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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1, Bowling Av: Guest Author Clif Shayne - Sidewalk Perspective from an 8th Grader



On one of the first beautiful days in February, I decided to walk down Bowling Avenue. My name is Clif Shayne. I am an 8th grader at University School of Nashville.


I started off walking down Golf Club Lane, where there are no sidewalks. There were not many cars, so it was not a big deal. But when I turned the corner onto Bowling Avenue, I discovered that it was not really a walk, it was more of an obstacle course. This image shows what walking down Bowling is like. I soon discovered that I was going to be in a ditch for most of my walk.





This picture shows not only that I had to walk in a ditch; I had to climb over obstacles. This is inconvenient for everybody. Walking down this street with a baby stroller is impossible. Good luck with that.



Walking down Bowling is dangerous for many various reasons. I was always close to cars that are going by at 35 mph or more. I did not feel safe and I had a feeling of anxiety throughout the walk. 




Imagine running or pushing a baby stroller over this. It is an accident or a rolled ankle waiting to happen. Walking down Bowling caused me to pay more attention than I should have during a walk because of things like this.


I didn’t have a radar gun, but it seemed like most cars were going over 35 mph. This is too fast for a neighborhood. This walk was one of the least relaxing strolls I’ve taken in a while.




This intersection was very chaotic. There were no pedestrian stripes, and no crossing signals. It was clearly not built for humans to walk on. I had to quickly run across so I got out of the way of the cars.





Overall, it was a bad experience. There is a sidewalk that starts at Brighton Avenue that goes to West End, but it only covers a pretty small portion of Bowling. It is basically a sidewalk to nowhere. By adding 7/10 of sidewalk all the way to Woodmont Boulevard, an entire neighborhood would be able to walk safely to Elmington Park. It would be so great for everyone to walk safely, get some easy exercise, and enjoy the neighborhood without a car. 


I am working on a school project to try to get a sidewalk on Bowling Avenue from Woodmont Boulevard to Brighton Road. I am trying to collect information about the neighberhood’s feelings about a potential sidewalk. Below is a link to a short survey about the topic. It would be greatly appreciated if you would take a minute or two to fill out the survey. The results will be posted on this blog. Thank you so much for your time!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9KKLXBM





Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cow Paths






Cow paths, a very ungenerous term, are created when many people walk along the same unpaved path creating a trail.  The more you walk in Nashville the more cow paths you will discover.  Cow paths are the natural reaction to superblocks. As a walker, typically, you are looking for the shortest way to get from point A to point B.  The example above is from the Green Hills public library's back lot to the strip mall that fronts Hillsboro with Starbucks and Kalamatas.




The Green Hills transportation plan has designs on breaking up some of these superblocks, common in Nashville beyond the 440 loop, to the great benefit to pedestrians.  


Compared to a cow path, doesn't this look much more inviting?  Frequently, I hear people say that sidewalks are not needed because they never see anyone out walking.  Therefore, the need is low.  The interest is low.  






I would argue that if the infrastructure is not designed for pedestrians - walking is actually discouraged.  And, in many places in Nashville walking frankly is dangerous.

Change is in order.  

On the surface, sidewalks may seem like a fairly unsexy and mundane topic but they have enormous power to dictate how you move.  Without them, you are far less likely to walk anywhere much to the chagrin of your cardiovascular system and psyche.  If more sidewalks in Nashville hold even a shred of interest for you - will you please like Shade Parade Nashville on Facebook?  

Engagement on FB is really important for continued exposure to feeds and for us to gauge interest.  I'll remind you that Nashville, when compared with other major cities, was ranked the 2nd worst walking city in America.  We need help - specifically your help!  Share and like Shade Parade Nashville stories.  Better yet, will you follow us on FB and Blogger?  

Currently, we have a single follower on our blog.  If you follow us - you can increase our number 100%!




Saturday, February 22, 2014

Green Hills Area Transportation Plan Includes Increased Sidewalks & Improved Walkability - Sidewalk Project #1, update





I am happy to introduce that the Green Hills Area Transportation Plan includes sidewalks on major arterial-Boulevard roads such as Hillsboro, Woodmont, Woodlawn and Bowling!  

The first thing that is readily apparent is the breaking up of some of the superblocks that makes walking in Green Hills difficult.  There are numerous examples of streets that just end in this area particularly off of Woodmont.  There is talk of extending Abbott Martin eastward so that it does not terminate into Hillsboro but continues on parallel to Richard Jones.  

I encourage you to look at the plan and keep an open mind.  These changes are good for walkers.
  

