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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fatal Pedestrian Injury in Nashville

December 21, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

          The pedestrian fatally injured after being struck by a compact SUV at 5:30 a.m. today on Murfreesboro Pike at Dover Glen Drive is identified as Vulet A. Gaurge, 45, of Dover Glen Drive.
          The preliminary investigation shows that Gaurge was crossing Murfreesboro Pike in the rain to reach a bus stop when she was struck by a 2010 Subaru Forester driven by Samuel J. Wolf, 27, of Gale Lane.  Wolf said he did not see Gaurge until he struck her.  Gaurge was carrying an umbrella which may have obstructed her view of traffic.  She was crossing the street about 30 feet away from a crosswalk
          There was no indication of alcohol or drug involvement on the part of either individual.

                                                              ### 
          


Three things:  as a driver, it is your job to see pedestrians.  You have to anticipate their moves.  Period.  

Second thing, and I don't know the answer to this:  is there a deficiency of proper pedestrian level lighting in this city?  I find Nashville so dark!  For example, I was at the intersection of 21st and Wedgewood yesterday & all 4 decorative lamps at each corner were out.  I could barely see the pedestrians crossing in the cross walk.  If anyone out there has some knowledge on lighting that is best for pedestrians or what other cities do (I can't say I have had the thought that other cities are so dark) - please let me know.

Third thing:  I think the ultimate question on the sad case above is why pedestrians feel the need to cross out of a crosswalk.  I suspect that it is due to poor design.


***

Design matters.  

Shade Parade = tree lined, well designed sidewalks for Nashville






Sunday, December 20, 2015

Keys to Happiness...









The same is true about walking and coffee...




Friday, December 18, 2015

Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference...Sometimes for the Worse. See for Yourself...

Little changes can make a big difference.  It seems that the general trend in Nashville is towards a more progressive walkable city but there are times of obvious step back.  Today, I encountered a big one.  

One of my treasured foot paths, between the Hill Center and Bandywood in Green Hills, has been very recently fenced off.  Someone, presumably the landlord, took the time and spent the money to do it.  

Why?  


The construction dumpster was bad enough but now this fence!


As I was shimmying between the rigid fence and the grey-green 
?electrical box, I commiserated with a guy loping towards me, cutting through the parking lot, planning on utilizing the sweet stone pathway as I have done a million times before.  

My first thought was, 'Oh, so Nashville' and I am sorry that this is the way my city is sometimes.  It's frustrating that walkers are not supported and celebrated more.  

Pedestrians should not be treated as 2nd rate citizens as they add a lot of value to a community.  The fact is, pedestrianism is good for cities.  Less car traffic = more conviviality.  More foot traffic = less social isolation.  Less air pollution = more fit citizens.  

Win-Win

Foot traffic, for businesses, can only be seen as a boon.  I am not sure what the correct response is here to the fenced off walkway...If someone has a good and decent idea - please comment below.

As pedestrians in Nashville know...There are far too many places where the sidewalk abruptly ends.  Maybe there is a way to reverse this recently created blockade to walking...







Thursday, December 17, 2015

Big Event This Saturday on Bandywood...Finish your holiday shopping on foot (and have fun doing it!)



Big Event This Saturday on Bandywood...Finish your holiday shopping on foot (and have fun doing it!)

Want to shop locally and pick up a few things from the mall in Green Hills?  Don't want to fight traffic and search long and hard for parking?  Come to a unique and clever event to be held 

THIS SATURDAY
December 19th, 2015


***

If you find it lamentable that Green Hills shopping district is not more walkable - please come to this event!  It is so important to actually walk Green Hills and experience it.  This event will provide a safe and cheerful way to do this in the company of others.    

Plan to meet a friend.  Please share this link or the Facebook links below.  

***


A funny addition from Elizabeth Miller, a very smart lawyer, mother and walking advocate that directly relates to the invitation below:

As a side note and to encourage all about the impact of the concept: (1) my 27 month-old boy, Henry, has devised his own game where he lines up his small VTech toys and the last one "can't find a parking spot"; (2) today, the Billy Reid employees at the Hill Center spent 10 minutes telling me about their harrowing adventures trying to hop the wall between the Hill Center and Bandywood to lunch/shop, concluding that TURBO should build a slide for Saturday's event. 

