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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mayoral Candidate Coffee on Walkability in Nashville, October 8th

Mayoral Candidate Coffee

In conjunction with Walk/Bike Nashville and The Green Hills Action Partners, Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation formally invite you to 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. 

Moderator, Bobby Allen from NPR 

 October 8th, doors open at 745a


2411 Blakemore Ave, Nashville, TN 37212


Many thanks to Ruby for donating the space, to Bongo Java for donating the coffee and to Bobby Allen for acting as our moderator.


Monday, July 28, 2014

In Regards to Sidewalks, Learn Why You Are Getting The Short End of the Stick (and what you can do to turn it around)!

Surely you have noticed the rapid growth Nashville is experiencing.  Seems like every day an older home is torn down and 2 or more spring up.  

Did you know that the developers of these properties are supposed to build a sidewalk in front of these new homes?

According to Metro's Planning Department 'sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'. 


Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation are very much in favor of development.  With development comes density and a more 'city-like' experience.      

Every single Nashvillian needs to know this sidewalk rule because frankly you are getting the short end of the stick by not having this infrastructure put in during the time of development. 

In my opinion, we are about to make the same mistake in Nashville that we made post-WW II.  During that time, Nashville experienced rapid growth, too.  We laid out roads in the cheapest fashion without thought to the overall design and the needs of future recipients.  This time around, instead of laying out cheap infrastructure - we are allowing NONE to be built.  And, no one is saying anything about it.  This is where YOU come in!!! 



You might be saying to yourself - well, those little patches of 'sidewalks to no-where' are so useless!  I, too, used to find these development driven patches of sidewalk confusing - sort of ridiculous.    

After meeting with Public Works in May of 2014, my opinion on these bits and pieces of sidewalk has completely changed - and, I hope to change your mind, too.  

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

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 per Public Works.

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.  

Here, as a Nashvillian, is where you need to be thinking "I am definitely getting the short end of the stick".  Therefore, a developer is now required to choose: pay 6% of the cost of a new sidewalk or pay 100% and build the sidewalk.  


You can imagine that most developers choose to pay the in-lieu fee (coming soon:  stats on how many pay fee vs how many new sidewalks built).  

To dilute this fund further, the collected fee 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 Nashville?

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.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nashville: Makes the Top 10 for Happiest Cities in the US!

Nashville may be the 15th most dangerous city to walk around in from a pedestrian's point of view but we are rated the 9th happiest city in the US per the Huffington Post.  Not bad!

Think of what our rating would be if we could actually walk everywhere on foot in a safe, comfortable and interesting fashion!


Sitting Is the New Smoking: Why Walking Is the “Secret Sauce” for Better Health and Happier Communities

Whether you live in the ‘burbs, the city, or the middle of nowhere, the "wonder drug" of walking is just what the doctor ordered.

-remainder paraphrased from Yes Magazine…

If sitting is the new smoking then walking is the “secret sauce” for better health and happier communities.

Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. Surgeon General from 2009-2013, said, "You know that exercise is medicine. It's also good for the social fabric of our communities."

Karen Marlo, vice-president of the National Business Group on Health, an alliance of leading companies, explained, "Walking is a business issue. A healthy workforce means a more successful workforce. It's important for businesses to share effective ways to get employees to walk more."

Developers understand that walking promotes successful economic development. 

Environmentalists understand walking reduces carbon emissions.

Every point over 70 on Walk Score results in increased rent of 90 cents per square foot for commercial property and a rise in home values of $20 per square foot for residential property.


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

We want all Nashvillians to be able to get out on foot…safely!


Please consider making a donation to THE SIDEWALK FOUNDATION. 

1 SQ FT of Sidewalk = $50


If you are a developer or know a developer -> you are strongly encouraged to PUT IN THE SIDEWALK when developing Nashville properties instead of paying into the sidewalk in-lieu fee. Let's work on creating a million 'sidewalks to nowhere' then stitch all those little pieces into a complete and livley SIDEWALK NETWORK! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Guerrilla Urbanization in Nashville

Guerrilla Urbanization in Nashville

The Nations Neighborhood



A lot of exciting change can occur with a few hours of well thought out volunteer work.


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

We want all Nashvillians to be able to get out on foot…safely!


Please consider making a donation to THE SIDEWALK FOUNDATION.  

