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Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Day for #Walkgreenhills Campaign!

Seems fitting that Halloween marks the last day of Walk Nashville Month.  I hope you all plan to get out on foot tonight.  When you do - just note the infrastructure available to you.  Do you have to walk along a narrow road without sidewalks?  Are there crosswalks at intersections?  Are the intersections squared or rounded (rounded intersection encourage rolling stops - not good for pedestrians).  Any bulb outs (we LOVE these!)?  What's good?  What could be better?

Today is the last day for the #walkgreenhills on Instagram campaign.  You can post the good, the bad and the horrible pedestrian infrastructure to #Walkgreenhills on Instagram & win a sweet prize (competition ends today).

  If you don't make it to Green Hills today,  next time, I challenge you to park that car & move about on foot. Again, notice what a challenge it is to walk with the current infrastructure.  The distance is short between destinations but the terrain is a crazy quilt of random curb cuts, egresses, obstacles and sidewalks - many poorly maintained. 

Nashville - we can do better! 

As I posted yesterday, I believe the big question to be put to our city leaders is:

Are you going to put pedestrians first?

Contact & to Donate:

The next big thing for Shade Parade Nashville & The Sidewalk Foundation will be focused on fund raising.  If you want more sidewalks in Nashville - consider a donation.  We hope to get a Kickstarter campaign up soon (what to help?) and a silent auction, too.  All monies collected will go in full to specific sidewalk projects.

City officials continually state they think sidewalks are a good idea but they have no funding for it.  Over 50% of the monies for sidewalks currently go to repairs.  There have been 3 new miles of sidewalks built by the city in the last 2 years.  This shows a serious lack of commitment to pedestrian infrastructure and Nashville needs to be called out on it.  

Nashvillians give to large civic organizations such as Cheekwood, the zoo, and the symphony.

 Why not give to sidewalks?


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Annual Fatalities for Pedestrians Amount to One Major Airplane Crash Per Month - Unacceptable Odds In My Book

Annual Fatalities for Pedestrians Amount to One Major Airplane Crash Per Month - Unacceptable Odds In My Book

This is an EXCELLENT ARTICLE - worth your time to read.  Of highest note, is the 'incredible pedestrian carnage' caused by motor vehicles that is frankly not discussed often. According the article, 'until recently public outcry was minimal and government investment in transportation paid only lip service to annual fatalities that amount to the equivalent of one major airplane crash each month'. Eek. 

Nashville is currently ranked the 15th most dangerous city in the US for pedestrians, based on pedestrian vs vehicular deaths.  This is a terrible statistic.  One that could be changed with an emphasis, particularly by our city leaders, on walking as our 1st and highest priority. 

The question needs to be less 'How do we move about quickly' and more 'how do we make it best for pedestrians to move within Nashville in a safe, efficient and comfortable manner'.  

How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life

By Jay Walljasper on | Leave a Comment
Street Games - Play
Children in Cuba play in the street | Photo by PPS
The bias in our national philosophy towards high speed mobility has long been a topic that PPS has advocated against. In addition to stifling Placemaking, forcing people into cars has contributed to a host of growing national problems. Most compelling of those problems is the incredible pedestrian carnage. Yet until recently public outcry was minimal and government investment in transportation paid only lip service to annual fatalities that amount to the equivalent of one major airplane crash each month. Fortunately, the pendulum has swung back towards our cities, states, and federal government taking action.
In a two part series, long time PPS friend and PPS Senior Fellow Jay Walljasper will walk us through the growing new vision to address this tragedy. Part 1 - A New Vision to Fix the Tragedy No One Ever Thinks About - describes emerging pedestrian safety initiatives around the world. Part II lays out the recipe for How to Restore Walking as a Way of Life. - PPS Transportation Director, Gary Toth