So, are slides a possible infrastructure solution so that walkers can scale the numerous physical blockades that are currently hindering pedestrian flow in Green Hills???  

Come and walk - decide for yourself (and have some holiday cheer while doing it)!

 

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A4GH_Holiday%20Poster_v3%20%283%29.pdf

***



Come one come all to do you healthy holiday shopping! Find us by foot on Bandywood Dr and get FREE gift card giveaways and discounts!


Music Lineup:

3pm - Hillsboro High Carolers
3:30pm - Lisa Dotolo and Friends
4:30pm - Benjamin Bynum

People from all over Nashville come to Green Hills to do their shopping. The biggest issue with coming to this area to shop is dealing with the automotive congestion. Most people will drive from one parking lot to the next even if when a desired store is less then a tenth of a mile away. The reason most people will drive between stores is because the pedestrian infrastructure is lacking, it is unenjoyable and even dangerous to walk in this area.

With this project, TURBO and Alliance for Green Hills are creating a fun, festive, and safe environment for shoppers to walk between the Green Hills Mall and Hill Center.

https://www.facebook.com/events/955156594558597/

 https://www.facebook.com/all4greenhills







Monday, December 14, 2015

Things You Should Have on Your Xmas/Holiday List


The following top 5 list was created by Dr. Katie Rizzone, who is has a wry sense of humor that never ceases to make me laugh...



***

Things you should have on your Xmas/holiday list instead of whatever crap you currently have:
1. Exercise. Join a gym, get a treadmill, and do whatever it takes to stay consistent. (I would add:  EXPLORE YOUR CITY - TAKE A WALK OUTSIDE!!!) You don't need to do 100 pull-ups, just be active.

2. Don't smoke/drink. Stop, for the love of yourself, figure out a way. If someone smokes around you, get them to stop. Alcohol is a known toxin, you can get way more heart health through walking than red wine. Sorry, but true. 

3. Eat real food. Don't take in your nutrients through supplements or shakes or gluten free, vegan bacon whatever. Eat real food and prepare it yourself. Don't go out to eat often. That food is usually not healthy. 

4. Repair fractured relationships with family. You have no idea how expensive long-term care is. And how shitty the food is until you get there. I would stay on everyone's good side. You're going to need them to take you to doctors visits, help with your meds etc etc

5. Figure out how to be happy. Get outside, find a hobby, be nice to people. Even if you get hit by a bus at 40, for goodness sakes' it's so much better.

***

I would add ---  to number 1- Exercise (this should be done AT ANY COST!  If childcare is an issue, the Y has an amazing childcare center where you can drop your children FOR  9 HOURS PER WEEK while you exercise).  

6. Get Involved:  Grow some of your own food, sweep your front walkway, sit on your front porch and wave at your neighbors, volunteer for something you care about (I am involved in making Nashville more walkable and it has led to all sorts of fun), listen, learn something new, go to your public library & wander, travel.  

















Monday, December 7, 2015

Walking Should Be...


Walking should be fun.


Art helps...

Businesses help...window shopping and people watching should not be taken for granted as they heighten the fun.

Serendipity is important.  An unexpected find is like a lightening bolt of fun.


***

Walking should not be dangerous.

Does this look like a viable way to get to the local playground?

Consider speed limit reduction in residential areas where there is a lot of walkers and no hope of sidewalks any time soon.

Imagine walking here...in order for me to walk to work, I would have to cross this.  Look safe?  Look fun?



Nashville, we have a lot of work to do.  We are sorely lagging behind our sister cities when it comes to walkability.

Please talk to your friends, your neighbors, your councilperson about the need for high quality sidewalks.



Let's all pitch in to move Nashville from a city where the sidewalk ends to the best walking city in the South!










Saturday, December 5, 2015

Donate To Walk Bike Nashville

As we head into the holiday season, I want to put in a plug for Walk Bike Nashville as a great place to donate.  If you haven't looked at their website lately - please do (link below).  They are doing really strong work to help all of Nashville be more walkable and bikeable.  

