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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Walking Allows You to See Things Differently...wait, is that a codes violation?

Walking allows you to see things differently.




Having feet on the ground and eyes on the neighborhood can be helpful.  As all of Nashville knows, there is a lot of new building and remodeling going on.  There are also a lot of rules around construction.  For example, when a developer takes down one house and puts up 2 or more, they are supposed to put in their piece of sidewalk.  With density, we are supposed to be getting a sidewalk network.

Going with the theme of rules, did you know that developers are supposed to also put in trees?  All new houses are required to have one tree per every 30 feet of street frontage.

***

I'd been walking by the above construction site for a few weeks...looking directly at the exposed pool and wondering about it.  Since you don't see pools from the road, it was something new.  Most pools are behind locked gates for safety reasons, so this struck me as a possible issue.   I sent in a question about it to the link to codes below and 2 days later, see photo below.  Nice! 
Much safer.

***

If you see something while walking you can report it at:






***

Again, trees are an issue for walkers.  They provide critical shade while out on foot.  It is really hot out there, especially if walking on concrete.  I see a lot of clear cutting of properties right as they prepare to be developed.  Again, there is supposed to be a tree for every 30' of street frontage.  






I hear people complain about 'big government' but one issue that seems to come up often in Nashville is that we do not have enough inspectors to identify issues.  It really does take citizens to do this work.  I was once told there were 2 people to monitor all the sidewalk issues for the whole of Davidson County.  I have heard similar low numbers for trees.  As a walker, YOU CAN HELP!  If you see something that does not seem right...you can email it (along with pictures!) to the Codes Link above.

***

I also wanted to introduce a new group in town focused on the tree canopy issue in Nashville.  As you know, I LOVE SHADE (i.e.:  Shade Parade = tree lined streets = many more people out on foot!).  I can't seem to get enough shade these days as it is the dog days of summer & I find myself out on foot really early to beat the heat.  


The new group is called The Nashville Tree Task Force.   They are working on encouraging developers to do the right thing - protect older trees and plant new ones to compensate where one may need to be taken down.  

LINK:  
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/davidson%20/2016/07/23/nashville-residents-worry-trees-city-grows/87092260/
  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1157459857620239/1214896235209934/?notif_t=group_activity&notif_id=1469675228186086

As so often is the issue, there are not enough metro employees whose job it is to look for these types of violations.  That is one reason why paying attention when out of foot can be very helpful for the good of all Nashvillian. 



***

I'd like to, in a similar fashion to The Nashville Tree Task Force, send in sidewalk violations at the codes link above for those developers who are not putting in their piece of the sidewalk as required.  I highly encourage you to do the same.  Maybe, if they know sidewalks are wanted, they will start enforcing the rules.  

LINK:






Drop a pin where you believe a sidewalk should be in Nashville:  http://thesidewalkfoundation.org















Friday, July 29, 2016

Tree Lined Walkways & Roadways = Shade Parade = More Pedestrians!!!

It must be the heat of late July, but I cannot emphasize enough that Nashville would do better to provide more shade to its pedestrians.  It is a brutal reality to look ahead and see no shade cover to provide relief.  Walking with an umbrella helps but trees would help more...  



A few key things to consider: 
  • Know that there is a public right-of-way on all property where a sidewalk will (hopefully!) be put in.  Therefore, do not plant your trees in this area.   You'll want to plant your tree in a way that it will line the future sidewalk  
  • Look up!  If you have overhead wires, you'll need to consider trees with a shorter terminal height such as flowering cherry trees.  This is critical for proper growth and for aesthetic pleasure.  If you plant a tall tree, the utility company will eventually have to trim it so that it does not interfere with the wires (and this is not often pretty!)


110F in the sun 
85F in the shade...


Nashville does suffer from an heat island effect due to all our hard surfaces.  If you note the temperatures, we are always 4-5 degrees hotter than the surrounding regions.  One way to combat this is on the neighborhood level.  

Plant trees!!!

This article below has some great tree planting concepts...I encourage you to take a look...