I often hear at these meetings someone complaining that sidewalks &/or bike lanes are not needed because no one currently uses them.  As you can imagine, if the infrastructure is not conducive to foot or bike traffic or if one feels unsafe - it does have limited use.  For example, currently on Hillsboro there are numerous obstacles in the actual sidewalk.  




The night time lighting is set for car height.  All signage and store fronts are designed for vehicle viewing and access. Before you can even visualize the store fronts - you have to traverse deep parking lots!



  

There is very little that says 'walk here' currently in the Green Hills Business District.  In fact, it seems to have been literally designed to say - stay away if you are on foot. And, people wonder why they rarely see a pedestrian in Green Hills!

And, yet, the actual distance between businesses is very doable on foot. For example, from Whole Foods to the Post Office is 1/2 mile.  I do my errands on foot when in Green Hills & am walking faster than traffic.  



I also heard that there are going to be B-cycles at the Green Hills YMCA so you could park and run your errands via bicycle. Nice!




Below are images of the proposed sidewalks in green.  


Directly in the middle, running up & down, is Bowling.  You can see that a portion is purple indicating where the sidewalk, on the west side of the street, ends.  Woodlawn and Woodmont are also proposed to be sidewalked!









If you want sidewalks for Nashville, this is the time to act.  Passivity is literally getting us nowhere.  In the last 2 years, only 3 new miles of sidewalks have been created.

The councilperson for Green Hills is Sean McGuire. His email is:  sean.mcguire@nashville.gov

I would encourage you to seek support, too, from your local councilperson.  The more people pushing for improvements in the Green Hills business district - the faster it will occur.  







   



Friday, February 21, 2014

Travel by Pedestrians is the Most Common Mode of Transportation Throught the World




Travel by pedestrians is the most common mode of transportation throughout the world.  According to David Byrne, who wrote Bicycle Diaries, 'A bike is the world's most used form of transportation'.  Either way, it appears the a car is NOT king when it comes to transportation around the world despite how it seems in Nashville.




This picture below, from The Plan of Nashville,   shows the relative amounts of space in a right-of-way occupied by forty people using various modes of transportation.






On the top left:  cars, bumper to bumper
On the top right:  people spaced as if they are in car

Bottom left:  people spaced as if they are in a mass transit vehicle
Bottom right: bikers and pedestrians.




In Nashville, the complaints about traffic are routine and fairly epic.  As you can see above, with more utilization of alternative modes of transportation, less physical space is required.  

Consider the image above next time you see a  pedestrian or bicyclist - and thank them for helping to relieve your traffic woes!  Better yet, support walkable sidewalk production in Nashville.  




Shade Parade is dedicated to increasing the walkability in Nashville.







Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1 - Bowling Av, Update





7 additional responses arrived last night:






17/62 responses so far






Bowling Av lacks sidewalks on the west side from Brighton to Woodmont.  It also lacks sidewalks on the east side, despite having a very high Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI), due to West End Middle School, from West End to Woodmont.  This covers 0.7 and 1.3 miles respectively.  


Brighton to Woodmont on Bowling - Note it is a 15 minute walk



West End to Woodmont on Bowling - a 26 minute walk




Directly on the other side of these thick bushes is West End Middle School.  It may purport to be welcoming to bicyclist but the impression is not inviting to walkers.

Bowling, with its location and width has a lot of potential.  One could imagine traffic calming green planter strips in the middle particularly near West End.  There are also areas that could be re-imagined as pocket parks such as the creek.







As the commenter notes below, walking on Bowling itself may not be essential unless you live directly on it.  But, as we take steps as a city towards connectivity, it needs to be recognized as a major feeder road for West End, Woodmont and Hillsboro - all areas of increased vehicular traffic.    




Comments to date:
  • Very Supportive - 4
  • Supportive - 9
  • Btwn Supportive & Neutral - 1
  • Neutral - 2
  • Against - 1 
  • Undeliverable - 5 (4 of which I am going to try to re-deliver)


  • Neutral
  • Between supportive and neutral: thank you for your informative letter.  I currently fall between #2 & 3 in my support for a sidewalk, as you can see.  We have recently spent quite a sum rebuilding the stone wall that runs in front of our property but actually sits on the easement.  Many thanks
  • Against, Bowling Av is heavily traveled by speeding cars.  I do not think it can be made safe due to the narrowness and the drainage issues.  It is not uncommon to clock cars driving 60 mph on Bowling.  I think no one truly needs to run or walk great distances on Bowling Av.  Additionally, several areas of Bowling are flanked by very deep ditches.  It would seem the cost of putting a sidewalk from Brighton to Woodmont would be prohibitive.  If it were vital to the neighborhood, I believe it would have been accomplished.  
  • Yes to sidewalks
  • Supportive
  • We would be supportive and would even consider contribution for sidewalk
  • Supportive, however, I would not like my rock wall destroyed where there is a rental property with no wall across the street.   Unfortunately, Frist's live on the other side of the street a bit down and doubt they want sidewalk in front of the house. 





Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Large Civic Project Financed by Property Owners and Real Estate Developers, Not the City of Nashville.










Woodmont Blvd 



Did you know that Woodmont Blvd was the first paved road in Davidson County? This article from 1964 mentions a repaving effort on "concrete boulevard," which was Woodmont's nickname for many years. 



In its heyday, Concrete Boulevard was often a training ground for young people learning to drive. The paving of Woodmont in 1916 was financed by property owners and real estate developers, not the city of Nashville.






This article is a gem.  It was sent to me by Adams Carroll of Walk/Bike Nashville (http://www.walkbikenashville.org).  

I am so curious about the precedent of individual landowners and developers coming together for big civic change such as the paving of a road.  Certainly, it would be preferable for Nashville to use our taxes to finance sidewalks but the progress has been woefully slow (3 new miles over the last 2 years).  

Will we come full circle and have individuals either pay to sidewalk their own house or join together with their neighborhood associations to sidewalk key streets?  Maybe a collaboration between private and public funding sources?  

Or, would it be best to start a foundation that allows individuals to donate to sidewalk formation citywide?  




Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1 - Bowling Av, Letter Update!





12/62 letters have returned about Sidewalk Project #1, completion of the sidewalk on Bowling Av, Nashville TN.







Domenico walks all the time.  Don't you wish you could, too?



12/62 


  • 4 were very supportive
  • 5 were supportive
  • 1 was neutral
  • 2 undeliverable

Comments included:
  • We are the only neighborhood in town where sidewalks come up to it and stop - from all directions.  We are a sidewalk desert!
  • I attended a meeting at Hillsboro High several years ago where individuals took surveys and input about sidewalks.  I talked to one of the 'surveyors' about private/public partnerships or private, and he discouraged the thought as 'discrimanatory'.  Thanks - we need a sidewalk on Bowling.  To reach the bus stop, you are required to walk on Wimbledon or West End…Bowling is not an option.
  • But would rather spend money on this as opposed to the AMP
  • Very opposed to the AMP
  • I am so glad you are doing this!  I have known that we need sidewalks on Bowling for a long time.  If you need any help please contact me.  
  • I would encourage our tax payer dollars to be spent on this awesome idea!  Please feel free to use all of my ditch for this purpose (as I live on Bowling and a large portion of my lot is on Bowling).  I do not support AMP as I have never ever witnessed more than 6 people on any bus along West End!  I do however support bike lanes - real bike lanes and sidewalks.  Thank you.
  • I would not like to see any tax increase or other expense.


Just for the record, Shade Parade finds it curious that people are telling us their opinions about the AMP.  

Although, personally, I am a big supporter of the AMP, this particularly project has no formal relationship with the AMP.  For full disclosure, I have met with Hodgson Douglas, the landscape architects/urban planners working for the AMP, to discuss sidewalks on Bowling Av, as they have funding for improvement on feeder streets.  Bowling would certainly be a good feeder street for the AMP.  Hodgson Douglas and our Councilmen are interested in the response from these letter in regard to neighborhood support for sidewalks on Bowling Av and will get a file containing the comments and results.  





Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why Don't Teens Walk?




It's not necessarily teenagers' fault that they're not more active, researchers say.  

A surprising number of parents are concerned about traffic. "They don't want their kids to go out because traffic is so bad. There's no safe place to cross the street".

We allowed the designing out of pedestrians in most cities.  We have created spaces that are almost impassable on foot.



Nashville has been guilty of this design mistake.  We also suffer from > 30% obesity in our city population.  With obesity, comes multiple co-morbidities - all very expensive to the individual and the community at large.  

So, why not change this?



