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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Survey Regarding Sidewalks in Nashville

Shade Parade is dedicated to improving walkability in Nashville via high quality sidewalks. 

We are gathering data in order to support our argument that Bowling Av, as does all of Nashville, would be vastly improved with a sidewalk.  Please take a moment and let us know your thoughts.



Monday, April 28, 2014

The best argument yet!

Sidewalks are, admittedly, not a very considered element in the built environment.  They are not really considered sexy.  But, they have a huge impact on your day to day life, your relationships, and your health.  

If you have never thought much about sidewalks - I encourage you to watch this video.  It is well worth your time…

The best argument yet!

After watching the video above - Please take a few moments to fill out a survey about sidewalks in Nashville:


Shade Parade Nashville is dedicated to increasing walkability in Nashville via high quality sidewalks.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Current Use is Not a Reflection of Future Use

Current use does not = future use.

   If infrastructure is poor, use will be low.

Honestly, places like this image above do not invite pedestrians.  The scale is all wrong.  It is uncomfortable to walk here.  It feels unsafe.  The argument that people do not currently walk much in an area like this, which happens to be on the main shopping areas in Green Hills, and therefore investing in the infrastructure is not needed really isn't a fair one.  

I actually want to walk here - a lot!  It was my New Year's Resolution to do all errands in Green Hills on foot.  Even though it is uncomfortable, sometimes a bit dicey and sometimes plain hard - I prefer it to sitting in my car - & I feel like I am doing my part to reduce vehicle traffic. 

Case in point, the Gulch in Nashville.  The Gulch wasn't really much 10 years ago.  Now, it is a dense rich area that is quite fun to walk around in.  So, prior 'use' doesn't have much bearing on future 'use' if the infrastructure makes a dramatic change for the better.  


My neighborhood actually has an opposite issue.  We have the walkers - we just don't have the infrastructure at key junctures.  

Our large walking population is due to our quiet tree covered streets.  But, there are severe barriers such as crossing/walking along Bowling Av, that make walking in a logical loop a challenge.  We are prone to superblocks - no easy cut throughs around here.  In addition, we have Woodmont Blvd - a reasonable connector to both West End/Harding and Hillsboro Village/Green Hills via Hillsboro Pk - but, without sidewalks, is essentially unwalkable.  


So, to say current pedestrian use on Bowling Av is low and therefore it does not need a sidewalk is not an accurate picture of the volume of walkers who would use the sidewalk if Bowling had one. 


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Walking on Woodmont, Nashville - Sidewalk Project #6, Woodmont Av

I can say, with all sincerity, that walking on Woodmont Av in Nashville is NO FUN!

Without sidewalks it is truly unwalkable. You cannot walk on the road due to little shoulder and the speed of the cars (40 mph).  And you cannot really walk well on the grass.  The landscaping certainly says to a pedestrian 'DO NOT WALK HERE' and it is fraught with numerous obstacles.  

But, the area, next to the road is a right-of-way.  As an individual, I have the right to walk there.  If I could walk there, I would have an easy path to walk to my work at One Hundred Oaks Medical Center, to the public library with my kids, to Green Hills, to Harding Rd/West End…

As I tried to walk it, I wondered how residents of this street do simple tasks such as walk their dogs?  Do they get to know each other? I imagine that there is little chance of running into a neighbor except for possibly at the mailbox.    

It really is a shame, too, that it is essentially unwalkable, as it is a pleasant wide street with grand houses and within walking distance to Green Hills and West End/Harding Rd.  

Certainly, there is plenty of room for sidewalks and it doesn't appear that there are major drainage issues.  One hardship to overcome would be the speed of traffic (40 mph) but as long as their was a wide green tree lined buffer between the road and the sidewalk - it may not really matter on Woodmont as much as it does on small, more narrow roads. 

As it stands, walking on Woodmont poses a real safety risk.   


But the question of funding seems to be the stopping point in discussions about sidewalk production in Nashville.  At this point, it is a rare individual who is actually against them.  So, how do we, as a city, obtain more funding for sidewalks?


Do we do it ourselves?  Create a Sidewalk Foundation?  

There is actually precedence for the idea of public space being privately funded…Woodmont was the 1st paved street in Nashville and the paving was funding by the residents and developers of the street not the city of Nashville.  

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.


Could this not occur again - almost 100 years later - this time to fund sidewalks on Woodmont if the city will not do it?


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Strongest Argument I Have Seen.

