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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Think Big When it Comes to Sidewalks in Nashville!!!

Walking Should be Safe, Convenient, Comfortable and Fun for People of All Ages and Abilities  

Why not think big in Nashville when it comes to walkability?  

Consider West End Av from about White Bridge/Woodmont Av to the Vanderbilt area.  Do you walk here?  Do you find it particularly interesting?  Right now, it is kind of seedy and dull.  It has a very 1980 suburban feel.  

Why not think big and envision a major upgrade?  What if this wide corridor had a real personality - a distinct look and feel - and was lined with interesting things to do and see.  You would walk here!  

You would bike here, too, if there were protected bike lanes.


Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are dedicated to bringing well designed, high quality sidewalks to Nashville.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Research Club, Tomorrow, 6/29/2014 - Please Come as I am Going to Talk Sidewalks!

Come to listen and discuss:  6/29/2014

Research Club
Impact HUB Nashville
438 Houston St, Suite 263
Nashville, TN  37203

Event runs from noon to 2. 


Stacy Dorris is an Allergy/Immunology doctor at Vanderbilt who, in her spare time, has been organizing her neighbors to speed up the expansion of Nashville's sidewalks. She's spearheading a new private foundation to help raise money to build sidewalks. She'll talk about the importance of expanding the city's sidewalks and why more people should be energized about it. 

Yiaway Yeh is the former mayor of Palo Alto, California, and he currently runs Nashville's office of innovation. Yiaway will talk about why he's in Nashville and describe what kind of things his office is working on. 

Dave Gilbert is a tech entrepreneur. He founded Evermind, which is technology that helps family members monitor elderly loved ones. One-fourth of seniors live alone -- away from their families. Evermind aims to address that disconnection. Dave will talk about the dilemma of seniors living alone. 

Our speakers will talk for about 15 minutes apiece. The rest of the time will give everyone a chance to hang.

As always, it’s FREE, and there will be coffee provided by Bongo Java. 


Research Club is an idea forum in which thinkers, hobbyists and other talented people share what they know with other Nashvillians. We come together and share ideas and passions in a laid-back setting, enjoy some brunch and stimulating conversation. In the process, we hope to energize the doers and thinkers in our city. It happens THE LAST SUNDAY OF EVERY MONTH ( or, most months).


Shade Parade & The Sidewalk Foundation are committed to bringing high quality, well designed sidewalks to Nashville.  The Sidewalk Foundation is accepting donations - we are currently focused on bringing our pilot project - Bowling Av - to fruition.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Mayoral Candidate Coffee - Nashville, Oct 8th, 745am

Mayoral Candidate Coffee

In conjunction with Walk/Bike Nashville and The Green Hills Action Partners, Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are hosting a Mayoral Candidate Coffee focused on walkability in Nashville.

As many of you know, Nashville ranks poorly when it comes to walkability.  A Mayor can change this.  

This forum will allow the candidates to present their vision for the pedestrians of Nashville.  It will allow them to think through and formulate a plan for solving some of our tough issues surrounding walkability.

If you have specific questions for the Mayoral Candidates about walkability please let us know.  We are formulating a list now that will be presented to the candidates prior to the event.  

Tentatively scheduled for October 8th, doors open at 745a.

Location: TBD

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Frenetic but Fun Weekend in Nashville or How to Get Tourists Out of Their Cars.

A Frenetic but Fun Weekend in Nashville or What You Can Do Right Now, or at Least this Fall, to Get Nashvillians and Tourists Out Of Their Cars


After reading a June 6th, Wall Street Journal article entitled 'A Pitch-Perfect Long Weekend in Nashville' I am struck by how similar the phrasing is compared to a prior article in the same magazine from a few years back (Oct 6th 2012, link below).  To me, it shows that we have yet to be, even considered, a truly walkable city.

The 'mad-dash intenerary' starts with: DAY ONE // Land at Nashville International Airport and pick up your rental car. Interspersed are quotes like 'rise, shine and drive several minutes', 'The three-block stretch of honky-tonks on Lower Broadway', and 'The commercial strip is just a few blocks long' you get the picture that this city has pockets of interesting things to do but is not yet connected (walkable).


To be fair, there are statements such as 'Or, walk there through Vanderbilt University's campus to earn the hot cakes you're about to devour', 'take a stroll around downtown', 'drive or walk the half mile' or 'wander the surrounding Hillsboro Village neighborhood'. This represents an improvement for sure. The city is becoming more dense and slightly more traveled by foot and bike.  

Nashville still has a long way to go to become truly walkable.  We have an extensive retro-fit in store to install the needed sidewalks so a walker can get easily from point A to point B. And, this retro-fit is going to be expensive.


What can you do, right now, to help get Nashvillians (and out-of-towners) out on foot?  

Now that summer has arrived, most notably, we need more shade cover for our walkers.


Nashvillians, please plant trees this fall to provide shade cover for walkers.  We are, after all a Tree City!  2013 marks the 18th consecutive year Nashville has been recognized by The Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA!

You can also donate to The Sidewalk Foundation.  

The Sidewalk Foundation is the non-profit arm of Shade Parade Nashville.  We are focusing on individual projects - our 1st being to sidewalk Bowling Av to its terminus at Woodmont.  


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


Monday, June 23, 2014

Hire Locally

Many people are interested in consuming locally.  There are many benefits in buying what you need from your community.  Locally made products and produce are desired because the monies flow seamlessly back into the community in which they are produced. These products are transported less distance.  You may even be able to develop a relationship with the producer of your purchase such as at a Farmer's Market.  