Shade Parade is dedicated to increasing access to sidewalks in Nashville



Source:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/02/03/268342478/most-teens-arent-active-enough-and-its-not-always-their-fault


Most Teens Aren't Active Enough, And It's Not Always Their Fault


Sure, you think, my kid's on a football team. That takes care of his exercise needs, right? Probably not.
"There are these bursts of activity," says Jim Sallis, a professor of family and preventive medicine at the University of California, San Diego. "But if you think about it, one hour of playing football out on the field means that the vast majority of that time is spent standing around waiting for the next play."
And that's a problem, federal health officials say, because children need at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
"We know that physical activity in childhood strengthens your bones, increases your muscle mass," says Tala Fakhouri, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It also has effects on psychological well-being in kids and teens. It increases their capacity for learning, their self-esteem and it may also help them deal with stress."
The findings are worrisome in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic, Sallis says. There's increased evidence that children who are overweight are more likely to be obese as adults.
But just one in four young teenagers between ages 12 and 15 actually get that one hour of exercise every day, Fakhouri says. She analyzed federal health data gathered from 800 teenagers in 2012.
While kids may be active in childhood, it's typical to see a decline as they move into their teen years. "We know, for example, that sedentary behaviors like watching TV are the single biggest contributor to physical inactivity in adolescence," Fakhouri says.
But it's not that teenagers no longer enjoy sports.
In the study, teenage boys said their favorite physical activities outside of gym class were basketball, running, football, bicycling and walking. Girls favored running, walking, basketball, dancing and bicycling.
Most studies of physical activity find boys more active than girls, and this one was no different. It found that 27 percent of boys and 22.5 percent of girls got the recommended one hour of exercise daily. That includes gym class, organized activities and play.
It's not necessarily teenagers' fault that they're not more active, researchers say.
Parents worry about safety when their kids go outside. They worry about bullying from other kids and crime in urban neighborhoods. Sallis adds that a surprising number of parents are concerned about traffic. "They don't want their kids to go out because traffic is so bad. There's no safe place to cross the street," he says.
But organized classes or teams aren't the only option.
Families can make small changes in their schedule to build in more exercise, Fakhouri says. "You can take a long walk after dinner. You can take your dog on long walk. Play basketball, dance together."
And with many schools reducing or cutting out PE, Sallis says parents may have to put pressure on the schools, too.
"Look at what's happening in PE," Sallis says. "If they're not going out at all or very much, complain about that. If you see PE class and it's not very active, inform the principal that that's not acceptable."
Bottom line: Physically active kids become physically active adults. And that's another critical reason, Sallis says, to help your kids get out and get moving.




Friday, February 14, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1 - Bowling Av, Update on Neighborhood Letters




8/62 letters returned yesterday in the mail!







  • 3 were very supportive
  • 4 were supportive
  • 1 was neutral

Comments included:
  • We are the only neighborhood in town where sidewalks come up to it and stop - from all directions.  We are a sidewalk desert!
  • I attended a meeting at Hillsboro High several years ago where individuals took surveys and input about sidewalks.  I talked to one of the 'surveyors' about private/public partnerships or private, and he discouraged the thought as 'discrimanatory'.  Thanks - we need a sidewalk on Bowling.  To reach the bus stop, you are required to walk on Wimbledon or West End…Bowling is not an option.
  • But would rather spend money on this as opposed to the AMP
  • Very opposed to the AMP
  • I am so glad you are doing this!  I have known that we need sidewalks on Bowling for a long time.  If you need any help please contact me.   








Thursday, February 13, 2014

Benefits of Spending on Infrastructure - Why Wait?!?!



Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary & Obama economics chief, favors big public spending on infrastructure as a relief strategy for our economy.

Places like JFK Airport are falling apart.  Construction unemployment is double digit.  Interest rates are less than 3%!  

As a country, we talk about educating our children, decreasing obesity, making our cities attractive to innovation and economy but meanwhile we hesitate to invest.  But why wait?

Infrastructure pays for itself.  It directly stimulates spending.  It puts people to work while creating places Americans want to be.

'The strongest investment that can be made is in public infrastructure'.  Shade Parade Nashville agrees!  And, if government won't do it - cannot the people?  People donate, here in Nashville, to large civic organization such as Cheekwood or The Frist Museum but what about a foundation to build sidewalks?  This is part of what Shade Parade Nashville hopes to create.



Larry Summers ideas are not new ideas but they are just as meaningful today as they have been throughout history.  The Works Progress Administration did similar spending on infrastructure as a way to employ people & improve the country. 

At this time, there is a lot of focus entirely on debt reduction but, meanwhile, waiting to maintain infrastructure is going to make future upkeep actually more expensive.  Anyone who owns a home understands this.  If you wait to fix the leaking roof - it actually will cost you more due to additional damage that occurs over time.

  




Infrastructure pays for itself.  Interest rates are at an all time low of less than 3%.  



Here in Nashville, we have many luxuries thanks to the WPA.  Percy Warner Park was constructed during the New Deal era (1933-1938).





Consider infrastructure spending on sidewalks now to help make Nashville a more walkable livable community.

For more information see:  Ask your representatives to support infrastructure spending in regards to sidewalks & bike lanes

Sources:

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2014/02/06/larry-summers-economy-federal-reserve-stagnation