts.  

The driver who hit Dana was arrested and continues to have his wages garnished to this day in retribution.  


All in all, she was out of school for a full year but she finished to prove 'she could win'.

The interesting thing about Dana is, over time, this accident has left her with a firm belief if walking.  She has become an avid walker here in Nashville which is sometimes questioned.  People tend to ask her 'if she is scared' for which she responds 'whenever you have a life changing event you realize that life is short'. 

'I love my legs.  People do not realize how important legs are.  We fight wars now for oil - but, what about just going back to the days of walking?'


Today, she is interested in helping to promote walkability in Nashville.  She is noticing that the city is becoming more dense and much busier with cars.  As a native Nashvillian, things have changed and she notes they will continue to do so.  'But, I am not giving up my place as a walker'.

At the same time, she has two daughters and she is cautious about walking with them.  I am 'not going to let them walk with no shoulder'.  She notes that Kenner Av, her street, had traffic calming measures installed after a little girl was struck and killed on this known cut-through where people used to drive at high speed.  

She states that she has a 'hard time with change since her accident but change is happening' in Nashville - if it leads to 'being able to walk more' she will be pleased.

'I love to walk…I love to feel alive'.

It's a competition!
It's a great New Year's Resolution!

Dana is going to be volunteering with our 
Call In Campaign to Public Works
You can too!

Mark your calendar!
January 9th-16th

  • Look for the site most in need of a sidewalk.
  • Call in to Public Works and request a sidewalk at the location of your choice between 1/9 & 1/16/2015
  • Drop a pin at (site opens 1/1/2015)
  • Watch the pins accumulate - will your neighborhood win?

This is a great way to call attention to a site that is in need of a sidewalk and also to let Public Works know:  Nashville Needs Sidewalks!

Opens 1/1/2015

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Good News for Walkers!

Good news for walkers in the Nashville area…all a long it has felt like the desire to create a more walkable city was 'in the air'. 

Help keep it 'in the air' by calling Public Works and requesting a sidewalk in your area.  

Bikeshare, greenways, bus stations share in $10 million

A greatly expanded federal fund will boost 10 non-traditional transportation projects in the Nashville area, including to extend several greenways and trails and to create a new bikeshare program in Williamson County.
Nearly $10 million was awarded Wednesday by theNashville Metropolitan Planning Organization for so-called “active transportation” efforts.
That’s nearly quadruple the amount the MPOhanded out in 2012, when the agency first set aside money specifically for nonmotorized projects that diversify travel options and improve health.
“We’re seeing a change,” said Leslie Meehan, MPO director of healthy communities. “Bicycle and pedestrian facilities are really seen as economic development strategies now.”
The largest grant, of almost $2.25 million, went to Nashville’s bus system to create two new “transit hubs” on Clarksville Pike in North Nashville and Nolensville Pike in South Nashville.
In those places, where some of the city’s busiest bus lines intersect, officials want to provide more than benches for riders. Plans call for heated waiting areas and restrooms, more lighting and improvements for pedestrians walking to the stations.
The second-largest grant went to the Franklin Transit Authority, providing $2 million for a bikeshare program that will be larger than Nashville’s B-Cycle system.
The smallest grant — and one-of-a-kind in what it will pay for — went to Berry Hill.
Instead of construction money, like the other awards, Berry Hill will get $125,000 to study how to accommodate walking and bicycling amid the rapid construction taking place along Franklin Pike between Wedgewood Avenue and Berry Road.
“It’s a little bit catchup and a little bit get-out-in-front. We know we need pedestrian improvements,” said Joe Baker, city manager. “Fortunately, you can usually get up and down without the sidewalks. But it’s not especially hospitable and not particularly accessible.”
Reach Tony Gonzalez at 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @tgonzalez.
Funding for active transportation projects
Active transportation” is daily travel powered by human energy, including walking, biking and taking transit (which often involves walking). The Nashville MPO began setting aside federal funds for such projects in 2012.
$2.25 million to create bus transit hubs on Clarksville Pike and Nolensville Pike in Nashville.
$2 million for a Franklin and Cool Springs bikesharing program.
$1.6 million for just less than a mile of multiuse trail on Highway 31 in White House.
$1.2 million for two miles of sidewalks in Mt. Juliet between the Providence Greenway and Jerry Mundy Park.
$1 million to create 2,000 feet of greenway in Sumner County between Saundersville Station and Station Camp School.
$560,000 for four miles of sidewalks in 13 areas in Gallatin.
$413,000 for a Nolensville trailhead, bridge and multiuse trail.
$320,000 for bicycle and pedestrian amenities along South Lowry Street in Smyrna.
$124,000 for community planning about the future of Franklin Pike in Berry Hill.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Shade Parade Nashville/The Sidewalk Foundation + Walk Bike Nashville!