 1 SQ FT of Sidewalk = $50


If you are a developer or know a developer -> you are strongly encouraged to PUT IN THE SIDEWALK when developing Nashville properties  instead of paying into the sidewalk in-lieu fee.  Let's work on creating a million 'sidewalks to nowhere' then stitch all those little pieces into a complete and lively SIDEWALK NETWORK!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

You're So Nashville - Sidewalks

An annual tradition in Nashville, the You're so Nashville if

Just a few sidewalk references this year but I think they highlight our situation as being ranked the 2nd worst walking city in the US.  Compared to sister cities, in regards to population and miles of roadways, Nashville has some infrastructure to catch up on!

  Please support sidewalks & encourage your elected officials to support sidewalks, too!


Mayoral Candidate Coffee at Ruby October 8th, 745a.


You're so Nashville if

You slow-clapped the Nashville Metro Council killing a $16 million Gulch Pedestrian Bridge project from your sidewalk-less street in south Nashville. —Wesley Hartline

Getting a sidewalk on your street counts as gentrification. —Robin Brown


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Volunteer Opportunity to Promote Walkabilty, Based on Better Blocks!

Volunteer Opportunity to Promote Walkabilty, Based on Better Blocks!

Originally, I had high hopes of volunteering for the organization in Nashville that promoted walkability. I searched and searched but what I could find was pedestrianism focused primarily on biking. I like biking fine but what I was passionate about was walking…putting on a pair of shoes and going…no equipment needed!

October 2014 is Walk Month in Nashville. Currently, I am working on some fun ideas - mainly a Pop-Up Walking District to hopefully happen along Bowling Av ending in Elmington Park & The Mayoral Candidates Coffee on Walkabilty (October 8th, 745a, at Ruby).  I hope you come out and join us. 

Last night, I heard about a group, here in town, working on a project based on the Better Blocks idea…

Here is their information…you may want to volunteer here as they have a big project coming up in August!


Better Blocks volunteers still needed...

We're off to a fantastic start!!! We had merry band of volunteers on Saturday collecting and sourcing materials that will be used to build our sets for our Better Blocks campaign on 51st Ave. It was a hugely successful day out. An enormous thank you to or all our new friends who came out to help!!! It's not to late to join in and help be a part of this event. Anyone who is interested in helping us transform 51st Ave on Saturday Aug 23rd please email us @

We will continue to meet for a couple of hours each Saturday to build, paint, and more importantly have a little fun. It's a great way to meet your neighbors and an even better way to get involved in the transformation of the Nations.

How awesome is it going to be to get to see 51st Ave between Indiana and Georgia, narrowed down to 2 lanes of traffic, painted pedestrian walkways and bike lanes. Pop-up street markets and caf├ęs, even temporary art installations, and landscaping.

Volunteer, be a rock star, and get involved it's that easy. Who's in?

1) Building & Sourcing
Weekends leading up to event
o Constructing street ‘scaping components (planters, etc.)
o Source items needed for street ‘scaping (bike frames, pallet wood, etc.)

2) Street 'Scaping (08/22-23)
Friday afternoon/evening & Saturday early morning
o Painting cross walks, bike paths, etc.
o Additional signage (mounting bike frames to lamp posts, etc.)
o Prep street for morning set up

3) Set Up/Clean Up (08/23-23)
Friday evening, Saturday morning, afternoon, and evening
o Transporting constructed pieces to 51st & Indiana/Georgia
o Positioning landscaping, outdoor seating, signage, etc.
o Tear down and removal of street ‘scaping
o General end of event clean up


Monday, July 14, 2014

The New Sound of Young Nashville

I am not a country music fan historically but I am a fan of Nashville & have a big goal of creating a Nashville with a rich and lively walking scene.  

Any chance I have to highlight unique things going on in Nashville helps this cause…so, when I heard this report on NPR recently (July 11th, 2014) I wanted to share it with Shade Parade Nashville readers.

The New Sound Of Young Nashville: 3 Country Artists To Watch

NPR, July 11, 2014
By NPR staff

Though its legacy as Music City is unshakable, Nashville might be ready for a new nickname: the Portlandia of the South.

"It's absolutely exploding culturally: There is an amazing food scene, there's all these young entrepreneurs who are opening tons of little shops, the city is pouring money into the arts," says NPR Music critic Ann Powers, who recently spent several weeks there. "It's a really great, bohemian scene."