This pretty much says it all…

Nashville is currently ranked the 2nd worst walking city in the US.  Nashville also resides in the 2nd most obese state in the US.



Shade Parade Nashville is dedicated to increasing walkability in Nashville through access to well designed high quality sidewalks.

This could be the strongest argument out there for funding sidewalks.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Public Meeting, 4/23, Sidewalk Project #1, Bowling Av

Last night was an overwhelming success.  We had many councilpeople and public works in attendance.  We had great line-up of guest speakers who did a fantastic job covering everything from the values of sidewalks to the health they can facilitate.  And, best of all we had a room full of neighbors!  More than 70 people came out in support of sidewalks in Nashville, particularly on Bowling Av!

Now, let's get Bowling Av sidewalked…

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1, Bowling Av, PUBLIC MEETING TONIGHT + SURVEY, 4/23/2014 630p West End Middle School Library



Please take a moment & fill out our survey:

For updates, please follow this blog.



Sidewalks for Bowling…. and beyond
Wednesday, April 23rd 6:30 - 8 p.m.  
West End Middle School Library

***Entrance on the west side of building (Bowling side), library on 2nd floor.  If you drive, overflow parking next to elmington  Park*** 

You are strongly encouraged to attend!  Your presence will help make a difference.  We need to make a big impact this week in order to continue to build great momentum for this project and others.

This will be a friendly information-sharing and input-seeking meeting for all those residing nearby who care about sidewalks.  We have a fantastic agenda set with some very knowledgeable and committed Nashvillians regarding sidewalks.  There will be a series of short presentations, question and answer period, and chance to offer your input.  

We intend for this meeting to convey that while this is our first sidewalk project, we see this as a template to repeat in other parts of Nashville to cure one of Nashville’s real deficits:  lack of sidewalks and connected sidewalks.  Our goal is to pursue this pilot project to its completion in a cooperative fashion and then move forward onto other roads so we can gain some true connectivity throughout the city.

If childcare is holding you back, sitters will be available so that your child can do their homework or write a letter to Mayor Dean in the back of the library as we meet in the front!

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday!  Please forward away.

Stacy Dorris Proctor, M.D.
Trish Mixon

more info:


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1, Public Meeting Tomorrow!

According to Mark Macy, from Public Works, 'eventually, we are probably going to get everywhere, it's just that we are starting in the places (with high pedestrian activity) and going out'. 

Tomorrow, Wednesday, 4/23/2014, we are hosting a Public Meeting regarding sidewalks on Bowling Av. In our minds, this is a pilot project. Bowling Av is a logical piece to complete as it is already sidewalked on 2/3 of the street. Within walking distance is West End Middle School, Elmington Park, and numerous churches, synagogues, and restaurants. In addition, this area has a high concentration of walkers. 

This sidewalk with get used!


Shade Parade Nashville is in strong support of a reorientation of Nashville's goals.  We are for putting walking first and believe that it should be enjoyable, safe, convenient and comfortable.  And, I may added connected!


If you have sidewalks in your neighborhood you would like sidewalked - come and gather information and meet the key people involved to get your project done. 4/23 630p, West End Middle School Library

Sidewalks for Bowling…. and beyond
Wednesday, April 23rd 6:30 - 8 p.m. 
West End Middle School Library

You are strongly encouraged to attend! Your presence will help make a difference. We need to make a big impact this week in order to continue to build great momentum for this project and others.

This will be a friendly information-sharing and input-seeking meeting for all those residing nearby who care about sidewalks. We have a fantastic agenda set with some very knowledgeable and committed Nashvillians regarding sidewalks. There will be a series of short presentations, question and answer period, and chance to offer your input. 

We intend for this meeting to convey that while this is our first sidewalk project, we see this as a template to repeat in other parts of Nashville to cure one of Nashville’s real deficits: lack of sidewalks and connected sidewalks. Our goal is to pursue this pilot project to its completion in a cooperative fashion and then move forward onto other roads so we can gain some true connectivity throughout the city.

If childcare is holding you back, sitters will be available so that your child can do their homework or write a letter to Mayor Dean in the back of the library as we meet in the front!

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday! Please forward away.

Stacy Dorris Proctor, M.D.
Trish Mixon

more info:!forum/the-sidewalk-foundation-nashville


Green Hills News March 6, 2014, New Sidewalk Priorities Clash Over Gulch Bridge

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nashville - Greenest, most Walkable City, in a Short Period of Time?

Greenest City 2020: 

A Bright Green Future…in Nashville?

Ok. So, this is not actually Nashville's goal - its Vancouver's.  