Shade Parade & The Sidewalk Foundation gets word out about need for sidewalks on Walk Bike Nashville!

I MOVE to be a good role model for my kids.

Written by: Trisha Ping

There are lots of benefits to an active lifestyle, but one of the biggest might be setting a good example for your children. Dr. Stacy Dorris, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt School of Medicine, makes getting out and about with her family a priority—even when it doesn’t come easy. She has become one of the city’s most outspoken advocates for pedestrian safety, launching a one-woman campaign to expand the city’s sidewalk network, which currently covers less than 25% of the roadways.

How do you MOVE to stay healthy and what do you enjoy most about it?
I hike on the weekends and take regular exercise classes. It creates a well-rounded workout, which I love. I always try to take the stairs and park as far away as possible at work. This builds activity into days that are fairly sedentary. In addition, I love to walk outdoors and the inherent serendipity of running into a friend or seeing something unique, such as an interesting garden or a new business, is its own reward. 

Why do you think it's important for parents to model healthy living for their children
Modeling healthy living is a great gift you can give to your children. Plus, it’s fun. Your children are going to grow up and come into their own. They will need to choose a life for themselves. If they have seen their family engaged in an active lifestyle with its subsequent pleasures, they will have this as part of the range of options they see as possible.

What's your favorite active family activity?
We love to take the dog for a walk, hike in Percy Warner Park and go swimming. We also have a game called “Team Proctor” where we race up and down the driveway—pretty simple, but loads of fun on a warm summer night.

What do you think is the biggest obstacle to getting out and about with your family in Nashville?
The crazy quilt that is our sidewalk network is a big issue. There is little consistency and lots of irregularities that make walking more of an obstacle course experience. Add children into this mix and you get a serious feeling that their safety is in jeopardy. One fall and they are in the road. It is very nerve-racking as a parent. If a role of government is to help people stay safe—pedestrians are definitely getting the short end of the stick in Nashville. 

What changes would you want to see?
Pedestrians should be given the highest consideration—they are out there on foot! Other cities have made a conscious decision to make pedestrians their highest priority. Nashville would do itself a huge service to adopt this idea. We could be the first and best walking city in the South!

Creating walkable communities is an important part of Walk/Bike Nashville’s mission.  Each October, Walk/Bike Nashville hosts Walk Nashville Month to help engage pedestrians and bring awareness to pedestrian issues.  Across the city, various events are held that promote walking for fun, exercise, and transportation.  In 2014, Walk/Bike Nashville featured over 25 events including one of our most successful Walk to School Days yet where over 11,000 students from over 60 schools walked to school with their teachers, parents, and community members!

Walk/Bike Nashville is committed to advocating for safe sidewalks, educating road users on pedestrian rights, and bringing attention to pedestrian concerns through efforts such as Walk Nashville Month.  Your donation to Walk/Bike Nashville will help keep pedestrians a priority in our city!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sidewalk Campaign - Coming Soon To Nashville!

Hello sidewalk fans of Nashville…I am fast working on a web site for The Sidewalk Foundation and planning a call in campaign to Public Works.  