They are daily encouragment to get out there on foot or on bike.    

Tour de Nash







http://www.walkbikenashville.org

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mayor Barry to Update Strategic Plan for Sidewalks!

As many of you know, the goal of Shade Parade Nashville is to help Nashville transition into a consistently walkable city.  I would love if all of Nashville's streets look like the one below:  rich and lively with people walking.

Very excited that Mayor Barry is allocating an additional $15 Million towards sidewalks and that the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks (http://mpw.nashville.gov/IMS/Sidewalks/StrategicPlan.aspx) will be updated.  The Plan, from 2008, is actually pretty great - it was just not funded and did not have the backing, it appears, from Public Works as many projects did not follow either the Pedestrian Generator Index nor the basic design with proper green buffers and width described in the plan.  

What I encourage you to note as you move through Nashville are the sidewalks that are busy and work.  The ones that don't are often narrow build, filled with obstacles, or are right next to the road.  It is one thing to build low quality sidewalks as, essentially, decoration and another to build well designed sidewalks that can be used forever.



Nashville’s New Sidewalk Plan Aims To Solve These Two Persistent Gripes 

  DEC 1, 2015 
After much clamoring by Nashvillians, the city will soon update its master plan for sidewalks and bikeways. It arrives as unprecedented funding becomes available for paving and following a year in which demand for better sidewalks reached a fever pitch.
While the new plan is far off (sometime in 2016), two things are clear in a recent Metro document:
First, officials want to look at the math equation that helps pick where to build sidewalks — known as the Pedestrian Generator Index, or PGI, and explained by WPLN here.
Second, they want a better website to show the public exactly when a sidewalk is coming their way — a tool that’s been lacking, to the frustration of many, as detailed by WPLN here.
Those two tools would help carry out a broad expansion of the sidewalk network, with attention still paid to maintaining existing stretches.
During election season, candidates scrambled to make promises about sidewalks. And in one of her first speeches, Mayor Megan Barry lamented the city’s outdated strategy, last updated in 2008.
“We need to update that plan,” she told the Metro Council on Oct. 6. “My administration has already directed Metro Public Works to immediately start undertaking a thorough update.”
The city just opened its search for a consultant to hold public meetings, compare Nashville to other cities, and to collect sidewalk wisdom into a new plan. Metro requested a five-year agenda of sidewalk and bikeway projects, along with estimated costs.
Even changes to city laws will be considered.


Link:

http://nashvillepublicradio.org/post/nashville-s-new-sidewalk-plan-aims-solve-these-two-persistent-gripes

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Copenhagenize Nashville?

Please click on link below as the pictures are so informative but won't copy into this blog well.  (Big thank you to Mike for sending this article my way - it is spectacular!)

Nashville, we are working hard to get you sidewalked and to change the culture to a walking one.  I am personally 2 years into this project.  Change has been slow but our new mayor seems interested in increasing funding for sidewalks - a step in the right direction.

Now is the time to contact your council person and discuss with your neighbors where sidewalks are needed in your community.

In regards to culture, since there has not been a major public health campaign to educate drivers that pedestrians do, in fact, have the right of way - please learn now that you are to yield to them if driving.  Even though there is no law - give them 3 feet as you would bicycles.  

Thank you for being interested in walkability in Nashville!

Copenhagenizing Paris


I'll be speaking in Paris today - 21 November 2015 - about bicycle urbanism and lessons to be learned from Copenhagen.

Paris has declared that it aims to be the world's best bicycle city in the world by 2020. This is simply not possible with the current sub-standard understanding of Best Practice infrastructure. The current Mayor Anne Hildalgo, has some good ideas, which we've reviewed here, but until the City understands the basics of bicycle infrastructure,  not much is going to happen.

While there are good examples of the City employing Best Practice infrastructure (above left) there are still strange things imagined in the heads of engineers and planners who have little idea of how to do it. Like the weird bi-directional stuff you see like above, right.

Or using bus lanes as bicycle lanes on long boulevards where buses can get up to speed (above, left), or strange turn lanes like atabove, right.

Best Practice has been established. It's ridiculous to try and reinvent the wheel. Copy-paste. It's that simple.