LINK:
http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/davidson%20/2016/07/23/nashville-residents-worry-trees-city-grows/87092260/



Additional Links:
http://www.nashvilletreefoundation.org/choosing-the-right-tree/
http://www.nashvilletreefoundation.org/how-to-plant-a-tree/
http://www.nashvilletreefoundation.org/caring-for-your-tree/
http://www.nashvilletreefoundation.org/releafing/
http://www.nashvilletreefoundation.org


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

SHADE is KEY to Walkability! Thank you to the shout out from the excellent Walk Bike Nashville


Really enjoyed the shout out by the excellent Walk Bike Nashville and the recognition that shade is critical in Nashville during the summer months!!!


Hint:  Please plant shade trees!







Katie Goes Carless 

CAR FREE LIFE: WEEK 1

The look on people's faces when you tell them you don't own a car is hilarious. It starts with sympathy followed by a mix of surprise and doubt when you tell them it's a life style choice. The cashier at Turnip Truck even offered, "If you ever need a ride, let me know." Thanks, Caleb, I'll swing by if I'm ever in a bind!

Day 1 (7/18/2016): I dropped of my rental car at the body shop and cleaned out my car. I brought my panniers and loaded them up. When the insurance guy told me I could pull my car around I told him I didn't have one! Cue look of sympathy. I explained that I used to live in Chicago without a car and wanted to try it in Nashville. He reminded me Chicago is more pedestrian friendly and passed me off to the rental car employee to turn in my keys. I had my bike in the back of the truck and explained to the people at Enterprise I would be biking my stuff back, jumper cables and all. Cue look of sympathy. Again, I explained it was a life choice and went on my way.
My boyfriend picked up for dinner in a car.
Bike: 4.3 miles
Car: 4.4 miles
Walk: 0
Bus: 0

Day 2 (7/19/2016): Rode to and from work today. Had to leave work a little early because I wasn't feeling great. Not sure if it's just a summer cold or potential dehydration from biking? It's hot out there, people! I don't think I've ever drank more water in my life. Luckily I was okay to bike home, but it got me thinking about what would happen if I was seriously ill, had mechanical issues or if there was extreme weather. Many businesses and transportation organizations offer a Guaranteed Ride Home, RTA does a version of this. Something to think about at Walk Bike Nashville.
Biked the 3/4 of a mile to the grocery store and back. 
Bike: 10.1 miles
Car: 0
Walk: 0
Bus: 0

Day 3 (7/20/2016): Definitely felt it in my legs this morning. How can my bike ride be up hill both ways? Because Nashville, that's how. One of the biggest things I've noticed in my first few days is how well you have to plan. I have a kickball game tonight and needed to pack my clothes for work and kickball and arrange a ride to the field on Thompson Ln. I'm meeting a friend after and needed another outfit. Doable, but a lot more thought and planning goes into getting ready than if I had a car and could zip home.
Bike: 4.3 miles
Car: 23.5
Walk: 0
Bus: 0
sisyphus.gif
How I felt about the hills in Nashville today


Day 4 (7/21/2016): Stayed at a friend's place last night and walked the .7 miles to work. I said Hi/Good morning to at least 8 people on the way in and it was great! Stopped by the grocery store and picked up things for breakfast and lunch. Also learned A LOT in a very short walk about the necessity for shade in Nashville in the summer. I crossed the street to the side with more trees because one side was like the Sahara, but way more humid (see second picture). If you want to read more about sidewalks in Nashville I highly recommend Stacy Dorris's blog, Shade Parade.

Bike: 4.6 miles
Car: 0 
Walk: .7 miles
Bus: 0

IMG_20160721_083101.jpgIMG_20160721_083300.jpgIMG_20160721_083539.jpg
Some of the views from my walk to work!

Day 5 (7/22/2016): Planned to bike home and get a ride with my roommate to dinner. I realized I wasn't going to catch my ride in time, so I just biked to dinner in 12 South and met the gang. Showed up hot and sweaty, but I had a change of clothes and got changed in the restaurant bathroom just in time to be seated!
Bike: 14.5 miles
Car: 0 miles
Walk: 0 miles
Bus: 0 miles

Day 6 & 7(7/22&23/2016): My air conditioning went out Saturday morning, so I spent the weekend somewhere that had an AC unit that was fully functioning. Got rides from them. Also went kayaking and got a ride to the Harpeth.
Bike: 0 miles
Car: +50 miles
Walk: 0 miles
Bus: 0 miles

Summary:
Week 1 Cost: $0- I didn't spend any money on transportation this week. I walked, biked or got a ride with a friend. Saved on gas and insurance.
Bike: 38 miles
Car: 78 miles
Walk: 1 mile
Bus: 0 miles

Link:

http://www.walkbikenashville.org/week1






Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Nashville Public Works Survey on Recycling! Please follow Link to vote for better walkability!!!


A few weeks ago, I wrote on how both recycling and composting make for a better walking experience (see below).   

Did you agree?




Now is your chance to let Public Works know your thoughts.  They are surveying your wishes on the subject!  This survey is super important and takes only minutes.  

Link to survey, below.  Survey link is in the 1st paragraph entitled Waste & Recycling Survey, in light blue:

http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Neighborhood-Services/Recycling.aspx






***

LINK:
http://shadeparadenashville.blogspot.com/2016/07/dont-block-my-walktwo-unexpected-ways.html


Don't Block My Walk...Two Unexpected Ways to Make Nashville More Walkable Today  

Bear with me a minute as I talk about recycling & composting in Nashville.  You may not think that recycling or composting has anything to do with walkability but I would argue there is a direct link on a few visceral levels.  Walking is about enjoying all your senses - the feel of the breeze, the joy of movement, meeting up with a neighbor.  It should be unencumbered and free.  It should not be about maneuvering around stinking trash cans...

The less trash you make, the less you need to put out your trash buggy.  Trash pick up is weekly but if your bin isn't full & doesn't smell - you don't need to put it out.  Unfortunately, our sidewalks are often blocked by these buggies on a weekly basis - lasting all day and coming with quite an odor.  




In my neighborhood, this is an issue on Natchez Trace. Unfortunately, when the bike lane went in, Public Works did not consider where the trash buggies were to go...Not supposed to be on the sidewalk but also not supposed to be in the bike lane.  Oops!  Poor planning...I met with Public Works over this one.  Before the bike lane, the trash buggies went in the road, hugging the curb.  Now, they are fully blocking the sidewalks.  Public Works said, 'there is no good solution'.  

Well, one good solution would be to reduce the amount of trash we make so that we, as a city, could minimize these obstacles.  




***

#DontBlockMyWalk

Recycling pick-up in Nashville is monthly.  If you need an extra recycling buggy, the city will deliver one to you.  You can order a second cart for free by calling (615) 880-1000.


Accepted Materials:

ALL PAPER & BOXES : office paper, magazines, junk mail, newspaper, computer paper, notebook paper, phone books, paperback books, construction paper, brown paper bags, milk or juice cartons (including gable top and aseptic containers), cardboard boxes, food boxes (clean - no food). All boxes should be broken down.
ALL PLASTIC BOTTLES & CONTAINERS: drink bottles and their caps, detergent & cleaner bottles and their caps, yogurt/cottage cheese and other dairy "tubs" and their lids (please empty containers) and plastic trays, such as the lunchable type containers.
ALL METAL & ALUMINUM CANS: empty food and drink cans, empty aerosol cans, foils and trays.
-You can put all items in the cart together - no separation is required.
Recycling collection service is provided to single-family homes in the Urban Services District of Nashville and is collected once a month. Residents must place recyclables in their green roll-out cart. Recyclables are not to be bagged but placed in the cart loosely. For more details on the residential recycling collection program, please read through the frequently asked questions below or call (615) 880-1000.