Mark your calendar - the week starting with Jan 9th (Fri) through Jan 16th (Fri) is going to be our 1st ever call in campaign.  

Public Works has communicated that they take telephone requests for sidewalks in very high regard.  Call in your request & then drop a pin on the soon to be created website.  

Over the next few weeks note where a sidewalk is needed to make connection in your community…then call in and drop that pin.


Do you plan to have a New Year's resolution of walking more?  Want to do something truly unique in your community?  Want to give to a very neglected and underfunded yet vital component of your city?  

  • Consider committing to being a sidewalk advocate in your neighborhood.
  • Consider a donation to The Sidewalk Foundation.
  • Call Public Works from 1/9-1/16 for Nashville's 1st ever call in campaign for sidewalks!!!
  • Get out and walk -> see the challenges & the rewards.


Web site coming Jan 1st 2015

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Shade Parade!

Happy 1st Anniversary Shade Parade Nashville!

Yesterday, marked 1 year of hard work and critical thinking about sidewalks in Nashville.  

Many things have been learned and I now know that I still have a very long way to go…when your heart is for better walkability - you must be prepared to take the longer path.  


 A friend said she had never thought about sidewalks or walkability before.  But, since reading this blog, her consciousness had been raised.  Now, she sees walkability issues all around and finds them worrisome.  This was the best compliment I received all year as this is part of my goal - to get you to see how hard it is to be a pedestrian in Nashille.  In doing so, I hope to make you into a pedestrian advocate who will work to make things better.

If I was able to raise your consciousness about pedestrians and sidewalks in Nashville - I will count my work a success.


Here is a breakdown of my work so far (start date 11/2013):

- Creation of Shade Parade Nashville, a blog dedicated to raising awareness of walkability issues in Nashville, 11/2013

- Attend Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meetings, every other month, Metro Courthouse, starting 1/2014

- Surveyed neighborhood of my sidewalk pilot project, Bowling Av, via both letter and on-line survey with results of 92% support of sidewalking this road, 3/2014

- Held a public Meeting to discuss the need for improved walkability with 9 guest speakers, numerous public officials and council people in attendance. 70 neighborhood citizens in attendance, 4/2014

- Presented at Research Club on the need for enhanced walkability in Nashville and the current limitations, 6/2014;

- Created The Sidewalk Foundation, a non-profit to raise funds for new sidewalks in Nashville, 6/2014

- Interviewed in The Scene:


- Volunteer at local Farmer's Market, working to engage citizens on walkability issues, 3rd Saturday of each month, Vine St Market on West End, 7/2014

- Volunteered with The Nations, in their demonstration project of a road diet, 8/2014

- Interviewed for Streetsblog

- Interviewed for The Tennessean, 9/2014

- Citizens Police Academy, 8/2014 - 11/2014.  To learn what the police are doing in regards to the safety of pedestrians

- Primary host of The Mayoral Candidate Coffee on Walkabilty. All 5 mayoral candidates were present to discuss their solutions to walkability, 10/2014

- Walk [Your City] Campaign in Green Hills, 10/2014

- Voted Best Community Organizer, The Scene, 10/2014;

- Unanimously voted to become a member of the board, Walk/Bike Nashville, 10/2014

- Primary host of Pedestrian Paradise, an event for Walk Month Nashville & Artober, 10/2014

- Guest Speaker, The Sierra Club/5K for Clean Air;


I was warned that getting involved with sidewalks was grueling and somewhat soul crushing.  I have definitely had my fair share of negativity thrown my way.  A good example of this is:

But, I have also met some wonderful people who are truly passionate about walkability and there are many citizens who really want a better sidewalk network here in Nasvhille.  In fact, I would say the majority of do.

Let's hope that the upcoming year shows some real progress.  Plan is for a website, Kickstarter campaign, proposed change in the in-lieu fee requirements, Public Works call in campaign, design competition AND fund raising for specific sidewalk projects. 


Let's get some beautiful sidewalks built in Nashville!


We need a good website --- if you can help - please let me know!