The gravest danger to walkers as well as bicyclists and motorists is other motorists who drive dangerously. According to data collected by the New York City Department of Transportation from 2008-2012, “dangerous driver choices” contributes to pedestrian deaths in 70 percent of cases. “Dangerous pedestrian choices” is responsible in 30 percent of cases and joint responsibility in 17 percent of cases.
As the old saying goes, speed kills. Two landmark studies, one from the US and one from the UK, found that pedestrians are killed:
  • 5 percent of the time when struck by a car traveling 20 mph
  • 37-45 percent of the time when struck by a car traveling 30 mph
  • 83-85 percent of the time when struck by a car traveling 40 mph.
In light of these findings, it’s scary to realize that traffic on many if not most American roads travels closer to 40 mph than 20 mph.
“If we could do one switch to make safer streets it would be to reduce car speeds to 20 mph,” says Bricker, “which would reduce pedestrian fatalities by 90 percent.”
Many experts think it’s not as simple as changing the speed limits. Charlie Zegeer, project manager at the University of North Carolina’s authoritative Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) says, “Research shows that lowering a speed limit doesn’t work to slow traffic– it’s the roadway design that affects the speed.”
Dublin Ireland ek 2004 129
Everyone is a pedestrian, even if only walking from the car to the store (Image: Dublin, Ireland) | Photo by PPS
Here’s a few of practical steps to slow speeds, deter distracted driving and help make walking a safer, comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone. This is where Vision Zero hits the road.
  • Reduce the number of travel lanes on wide streets wherever possible. Downsizing four-lane suburban and urban streets to two travel lanes with an alternating turn lane in the middle has become a popular trend across the country. Not only does this create safer streets, it lessens noise for residents and creates an opportunity to add sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping. (This is known as a road diet, lane reduction or 2+1 road.)
  • Reduce the width of travel lanes. Wide lanes send an unmistakable message for drivers to speed up.
  • Reduce the length of crosswalks. A shorter walk across the street is a safer one. This can be done in a number of ways, but most commonly by extending the sidewalk out into the intersection. (This is known as a curb extension or bulb-out.)
  • Add medians in the middle of busy streets as a refuge for crossing pedestrians. This has been shown to reduce traffic accidents by 56 percent, according to Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities.
  • Make crosswalks more visible. Elevate them to curb level, or mark them with wide swaths of paint.
  • Give pedestrians a head start at traffic lights. Five seconds allows pedestrians to enter the crosswalk first and be far more visible to motorists, says Penalosa. Lining up waiting cars a few feet back from the intersection accomplishes the same thing.
  • Ban right on red turns at busy intersections. Drivers, busy watching out for other cars, often don’t see pedestrians crossing the street on green lights.
  • Keep the turning radius 90 degrees at intersections. Rounded street corners encourages drivers to turn without stopping or looking for pedestrians.
, bicycle parking, trees
Market stalls, wide sidewalks, bicycle parking, and trees create a street prioritized towards pedestrians. In the background, public transportation is also present. | Photo by PPS
  • Install traffic circles, roundabouts, speed bumps, speed tables and other traffic calming devices, which help motorists drive safely and keep an eye out for pedestrians.
  • Convert one-way streets to two-way, which encourages safer, slower driving.
  • Pay close attention to road designs at bus stops. Pedestrians often rush across the street to catch their bus, not paying attention to oncoming traffic.
  • Create pedestrian streets, bridges and underpasses in busy areas to minimize conflict with traffic and enhance the convenience of walking.
  • Separate bike lanes on busy streets with curbs, posts or other physical dividers. Protected bike lanes create a more comfortable, enjoyable trip for pedestrians too.
  • Strict enforcement of laws against speeding, failure to yield to pedestrians, drunk driving and reckless driving. Injuring or killing people with a car is no less tragic than doing it with a gun.
  • Install red light cameras and other of means photo enforcement. It’s expensive to station a police car at every unsafe intersection, but technology can nab lawbreakers at a fraction of the cost. Washington, DC now uses cameras to detect and fine drivers who do not yield right-of-way to pedestrians as well as those who speed or run red lights, says Charlie Zegeer of the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center.
Narrow streets can be closed to major auto traffic completely, allowing nearby businesses to spill out onto the street | Photo by PPS
Narrow streets can be closed to major auto traffic completely, allowing nearby businesses to spill out onto the street | Photo by PPS
  • Convert traffic lights to four-way stop signs at less busy intersections. Motorists rocketing through intersections to avoid a red light is one of the most common–and dangerous–causes of speeding.
  • Establish Safe Routes to Schools campaigns, which bring educators, parents, neighbors and kids themselves together to find safe, satisfying ways for students to walk and bike to school.
  • Training programs about pedestrian safety for traffic engineers, transportation planners, police, city officials, citizens and children. “All the kids in the Netherlands have three weeks instruction in the rules of the road at school,” notes Penalosa. “They role play being pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.”
  • Put Pedestrians First. “Every city should have a by-law of one sentence stating: “In this city, pedestrians come first,” declares Penalosa. “Everyone is a pedestrian at some point during the day, even if you are just walking from your parking space. So everyone has a stake in Vision Zero.”
“These pedestrian improvements also improve motorists’ and biyclists’ safety,” Zegeer adds. “It’s a win-win-win. Everyone’s safer.”

