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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Your Help is Needed: The New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act!

Please excuse the wholesale copy of the literature below but this needs to be shared amongst Shade Parade Nashville followers.

  The pedestrians of Nashville need your help.  

School children, in Nashville, need your help.  

Valuable lessons such as independence, direction, time management not to mention the pure joy of movement are learned when a child walks to school.  

You can help make this a reality in Nashville. 

If the following makes good sense to you - please ask your Representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 3978 today!  No need to delay - a quick click on the hyperlink (for Nashvillians) and a few words will do.  

Please let Shade Parade know if you encounter any difficulties.  And, please update us after you have emailed your support!

If you live in Nashville, I have included hyperlinks below to Jim Cooper, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, our representatives, to make emailing them a snap for you.

One of the biggest challenges to making communities more walkable and bikeable is that there’s often only enough funding to build one stretch of pathways or sidewalks at a time—meaning that there aren’t complete networks from homes to schools, workplaces or other destinations.

A new bill from Reps. Sires (D-NJ), Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Carson (D-IN), and Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) looks to change that. The New Opportunities for Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Financing Act (HR 3978) would allow communities to access low-cost loans to build bicycling and walking networks. This means a city could get a loan now and build a network of sidewalks, bike lanes and paths to improve safety and increase physical activity—and repay the loan over many years.

The bill sets aside $11 million from the existing $1 billion TIFIA loan program to test out this new financing program for bicycling and walking, so it doesn’t cost any extra money. Another innovative aspect of the bill is that 25 percent of any loaned funds must be spent in low-income communities. So, a city could borrow funds to make the downtown more walkable and bikeable—which is likely to increase revenues and the tax base—while also addressing safety concerns on the trip to school in low-income neighborhoods.

Help make sure your mayor and policymakers have access to a new way to finance safe streets for everyone—ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 3978 today!  

Nashville, for 2014, has allocated around $6-7 million dollars to sidewalks.  This money, per Public Works, has already been allocated - no new project money is available for 2014.  

Over the last 2 years, we have had 3 miles of new sidewalks created in Nashville.  3 miles for the whole city.  To put this in perspective, we have 2154 miles of roadway in Metro Nashville, with a sidewalk ratio of 0.35:1.  Compared to other cities of equivalent size, we rank very poorly. This is why Nashville is described as the 2nd worst walking city in America.  That is nothing to be proud of.  

So, here is a good opportunity to do something to help turn Nashville around and make it a more walkable community!

Email Nashville's representatives at:

Email Jim Cooper  (FYI - you will need you zip + 4 digits to do so therefore have a piece of mail ready).

Email Lamar Alexander

Email Bob Corker

Please let Shade Parade Nashville know what you think of this proposal!


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