- In regards to glass - you have to take this separately to a local recycling center
--- For locations for glass recycling -> http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Neighborhood-Services/Recycling/Recycling-Drop-off-Sites.aspx

In addition, as you can imagine, the smell from these trash buggies can be intense.   The city provides compost containers for purchase.  You can drastically reduce the need to take out the trash if you compost as the trash can never becomes fetid.  


Compost Bins Available from Metro Beautification

To encourage backyard composting, Metro Beautification/Public Works has compost bins and supplies available at our Omohundro Convenience Center. 
Omohundro Convenience Center
1019 Omohundro Place, Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: Tues. - Sat., 8:30am - 4:30p.m.
615-880-1955

Payment may be made in cash or by check (payable to Metro Public Works)


***


Once, someone said to me, "I don't recycle - couldn't figure it out'.  In 2016, can this be an acceptable reason?


LINK:
http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Neighborhood-Services/Recycling.aspx


Inspiration:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/us/lauren-singer-zero-waste-blogger-plastic/







Monday, July 25, 2016

What Do You Wear To Walk in Nashville?



One curiosity I have is the various ways we dress ourselves to walk in Nashville.  I see a lot of neon, reflective or blinking light gadgets to keep one safe.  At this time of the year, with the intense heat, the umbrellas make their show.




Without consistent shade, an umbrella can be a significant relief while walking in Nashville.  I met this woman walking this morning.   I asked her if I could take her photo.  She told me she gave up her car years ago...that she loved to walk...walked all over Hawaii...that it was a good time to think.

#FoundOnFoot
#NashvilleNeedsSidewalks
#TheSidewalkFoundation



http://shadeparadenashville.blogspot.com/2016/07/shade-parade-wants-to-know-what-you-are.html


Share photos of your WALKING OUTFIT on Instagram with hashtag:

#NashvilleNeedsSidewalks



Or email: 

thesidewalkfoundation@gmail.com



***

HELLO!

VOTE for where a sidewalk is needed in Nashville!
Double click on link below for map:
















Thursday, July 21, 2016

#DONTBLOCKMYWALK LEGISLATION PASSES


From Walk Bike Nashville - such great news!!!


#DONTBLOCKMYWALK LEGISLATION PASSES

5.jpg


On Tuesday night Metro Council unanimously passed a bill to make it harder for construction sites to close sidewalks and bikelanes. A big thanks to Councilwoman Allen and Elrod for their work moving the bill forward over the last 6 months. This bill,which we've taken to calling the #DontBlockMyWalk Bill is accompanied by a new set of Public Works Regulations, seen here, which together are intended to ensure the safe accommodation of people on foot and bike at construction sites.
The Bill, ORDINANCE NO. BL2016-240, is fairly straightforward, mostly allowing Metro Works to adopt regulations to protect people around construction zones. It also requires a traffic control plan, addressing the flow of pedestrians and bikes, be submitted for any permit for a closure of a sidewalk or bikelane greater than 20 days. 
Most of the actual requirements are found in the regulations, which lay out the specifics for what's required in the traffic management plan and what is meant by "reasonable accommodation".
We are thrilled that Metro Council and Metro Public Works has taken this step to protect all road users, and we hope to see a significant reduction in sidewalk and bikelane closures as a result. While this bill and set of regulations were long in coming and included several compromises to the construction industry, we hope that, taken together, they will help prevent the widespread practice of closing sidewalks and bikelanes (while car travel and parking lanes are untouched) in the many construction zones around the city. Here are some highlights of what the bill and regulations will, and will not do.
What they WILL do:
  • Give the Public Works department more leeway to require construction sites provide safe accommodations to pedestrians and bikes.
  • Require contractors have a plan (in the form of a Traffic Control Plan) to address the "reasonable accomodation" of people on foot and bike.
  • Further emphasize the (already existing) requirement that all construction sites use clear, well-placed and standardized signage when a closure or detour exists
  • Require sidewalk or bikelane closure permits be displayed at the site so the public knows how long the closure will last.
  • Make it harder (though not impossible) to close a sidewalk or bikelane for purposes not directly related to construction, like storage of materials, parking of vehicles or placement of toilets
  • Ensure that the required "accommodation" shall maintain the most desirable aspects of the existing facility
    • This includes a path that is: Direct and Convenient, Obvious, Separate, Coordinated with Signals, ADA Complaint
What the WILL NOT do:
  • Require any sidewalk or bikelane already closed be reopened (sorry Demonbreun pedestrians).
  • Prevent all closures of sidewalks or bikelanes in construction zones.
  • Prevent short term closures.
  • Provide for increased enforcement of regulations once the permit is issued