Jay’s outstanding articles are the latest in a long line of PPS promotion of roadway safety. For instance, in Exiting the “Forgiving Highway” for the “Self Explaining Road”, we discussed the dramatic reduction in unnecessary road deaths that would have occurred if we followed the Dutch approach to Sustainable Safety. And In Wider, Straighter, and Faster Not the Solution for Older Drivers, chided the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) for perpetuating the myth that wider lanes will lead to increased safety for senior citizens. Perhaps our most important work is the creation of the Rightsizing Resource Guide, a powerful resource for citizen’s who want to press their transportation agencies to retrofit streets for safer and more equitable operation.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Where Young College Graduates Are Choosing to Live - Nashville Makes the List!

Good morning Nashville!  Take a few minutes and read the subtext of this NY Times article below.  The young want to live in the 'very heart of cities' - including Nashville.  With this means, they need more options for getting around including better public transportation and walkability.

Where Young College Graduates Are Choosing to Live

By Clarie Cane Miller
OCT. 20, 2014
New York Times

When young college graduates decide where to move, they are not just looking at the usual suspects, like New York, Washington and San Francisco. Other cities are increasing their share of these valuable residents at an even higher rate and have reached a high overall percentage, led by Denver, San Diego, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore., according to a report published Monday by City Observatory, a new think tank.
And as young people continue to spurn the suburbs for urban living, more of them are moving to the very heart of cities — even in economically troubled places like Buffalo and Cleveland. The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.
Some cities are attracting young talent while their overall population falls, like Pittsburgh and New Orleans. And in a reversal, others that used to be magnets, like Atlanta and Charlotte, are struggling to attract them at the same rate.
Even as Americans over all have become less likely to move, young, college-educated people continue to move at a high clip — about a million cross state lines each year, and these so-called young and the restless don’t tend to settle down until their mid-30s. Where they end up provides a map of the cities that have a chance to be the economic powerhouses of the future.
Continue reading the main story

Where the Population of College Graduates Is Growing

As metropolitan areas vie for these residents, some are attracting them at a higher rate than the national average. The rate over the last dozen years does not necessarily reflect the current percentage. For example, Denver’s percentage in this age group is 7.5, higher than Houston’s and more than the national average of 5.2 percent, but lower than that of Washington, the Bay Area and Boston.   
Percent change in the number of college graduates aged 25 to 34, from 2000 to 2012 
Los Angeles
St. Louis
New York
Top 51 metro areas, average
San Francisco
“There is a very strong track record of places that attract talent becoming places of long-term success,” said Edward Glaeser, an economist at Harvard and author of “Triumph of the City.” “The most successful economic development policy is to attract and retain smart people and then get out of their way.”
The economic effects reach beyond the work the young people do, according to Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of “The New Geography of Jobs.” For every college graduate who takes a job in an innovation industry, he found, five additional jobs are eventually created in that city, such as for waiters, carpenters, doctors, architects and teachers.
“It’s a type of growth that feeds on itself — the more young workers you have, the more companies are interested in locating their operations in that area and the more young people are going to move there,” he said.
About 25 percent more young college graduates live in major metropolitan areas today than in 2000, which is double the percentage increase in cities’ total population. All the 51 biggest metros except Detroit have gained young talent, either from net migration to the cities or from residents graduating from college, according to the report. It is based on data from the federal American Community Survey and written by Joe Cortright, an economist who runs City Observatory and Impresa, a consulting firm on regional economies.
Denver has become one of the most powerful magnets. Its population of the young and educated is up 47 percent since 2000, nearly double the percentage increase in the New York metro area. And 7.5 percent of Denver’s population is in this group, more than the national average of 5.2 percent and more than anywhere but Washington, the Bay Area and Boston.
Denver has many of the tangible things young people want, economists say, including mountains, sunshine and jobs in booming industries like tech. Perhaps more important, it also has the ones that give cities the perception of cultural cool, like microbreweries and bike-sharing and an acceptance of marijuana and same-sex marriage.
“With lots of cultural things to do and getting away to the mountains, you can have the work-play balance more than any place I’ve ever lived,” said Colleen Douglass, 27, a video producer at Craftsy, a start-up with online classes for crafts. “There’s this really thriving start-up scene here, and the sense we can be in a place we love and work at a cool new company but not live in Silicon Valley.”
Other cities that have had significant increases in a young and educated population and that now have more than their share include San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore.
At the other end of the spectrum are the cities where less than 4 percent of the population are young college graduates. Among those, Detroit lost about 10 percent of this group, while Providence gained just 6 percent and Memphis 10 percent.
Atlanta, one of the biggest net gainers of young graduates in the 1990s, has taken a sharp turn. Its young, educated population has increased just 2.8 percent since 2000, significantly less than its overall population. It is suffering the consequences of overenthusiasm for new houses and new jobs before the crash, economists say.
The population of young, educated people in Dallas, Charlotte and Raleigh is also growing more slowly than their populations as a whole.
The effects of the migration of the young and the restless are most vividly seen in urban cores. In 1980, young adults were 10 percent more likely than other people to live in these areas, according to the report from City Observatory, which is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. In 2010, they were 51 percent more likely, and those with college degrees were 126 percent more likely. The trend extends to all the largest metropolitan areas except Detroit and Birmingham, Ala.
Of the metropolitan areas with the most populous city centers, Washington and Philadelphia showed the largest increases of young adults living there, at 75 and 78 percent. Other cities that have made big gains in that category are Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Miami and St. Louis. Washington also had the largest share of young college graduates over all, at 8.1 percent.