This past week, I attended the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting here in Nashville at the Office of the Mayor.   A report by Kim Hawkins, the Chair, described a delegation of over 100 from Nashville visiting Vancouver where they learned how that city made huge changes in just 6 short years.  

They started by making top priority trips by foot, then bicycle, then public transit. 

In addition, they made a sub-goal of making walking 'safe, convenient, comfortable and delightful'.

Our landscape currently expresses a different goal.

In Nashville, there are many places that essentially say'Do NOT Walk Here!'. 

In addition, a common refrain about a walker is to criticize them as 'crazy' or 'risking their life' to walk. This is a sad state of affairs - that citizens would actually feel that a pedestrian is acting reckless just for trying to walk! 

You have the right to walk!!!

To quote The Scene, 'Why, on earth, this city decided long ago not to build sidewalks is a mystery'


Shade Parade Nashville is going to shamelessly steal from Vancouver's literature.  Consider if Nashville made it top priority to have a walkable city…


From Vancouver's literature:

Goal: Make walking, cycling, and public transit preferred transportation options

The air we breathe, the amount of land we need, our physical well-being, and the cost of travel are all impacted by our transportation choices.

To improve our quality of life, and achieve the City's green transportation goal, we need to make Vancouver a city where moving on foot or by bike is safe, convenient, and enjoyable.

At the same time, transit should be fast, frequent, reliable, and accessible, and public spaces should be vibrant places alive with people.

Green transportation targets at a glance: 

  • Make the majority (over 50%) of trips by foot, bicycle, and public transit 
  • Reduce the average distance driven per resident by 20% from 2007 levels 


The big remaining question, in my mind, is funding.  How to get the city to fund sidewalks in a significant way?  There are models out there - other cities have made the commitment to walkability with clear and lovely changes as a result.  

I also think a lot about competition.  Cities are essentially competing with each other for the best people, companies, and tourist.  In order to woo the best of the best - you need to have great infrastructure.  As Nashville is rated one of the worst walking cities (#2 worst) - we are faced with a glaring deficit.  

It is time to make a big change and that change is funded sidewalks citywide.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1, Bowling Av, Update - Agenda for Public Meeting, 4/23 at 630pm

If you care about sidewalks in Nashville - come to this meeting on Wednesday!  

April 23rd, 6:30 pm, West End Middle School Library


We have assembled a very exciting list of guest speakers for Wednesday night…I hope you plan to make it!  


  • Introduction, Stacy Dorris Proctor & Trish Mixon, Organizer

  • Jason Holleman, Councilman
  • Mark Macy & Don Reed, Public Works
  • Jeff Keith, Principal West End Middle School
  • Adams Carroll, Walk/Bike Nashville
  • Richie Jones, Hodgson and Douglas, Landscape Architect
  • Gavin Duke, Page Duke, Landscape Architect
  • Rick French, Realtor, French King Fine Properties
  • John Harkey,

  • Question and Answer Period

We have heard from many other Councilpeople, government officials, neighbors, local business owners, non-profit leaders, local school officials, and church and synagogue representatives, that they plan to attend. 

Light refreshments will be served & we will have baby sitting for those with children.

If you plan on coming - Let us know here or through Facebook!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sidewalk Project #1, Bowling Av - Public Meeting Next Wednesday, April 23rd, 630p

We have passed out almost 1000 postcard invitation to neighbors of Bowling Av…

All local neighborhood associations have picked up the meeting and shared it with their constituents…

Key guests have been invited…

We have assembled a great speaker line-up…


If you are interested in well designed sidewalks in Nashville - please come.

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014 at 630p
West End Middle School Library 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Pop-Up Greenway in Nashville!?!

On of the great benefits of going for a walk is the random encounters with neighbors, friends and other such adventures.  Walking also allows time to let your mind wander and to relax.

Unfortunately, with some of the poorly designed sidewalks in Nashville, your mind is fairly preoccupied with the whiz of cars speeding directly past you.  Walk with a child and this feeling of worry is exponentially magnified. 

Without a green buffer of a few feet and some trees to provide shade overhead  the walking experience is significantly degraded.  


Join Rainier Valley Greenways for a community celebration on the Rainier Valley's first pop-up greenway!

Join your neighbors and fellow community members to learn about how greenways can enhance your neighborhood by creating safe, healthy streets for all!


A Pop-Up Greenway is a temporary installation of features including faux painted speed humps, way-finding signs, sharrows and intersection improvement suggestions that demonstrate what a greenway could look like.