That might be one reason why, alongside the glitz of mainstream country, the alternative side of American roots music is booming in Nashville as well. Powers was in town to attend the CMA Music Festival, but she also hit the local clubs to hear and see what's been happening on the ground. She spoke with NPR's Renee Montagne about a few of the artists she encountered; read her thoughts on each below, and hear the radio version at the audio link.


Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation both hope that some of the funding for the arts goes into PUBLIC ART.  Walking should be safe, convenient, comfortable and FUN for all ages.  Public Art helps make walking much more FUN!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Where You Live Directly Affects Your Waistline?

Having, as a primary goal, walkability could directly affect the health of the population in your community.  According to a recent study by Gillian Booth, 'the more 'walkable' the neighborhood you live in, the less likely you are to become obese or develop diabetes'.  

The study looked at neighborhoods in southern Ontario over a 10 year period.  In walkable neighborhoods, the obesity rate was 9% lower than average and the incidence of diabetes was 7% less.  In less walkable neighborhoods, the rate of obesity was 13% higher.     

According to the Bloomberg report on this study, 'as a society we've kind of engineered physical activity out of our lives' - apparently to our own detriment.  

As Nashvillians know - we have an obesity problem.  Biscuits, sweet tea, BBQ plus driving everywhere leads to a heavier set commonly seen.  Our population is greater than 30% obese - slightly higher than the 30% obesity level across the US.  These statistics do not seem to be going down anytime soon as the trend identified in the maps below show.

Obesity is now described as an epidemic.  This is a significant drag on resources including health care dollars, quality of life, loss of productivity, etc.  As Nashville moves forward, we need to focus hard on creating more walkable environments.  

The cost of these health care needs, and I would argue quality of life issues, need to be considered when city planning takes into account the cost to create improved walkability.    

In deed, it is very expensive to build sidewalks - but, consider the cost of not building them?  According to Roger Miller, vice-president to Smart Growth America & Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition, 'if you can do things with your built environment that allows people to be healthy there's a financial benefit - think of the cost of obesity'.  

In 2005, the health-care costs of related to obesity cost Americans 21% of total health care dollars according to a 2012 study completed by Cornell researches. 

The cost of basic sidewalk production in Nashville is $250 per linear foot (1' long x 5' wide).  

Donate to The Sidewalk Foundation.  Let's build a more walkable Nashville.

See us Saturday, July 19th at the Farmer's Market.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pop-Up Cross Walks (Could also be Used for Walking Paths and Bike Lanes)!

As not every city is pedestrian friendly, there are solutions that could be effected quickly and inexpensively all be it temporarily. 

If the barrier to infrastructure that would improve walkability is cost - in addition to donating to a sidewalk fund such as The Sidewalk Foundation - this piece offers a creative solution.   

Do it yourself!

The neat thing about this idea is that it could help visualize the project.  In Nashville, for example, we could run an 'instant / pop-up' walking path along Bowling Av, equipped with crosswalks, to show neighbors how great it would be to have a sidewalk on this street.

The application of spray chalk are numerous.  You could set up a temporary cross walk to your local school.  You could identify a great place for a green way style path and invite neighbors to check it out.    You could show where trees would be a highly prized asset to your walking path.  You could put in a bike lane - literally the day you wished for one!

These temporary spray chalk infrastructures - such as cross walks and bike/pedestrian paths could significantly enliven your city street…drawing interest and alerting drivers to the presence of walkers & bikers.

Professionals use duct tape, craft paper and a string that they lay on the ground, held taught (one man steps on one side of the string, the other on the other end) to create straight lines.

Buy or make your own spray chalk….

Instructions on making spray chalk:  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Important Survey From Walk / Bike Nashville - Please take a few minutes to fill out (& share this with your friends)

Please take a few minutes to fill out this important survey from Walk / Bike Nashville (WBN) on bicycle and walking issues…

From Adams Carroll, of WBN:

We are distributing a survey to potential trainees to help us refine our curriculum. So far we have gotten good response from self-identified avid cyclists and pedestrians, but we hope to hear from a broader group of Nashvillians. 

Could you take a few minutes to fill out the survey?  

Could you help share our survey with your networks on social media? 

Here is a link to the survey: 

Thank you!  Every little bit helps when it comes to making Nashville more walkable!