“They want something exciting, culturally fun, involving a lot of diversity — and their fathers’ suburban lifestyle doesn’t seem to be all that thrilling to many of them,” Mr. Glaeser said.
How many eventually desert the city centers as they age remains to be seen, but demographers predict that many will stay. They say that could not only bolster city economies, but also lead to decreases in crime and improvements in public schools. If the trends continue, places like Pittsburgh and Buffalo could develop a new reputation — as role models for resurgence.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Inconsistent Patchwork in Sidewalk Network Leads to Difficulty Getting From Point A to B in Nashville on Foot

For the record, I am for the Gulch Bridge - although I would like a consideration of roofing over the whole train area and building a BIG pedestrian park - like the park in Dallas created by covering the expressway.

I am also for the 440 Greenway.  In fact, I am wondering 'what's the delay'?  If land was set aside years ago - why don't we have a beautiful park to enjoy now?


You can see that I have little bias - I just want the best walkability Nashville can offer.


One of the arguments I hear against sidewalks is that people really don't walk much in Nashville - the sidewalks we have are underutilized. 

What I want you to notice is the completely inconsistent patchwork of walking option we have right now.  Mixed messages abound.  Walk here (rare) & definitely do not walk here (far too common). 

Once you become conscious of the limited and seemingly random choices available you'll never again wonder why you see so few walkers around town.


I am all for taking each road as a unique place with distinct needs but we need a basic set of infrastructure standards put in place for Nashville walkers.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pedestrian Paradise is TODAY! Please SHARE this and COME! 3-6p

Come celebrate Walk Nashville Month.

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

Walk Bowling Av, from West End to Woodmont, in its current state (WITH CARE!  Know the rules:  Walk AGAINST TRAFFIC!  Wear bright/reflective clothes.  It never hurts to wave at drivers)

Explore 'Art Bombed' Elmington Park at the corner of West End & Bowling Av


Designed to encourage & reward the citizens of Nashville to unite in the spirit of better amenities for pedestrians 
(AKA more and better designed sidewalks)!  


*Bring a blanket, lay in the grass, people watch, read a book.

*Run through the park, encounter the Marcus Wanner Jazz Band.

(Watch preview at link below)

*Have the best cup of coffee in Nashville from Feisty Goat Roasters (out of the back of a van!).

*Register to Vote.  Learn about the amendments that you are currently being asked to vote on at The League of Women Voters.

*Take a free Yoga Class at 5p in the outdoors with the Amazing Emma Cribb.

*Listen to poetry with The Porch Writers' Collective.

*Consider putting up a Little Library at your house!

*Have a sandwich from Steaming Goat and a some amazing donuts from Itty Bitty afterwards.

*Engage with Councilman Jason Holleman (& maybe get on TV!).

*Watch Nashville Jugglers in action.

Learn about Poverty & The Arts: (

*Make a profile with Smart911.

*Learn about Urban Green Lab: Nashville's only nonprofit dedicated to improving well-being through sustainable living.

*Sit on re-claimed pallet furniture built by the Guerrilla Urbanists.

*See what Platetone Printmakers are about: A fine arts community studio offering workspace, workshops and exhibition opportunities.
*Lounge on the benches in the garden on the west side of West End Middle School and listen to Skylar Fisher perform.  


Plan to perform next year?


For more information, to RSVP, and to SHARE:

Pedestrian Paradise:  
Go Nashville, Go on Foot!