If the iconic Champs-Élysées were to be done properly, it would look a bit like this. We would probably run a wide, green meridan down the middle to further reduce the traffic so it didn't keep on looking like a Robert Doisneau photograph from the 1950s:

It's all so simple. Paris should realise that.

We have covered The Arrogance of Space related to Paris in this article. Using as an example the intersection, above, below the Eiffel Tower. You can see the Arrogance of Space in that link. But what would it look like if proper infrastructure were applied?



Safer, better, more modern. A total redemocratisation of the urban space. Benefiting pedestrians and cyclists and taming the most destructive force in cities - the automobile. This is designed for humans. Not engineered for cars.

It's simple if Paris wants it to be. If they dare to do it. Without this kind of redesign, they will do little for modernising transport in the city.





Link:
http://www.copenhagenize.com/2015/11/copenhagenizing-paris.html







Wednesday, October 28, 2015

What Does Our Current Sidewalk Infrastructure Say About Us?

'When the public realm is vibrant, beautiful, and active, it is a demonstration that the local government values its citizens and their quality of life.  Alternatively, when the public realm is neglected, badly designed, or treated as an after through, it reflects poorly on the city, effectively sending a message that the government does not value its citizens or its visitors.  At the Design Trust, we believe that well-designed, beautiful public spaces have the power to restore a sense of dignity to our urban environment, enrich our civic life and foster a sense of ownership in local residents.'

- Megan Canning
Deputy Director
The Design Trust for Public Spaces
http://designtrust.org


***

Downtown Nashville is flourishing (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/realestate/commercial/nashvilles-skyline-being-rebuilt-by-building-boom.html?_r=0) but what about the other highly valuable centers of Nashville?  I am arguing that we need a cohesive and well designed sidewalk plan to connect our city & we need to establish permanent funding in order to complete the task.  


In Green Hills:  A 'premiere' shopping destination





Can Nashville make public spaces like these a thing of the past?  Can we stop talking about building sidewalks and actually get to the work of it?  

There is a huge latent demand for real walkability:  sidewalks that connect to destinations, are highly functional, safe, and have beautiful design.  

Please let your elected officials know your thoughts or share this post!  The more people who care about walkability in Nashville, the better.  











Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This is Embarassing - See How Nashville Compares: Our Average Utilization of Active Transport Compared to National Average + Other Cities


I show this graph and include the brief info from a New York Times article below to argue that we need dedicated funding for active transportation infrastructure (walking, biking, public transportation) here in Nashville.  

We don't currently have this:  every year, the funding has to be asked for - there is no guarantee and this leads to instability and difficulty in setting long term plans.  Hence, we haven't planned well and we now experience the situation where buses let you off on small concrete pads that connect to nothing on very busy streets and we have 1/8 of mile of sidewalk for every mile of roadways.  Every complains of traffic.  And yet, in our neighborhoods, we have major connector streets lacking sidewalks that could lead residents to walk to run errands, but are instead lined with dangerous ditches.   

Nashville is experiencing a boom and yet are missing the opportunity to harvest some of this revenue to create a superior  walking experience.  

I'd argue that there is no great walking city in the South...why not make Nashville the first?







Nashville’s Skyline Being Reshaped by Building Boom



NASHVILLE — A powerful surge in construction is reshaping the physical character and economy of this 236-year-old river city, and fueling a deepening public conversation about essential civic values that many residents worry could be lost.

More than 100 new projects, together valued at more than $2 billion, are underway in Nashville or planned to start next year, according to city figures. Most of the big projects — four hotels, five office buildings and eight high-rise residential towers with a total value of $1.5 billion — are in the downtown core, a number of them rising on former parking lots, according to the Nashville Downtown Partnership, a business development group.
LINK:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/realestate/commercial/nashvilles-skyline-being-rebuilt-by-building-boom.html?_r=0



Now, is the time to write your mayor and call your councilperson...If they do not know your wishes for better walkability - they won't act.  




Friday, September 25, 2015

Crowd-Sourced Map - Lets you vote on where infrastructure is needed most



Slowly, I am working on The Sidewalk Foundation website...it is going to have a map where Nashvillians can drop a pin in the locations they think most need sidewalks.  