I can envision a Pop-Up Greenway in Green Hills in Nashville as a way to highlight how completely walkable it is (distance wise). 

Or, maybe at your nearest less than easily walkable intersection?

Shade Parade is dedicated to making Nashville more walkable. You can help by thinking and implementing creative ways to accomplish this goal! 


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Benefits of Public Spaces - One Reason Why Nashville Needs Sidewalks That Connect…

Nashville has recently been described as an 'it' city by The New York Times.  

But, when people are polled on why they do not locate to Nashville, 3 consistent statements of concern arise:  

  1. Lack of walkability
  2. Concerns about quality of public schools
  3. Lack of public transportation options


One of the sad consequences of limited walkability in such a fun city such as Nashville is the minimization of random and spontaneous contact with interesting people and things.  

In a city with proper walkability, people are out and about to see and be seen.  Coming into contact with diversity is generative and exciting.  It promotes 'creative wealth' to borrow a phrase by David Engwicht, author of numerous books about urban planning and street reclamation.  

According to Engwicht, spontaneous street life  is 'a stimulus for creative wealth'…the economic well being of the entire city depends on its creative wealth.  New products, better products and smarter ways of doing business (plus, better songs?) all have their genesis in the creative life of the city.  Times change.  Economies change.  Cities that do not have a vibrant creative life lack adaptability and fossilize'.  

Also, 'our personal growth is dependent on this creative milieu.  Our exposure to diversity in the city is not always experienced as a pleasant stimulus.  The encounters with another person's world often collides head on with our own prejudices, beliefs and personal mythologies…every time our carefully crafted belief system is challenged, we are opened to the possibility of developing a new synthesis'.

Nashville's few sidewalks certainly need big shoulders to carry all this responsibility!  


Shade Parade is dedicated to a more walkable Nashville through well designed sidewalks. 

It is officially spring - so, put on your shoes and get outside!  The more people out walking - the more vibrant a walking culture in Nashville.  


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Shade Parade Nashville Asks That You Help Keep Nashville Shady

Shade Parade Nashville is for well designed sidewalks - preferably shade covered sidewalks.  As summer approaches, one is reminded how hot it gets in Nashville. 

 Nashvillians know there are many barriers to walkability and heat is just one of them.  

It is certainly not desirable to arrive on foot at your destination drenched with sweat.  So, if you are one of the lucky few with a sidewalk in front of your home or place of work - please consider planting trees to shade it.  

Spring is the time to plant trees.  Remember, since Nashville has only a shallow layer of top soil - we do not, for the most part, have buried power lines (a visual shame).  Best to pick trees that will not grow more than 20 feet in height and therefore not require the wildly ridiculous (and expensive) pruning that occurs to prevent them from growing into power lines.


According to NES, good choices for trees in this area are:

  • Red Buckeye
  • Crabapples - Adirondack or Narragansett
  • Maples - Flame Amur or Japanese
  • Dogwoods - Stellar Pink, Flowering hybrids, Chinese or Kousa
  • Japanese Flowering Apricot
  • Flowering Cherries - Yoshino or Kwanzan
  • Chinese Fringetree
  • Hollies - Greenleaf American or Warren Red
  • Crape Myrtles - Lipan, Sioux or Yuma
  • Blackhaw Plum Leaf Vibernum
  • Redbuds - Forest Pansy or Oklahoma

Please help Shade Parade Nashville keep Nashville shady ---

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shade Parade Nashville makes The Scene!


Shade Parade Nashville makes The Scene!


To speed up the sidewalk process, a city walking enthusiast takes private steps to fix a public problem

Feet Meet the Pavement

April 10th, 2014
Nashville TN
The Scene

Stacy Dorris is what you might call a sidewalk activist. A Vanderbilt pediatric allergist, Dorris also manages a blog, Shade Parade Nashville, with the goal of highlighting the need for a more walkable Nashville — specifically, through the construction of more (and better) sidewalks. She sort of walked right into the issue, around her home off Woodlawn Drive.

"I want to be able to just put on a pair of shoes and go somewhere," she says. "I want that. It's important to me, and I feel like [in terms of] my overall happiness and health, it's an important thing. And the fact that I literally sometimes can't get somewhere because the walkability is so maybe unsafe, or unpleasant, or whatever it might be — I thought, well, I need to find the people in Nashville who are doing this."