But, have you ever considered hiring locally?

The average American spends one week per year stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.  That is a significant amount of lost time.  In Beijing, the average car commute is 5 hours per day! Recently, in China, there was a hundred mile traffic jam that took 11 days to clear.

According to Bill Ford, before his grandfather Henry Ford began marketing the Model T Ford to the middle class, most people did not leave a 25 mile radius their whole lives.  Traffic today is an annoyance but it could become a human rights issue if we cannot move goods and services around our cities in a timely way.  

  With 800 million cars on the road worldwide today, expected to increase to 2-4 billion by 2050, clearly doing nothing to relieve our traffic woes is not an option.   

In planning for our future in Nashville, we must realize that our city is changing rapidly. By 2035, our region will be larger than the size of the Denver region is right now - that's the magnitude of growth for which we must plan.

Population Growth Trend


Hiring locally ensures that tax dollars are invested back into the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of commuting.

Local hiring means residents can work closer to home, spending less time traveling to and from their jobs. As Robert D. Putnam notes in book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, each additional ten minutes spent commuting leads to a ten percent decline in all areas of civic engagement.  Therefore, local hiring may be one tool municipalities can use to increase community involvement.

The environmental benefit of local hiring comes principally because employing a greater percentage of local workers leads to shorter commutes and a greater ability to walk, bike, and take public transit to work. This results in reductions in air pollution, including greenhouse gases.

Consider hiring locally.

Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are commited to creating better access to high quality, well designed sidewalks.


The Sidewalk Foundation is the non-profit arm of Shade Parade Nashville.  We are currently accepting donations to fund individual sidewalk projects in Nashville.  Our first project is to complete the sidewalk on Bowling Av to its terminus at Woodmont.

A blog about the state of sidewalks in Nashville


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Developer In-Lieu of Fee…Or, why this idea is not good for sidewalks in Nashville

Developer In-Lieu of Fee…Or, why this idea is not good for sidewalks in Nashville

As any Nashvillian knows, we are a growing city. Across the 10-county Cumberland Region around Nashville, the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) forecasts close to another million people by the year 2035.  This equates to about another 100,000 people in Davidson Co alone.  

When developers create in-fill in the Urban Services District - when they take one residentially zoned lot and subdivide it into 2 or more - they are (with a few exceptions) to build sidewalks. 

I used to find these patches of 'sidewalks to nowhere' confusing - sort of ridiculous.  

My thinking on these bits and pieces of sidewalk has completely changed after meeting with Public Works in May.  

Public Works elevates a 'gap' in the sidewalk network above all else - even above the Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI) - when considering a sidewalk project.

Now, I LOVE these random sidewalks to nowhere!

Regrettably, developers can opt to pay into an 'in-lieu' fund - the so called Sidewalk Fund - at an outrageously discounted rate.  


An average new sidewalk in Nashville cost $250 per linear foot.

A graphic version of this is below.


Established in 2002, the original developer in-lieu fee was $92 per linear foot in all cases.  This fee was much less than the $250 per linear foot quoted as the average cost of a new sidewalk without any 'bells or whistles'.  This fee, after a June 2012 Commission Meeting, was reduced drastically to $15 per linear foot.  

Therefore, a developer is now required to pay 6% of the cost for a new sidewalk (at minimum) or pay for the entire cost of the sidewalk.  


This collected fee is divvied up further - it can only be spent in the district is was collected (there are 13 total).  In reality, partly because the fee is so markedly reduced in comparison to real costs, to date, no new sidewalks have been created with these monies (to be fair, the fee has supplemented projects).

If the goal in Nashville is to build new, high quality sidewalks - this in-lieu fee hasn't and isn't going to get us far.  

The in-lieu fee has been in existence since 2002 and yet has not been able to collect enough to build one project.  Is this fair to the citizens of Nasvhille?

Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation strongly encourage you to persuade local developers in your neighborhood to NOT PAY THE IN-LIEU FEE BUT RATHER TO BUILD THE SIDEWALK REQUIRED.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Shade Parade & The Sidewalk Foundation - at the West End Farmer's Market

At our first fundraising event, we raised enough for exactly one square foot of sidewalk.  In  my mind, this is fantastic!  They say a journey starts with that first step - and this 1st square foot is The Sidewalk Foundation's.  

New sidewalk construction, in Nashville, is quoted by Public Works to cost, on average, $250 per linear foot.  This equates to a 1 foot long x 5 foot wide stretch of sidewalk without any bells or whistles.

As many of you are aware, our 1st pilot project is to sidewalk Bowling Av.  We need 0.7 miles of sidewalk to complete it from Brighton to Woodmont.  Public Works has quoted the project to cost $1.2M. 

(To break this down further:  0.7miles x 5280 feet/mile = 3696 feet.  3969 feet at $250/foot = $924K.  Now, this 0.7 miles includes roads so likely the cost could be less except we have drainage issues.)  

Today, thanks to some wonderful individuals, we took our first steps to partially funding this pilot project.

Please join Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation every 3rd Saturday of each month at The West End Farmer's Market at Harding Pike and The Vine Street Church until the end of the season.


Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are committed to increasing access to high quality well designed sidewalks in Nashville.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shade Parade Introduces The Sidewalk Foundation!

Shade Parade Nashville is starting to raise funds for sidewalks via our new non-profit arm:  The Sidewalk Foundation.  See us at the Vine St Farmer's Market in Nashville this Saturday!

Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are committed to increasing access to high quality, well designed sidewalks in Nashville