There will also  be a place to make a donation.  Nashville is booming.  But we are not putting in the infrastructure to make this the best walking city in the South.  Funding seems to be the major impediment to walkability.  We, as a city, can change this...





How a crowd-sourced map changed Kuala Lumpur’s ideas about cycling


How do you go about making a city where 93% of households own a car more bike-friendly? By crowd-sourcing a cycle map – and getting the mayor on board







“Cycling not for leisure, but for transportation, for utility” ... the workings of Jeffrey Lim’s cycle map of Kuala Lumpur.

‘Cycling – not for leisure but for transportation, for utility’ … At work on the KL cycle map. Photograph: Jeffrey Lim




Friday 18 September 2015 03.08 EDTLast modified on Thursday 24 September 2015 10.24 EDT


“I was a bit naive,” admits Jeffrey Lim. “I thought it would be easy.” In Lim’s bright studio in Kuala Lumpur, bike wheels adorn the walls and a large table is spread with maps of Malaysia. Lim, a graphic designer, has spent the past three years mapping the city for cyclists.

To anybody familiar with Kuala Lumpur’s urban sprawl, “naive” might seem like an understatement. As residents will tell you, this is a city built for cars. According to Nielsen, Malaysia has the third highest rate of car ownership in the world – a whopping 93% of households own a car.

“We were a nation which built bicycles. But we forgot,” says Lim. In the 1960s and 70s, rapid urbanisation in Greater Kuala Lumpur saw new highways straddle the city and the suburbs. In the 80s, the invention of a “national” car sealed Kuala Lumpur’s fate as a motorised metropolis.

Yet in recent years, a group of determined cyclists have taken to the roads nonetheless. At night or early in the morning, drivers and motorcylists might be startled to see a convoy of cyclists suddenly appear. Lim – a youthful looking man with spectacles and a focused demeanour – is often among them, helping to shepherd the group.


Every week, new people came. I stopped counting when it went over 50Jeffrey Lim
FacebookTwitterPinterest ‘I was a bit naive. I thought it would be easy’ … Jeffrey Lim. Photograph: Ling Low

Lim first got the idea for a bicycle map in early 2012. He wanted to show how the city could work for cycling – “not for leisure, but for transportation, for utility.” Knowing that most people thought of cycling as “impossible” in the city, he envisioned the map as a tool for advocates. “It was aspirational,” he says. “Because the map would have to come before the infrastructure.”

After getting the word out, Lim designed a blank map of the city to hand out to volunteers. With no dedicated cycle lanes in the city, the idea was for people to explore the routes that were at least possible to cycle, from major roads to unmarked paths. Routes would be marked according to their accessibility for cyclists.

Over a few months, Lim’s studio – which he used to restore vintage bikes – became a weekly gathering point for volunteers. “Every week, new people came. I stopped counting when it went over 50,” he says. “At that point, I had to start a Facebook group specifically for this project.”

Some volunteers reported back with phone calls, some drew sketches, others sent him photos. “Slowly, the map took over my life,” says Lim. He spent months curating the information. Noticing that most of the cyclists were English speakers living in certain urban clusters, he recruited bilingual volunteers to connect with communities in other parts of the city.
FacebookTwitterPinterest The finished product ... Kuala Lumpur cycling maps. Photograph: Jeffrey Lim

After two years and three drafts, the map was completed in September 2014. It was published in three languages – English, Chinese and Malay – and distributed for free, with a print run of 10,000.

From the beginning, the map had been a grassroots project, crowd-sourced with data from the cycling community. But as word of mouth grew, several local councils contacted Lim to find out more. Now he had a new challenge in front of him: to turn the map into real infrastructure.

“It was interesting to see they took it seriously,” says Lim. While the government had talked up cycling in the past, this had largely been lip service. “It was not at the top of their list. Even though it was stated that, yes, cycling and walking were very important, it was not stated what, where and how.”

The bureaucracy of different government layers was another big obstacle. “Federal government, state governments, departments and city councils – they were all pointing fingers at each other,” says Lim.