The groups she found advocating for biking and walking, she says, tend to put more emphasis on biking. So it fell to her to bring more attention to pedestrian needs. She started close to home, contacting the Woodlawn Area Neighborhood Association about her desire to see the sidewalks on Bowling Avenue completed. About two-thirds of the street has sidewalks, but the approximately 0.7 mile stretch — and she has measured — from Brighton Road to Woodmont Boulevard does not.
"We had this little piece that I could see would make a complete street, and it seemed kind of doable," she says. "I walked it, I figured out what the hardscapes were that would have to be moved, all of that kind of stuff, and it didn't seem that complicated. Plus our neighborhood is — you know, it's a nice neighborhood. I felt like people would potentially donate to do this."

She thought private contributions might be a way to get the project done, or at least to instigate some discussion about the need. A survey of neighbors has shown promising interest, she says, while noting that others are "stridently against" the idea because they fear it could set up a system of haves and have-nots when it comes to sidewalks. In other words, upscale neighborhoods could begin filling out their sidewalks, leaving other parts of the city behind.

Public Works spokeswoman Jenna Smith says she doesn't believe that approach has been used before in Nashville, and acknowledges potential pitfalls, as well as legislative and legal processes that would have to be involved.

"But that's not to say where there's a will, there couldn't be a way," she says.
Public Works officials will attend an April 23 public meeting that Dorris has organized about the missing sidewalk on Bowling Avenue. Smith says they will give an overview of the history of sidewalks in Nashville, and the normal process, and also take questions.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Tutorial on Air Quality and How it Affects Asthma and Allergies

'We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need'?

- Lee Iacocca

As summer approaches, so do the days of air quality alerts in Nashville. And, so do the increased asthma exacerbations related to poor air quality.

Air pollution is created from a variety of sources but most are from the burning of fossil fuels in cars, power plants, houses, and industry.

Air pollution is made up of many different things: ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM), sulfur dioxide, lead, toxins, stratospheric ozone depleters such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and other compounds that include chlorine or bromine and, lastly, greenhouse gasses - the most important of which is carbon dioxide.

Some of these pollutants can be organized by their size. For example, Particulate matter (PM) - essentially soot and dust particles smaller than the diameter of a human hair - are present in elevated concentrations on poor air quality days. Some of these particles are created from exhaust and some are created from the breakdown of tires as we drive. This division of particles into their various sizes is important because they help determine how far the particles can travel in the atmosphere and how easily they are inhaled into lungs. The finer the particles, the deeper the penetration into the lungs and therefore the more danger posed. 

According to the American Lung Association, approximately 50% of Americans live in areas with unhealthy ozone levels. Ozone poses another type of threat to the lungs as it creates inflammation in the airways. Evidence from observational studies 'strongly indicates that higher daily ozone concentrations are associated with increased asthma attacks, increased hospital admissions, increased daily mortality, and other markers of morbidity'. Ozone appears to make asthma symptoms worse and can increase sensitivity to asthma triggers.

What you may not know is that air pollution is also bad for allergies. During photosynthesis, plants convert light energy into stored chemical energy by consuming carbon dioxide and water. Essentially, plants need carbon dioxide to grow. The main human activity that emits carbon dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for energy and transportation.

A very interesting study, completed by Paul Epstein from Harvard, showed that increased carbon dioxide accelerates and increases pollen production in ragweed. Based on this study, Epstein believes 'warming of the earth, and increased CO2 production, may mean more frequent and intense symptoms for the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies and the approximately 18 million with asthma, which is frequently triggered by allergens'.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 1998, at least 5,438 people died of asthma in this country, and 423,000 were hospitalized for it. Having a personal goal of reducing air pollution could therefore reduce the risk of asthma and allergy exacerbations.


What can you do?

  • Drive Wise & Use Public Transportation, Walk or Ride a Bike.
  • Plan your trips. Save gasoline and reduce air pollution. 
  • Keep tires properly inflated and aligned. 
  • In the summertime, fill gas tank during cooler evening hours to cut down on evaporation. Avoid spilling gas and don't "top off" the tank. Replace gas tank cap tightly. 
  • Avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines, for example, at fast-food restaurants or banks. Park your car and go in. 
  • When possible, use public transportation, walk, or ride a bike. 
  • Get regular engine tune ups and car maintenance checks (especially for the spark plugs). 


Shade Parade Nashville is most interested in creating a Nashville that is more walkable.  One benefit of increased walkability would be reduced air pollution in our area.

Epstein, Paul. Production of allergenic pollen by ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) is increased in CO2-enriched atmospheres. March 2002 Annals of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology