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Monday, March 31, 2014

West End MIddle School PTO Meeting…Delayed Until Tomorrow

Tonight, Trish Mixon and I were supposed to speak at the PTO meeting at West End Middle School at 5:30pm.  Unfortunately, the meeting was moved to tomorrow (4/1/2014).  

If anyone can come to support us - we would love it.  It will likely be short - just an introduction to the Bowling Av Sidewalk Pilot Project and to get people excited about our public meeting being held on 4/23/14…

Here is a very rough copy of my prepared talk - I made it but planned on just winging it once there…


Thank you allowing us a few minutes of your time.

I am a pediatric allergist at Vanderbilt, mother of 3, neighbor of West End Middle School and, on the side, run a blog focused on sidewalks in Nashville called Shade Parade Nashville.

Through my work as a pediatric allergist, I became interested in the state of sidewalks in Nashville.   I have noticed children with, for example, asthma do worse on poor air quality days and also when they concurrently suffer from obesity.

As a blogger about sidewalks, I have learned that Nashville has been voted the 2nd worst walking city in the US by the Huffington Post and has the 2nd lowest sidewalk to roadway ratios compared to other cities polled according to our Davidson County Strategic Sidewalk Plan created in 2003 and updated in 2008.

The obesity rate in the US has essentially quadrupled in the last 40 years while the number of children walking to school has dropped 30% during the same time period.

When parents are polled about their reluctance to allow children to walk to school - safety is sited consistently.

We therefore seemingly have the perfect storm in Nashville - a lack of pedestrian infrastructure helping to create an environment that makes it a challenge to walk, leading to increased car use, which then leads to increased poor air quality days and obesity both of which further dissuade people from getting out and walking.

Therefore, Trish Mixon and I created a pilot project to complete the sidewalk on Bowling Av to its terminus at Woodmont Av. As you know, West End Middle School has no sidewalk along its western side because the sidewalk ends at West End Av.  Jeff Keith, your principal, has been very supportive of this idea and suggested that we come and talk with you tonight.  

We have also discussed the idea to our Councilmen Jason Holleman and Sean McGuire.  Sean has graciously agreed to add it to the Capital Budget (essentially a wish list).  We have discussed easement issues with Public Works and have been assured there are no issues that would delay the project.  Lastly, and most importantly, we have written a letter to gauge support to each house that would be effected on Bowling and have had overwhelming support.  

We are asking for the support of parents and students to get this project done.  We invite you to come to a public meeting we are holding on April 23rd, at 630p, here in the library.


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