Kuala Lumpur City Council has opened a 5km cycle lane, and has approved funds for a further two
FacebookTwitterPinterest Lim develops the map with volunteers, including members of the Urban Transportation department at Kuala Lumpur City Council. Photograph: Jeffrey Lim

To go beyond paper-pushing, Kuala Lumpur needed a pinch of luck. That luck was its mayor: Tan Sri Ahmad Phesal Talib, who took office in 2012. The mayor happened to be an avid cyclist and he called Lim in for consultation.

On a breezy morning in April this year, Lim and his volunteers cycled alongside the mayor as he inaugurated Kuala Lumpur’s first official bicycle lane. After more than a year of planning, it was finally open: a 5km cycling corridor connecting the satellite city of Petaling Jaya to the historic centre of Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur City Council went on to approve funds for two more cycling lanes in other parts of the city, with a total budget of £765,000. Lim has continued to consult with other city councils around Malaysia.


How Christchurch used the earthquake to return the city to its cycling roots

Read more

“I’m happy the map project is over. I’m happy that we have a document and I’m glad that other people find it useful,” says Lim. “I wanted to change people’s perception about cycling. That was the most important thing.”

Of course, it will be a long time before Kuala Lumpur is a bike-friendly city. To date, there has been no directive from the federal government for a cycling master plan. Lim fears that this will hold back long-term infrastructure, especially since city councils rotate their posts every three years.

But, slowly, a cycling culture is growing here. As well as the new cycle routes, residents now enjoy two car-free mornings in the city every month. There’s also talk of a bicycle festival at the end of the year.

“The map connected all these like-minded people and created a strong community,” says Lim. “It started the ball rolling. No matter how small the move, it’s still a stepping stone for the next move – by whoever.”

Ling Low is editor of Poskod.MY. Follow Guardian Cities on Twitter and Facebookand join the discussion


LINK:

http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/sep/18/how-crowd-sourced-map-kuala-lumpurs-ideas-cycling















Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Channel 5 News Reporting on Dangers at Crosswalks - Impressive! Plus, Policy Walk 10/2/2015



This is a good representative of why our walkability needs to be high quality.  If you are not an active walker, you may think a simple sidewalk or crosswalk is fine but it takes actually getting out their on foot to see where the design flaws are.  

I applaud this kind of news reporting.  It is accomplishing 2 critical goals:  educating drivers and highlighting design flaws. 




For those who want to be a Pedestrian Advocate and learn more, there is an upcoming Policy Walk on October 2nd, 2015, details below:

Our city is changing every day. All corners are welcoming new people, new buildings going up, new businesses, and new restaurants.   Walking as a means of transportation has become more common and as the use of public transit increases more and more people are walking to and from their bus stops.  Add to this Nashville’s growing recreational walkers and the number of tourists walking about Nashville and at times pedestrians outnumber motorists. 

In 2008, the Nashville Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) was established by an Executive Order<http://www.nashville.gov/Metro-Clerk/Legal-Resources/Executive-Orders/Mayor-Karl-Dean/kd034.aspx> of Mayor Karl Dean to further Nashville's goal of becoming a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly city. The board includes a representative from every Metro government department, as well as concerned Nashvillians.  When BPAC was formed it joined the already established non-profit Walk Bike Nashville in championing an increase in safe biking and walking as a significant and beneficial mode of transportation and recreation. 

In this spirit, BPAC and Walk Bike Nashville invite you to join us on a 1.6 mile walk showcasing  the “Successes and Challenges” of pedestrians. The walk will highlight what is working well, like the traffic scramble on lower Broadway and lead pedestrian lights and areas that need improvements, in particular the construction closure of sidewalks and bike lanes, which also negatively impact small businesses in their vicinities. 

Details about the policy walk are as follows:

WHAT: BPAC/Walk Bike Nashville’s Successes-And-Challenges Walk, distance is approximately 1.6 miles
DATE and TIME:  Friday, October 2, from 7:30 a.m. to approximately 9:00 a.m.
BRING:  Comfortable shoes
START AND END POINT: Public Square Park, pastries and coffee will be served.
RSVP:  EventBrite

Questions:  Please contact Mary Pat Teague at marypat.teague@vanderbilt.edu or Nora Kerns at nora@walkbikenashville.org