LINK:
http://www.walkbikenashville.org/dontblockmywalkcouncil







Sunday, July 10, 2016

Where's Our Sidewalk? Why ISN'T Nashville requiring sidewalks with density?



'Sidewalks that run in front of a house as part of a neighborhood are
constructed by the city not the home builder. We cannot construct
public sidewalks for a house when there are no existing city
sidewalks in the neighborhood to tie into. I know this will be disappointing news to you, but sidewalks are something you would have to go to the city about and  is out of our control and scope of work'.


- direct quote from a Nashville developer






Here is the rule for developers:  "Sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'.

Is it not confusing then, that there is such rapid development in Nashville but a shocking lack of sidewalks going in with it???




These small yellow signs are made by a fellow walking advocate & question developers and neighbors to ask 'Where's Our Sidewalk'?    I very much support her work.  It is really hard to watch whole neighborhoods redevelop in Nashville and yet no sidewalks. Particularly, when it comes with increased density.  In the past, there was an argument about the challenge of balancing cost to developers with production of the sidewalks.  I would argue that are rate of growth would say that developers are doing just fine. It is fair, now, to ask them to give back to our communities that have supported them for many years.  


We are building fast...let's not regret it.  






These pictures are mostly from Woodmont from Granny White to Estes, a distance of 2.6 miles, where 10 developments are occurring (one house turning into multiple houses) and yet not one is putting in a sidewalk.    If you look up this area's Walk Score, it is labeled 'car-dependent'.  If you work downtown, it is calculated to cost you $215 per month and 9 hours in driving costs and time respectively.  

https://www.walkscore.com/score/woodmont-blvd-and-estes-rd-nashville-tn-37205


To boot, I would be very surprised if any of the developments paid the Sidewalk In-Lieu Fee which, since its inception about 15 years ago, has collected a paltry, just under a million dollars (the equivalent of 1 mile of sidewalk).  The fee is set so low that it makes more sense to pay it than build a sidewalk and there seems to be no one at Public Works actually remembering to collect it.  





Can you imagine if Woodmont had 10 big pieces of sidewalk put in from 12th S to Estes this year?  It would literally be a matter of time before the entirety was sidewalked at the rate of redevelopment.   A whole neighborhood would have access on foot to 12th S, Belmont, Green Hills, Hillsboro Village without getting into their cars.  


So, why ISN'T Nashville requiring sidewalks with density???    What are we waiting for??? 
Where's Our Sidewalk?





Two surprising thoughts from this campaign:

1) Developers are not aware that they can (should) put in sidewalks.  
- See quote above from a major developer in East Nashville.  He has no idea that he can (and should) put in a sidewalk. 
- Here is the rule for developers:  "Sidewalks are required by the Subdivision Regulations when one residentially zoned lot is subdivided into two or more lots along an existing street'.  Can't get any clearer than that.  


2) When signs are placed in front of homes without sidewalks, they aren't taken down because no one walks by.  
- No one walks by because it is too hard to walk in this area - what a better argument for Nashville Needs Sidewalks can you have?

















Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Shade Parade Wants to Know What You Are Wearing...Well, While Walking...




It has been presented that, to walk in Nashville on our many roads without sidewalks, people should be required to wear special clothing due to safety concerns.  

I have to say that I understand the urge for this but  
This is crazy!  


It is confusing that citizens, in The Urban Service District of Nashville, would need to wear neon, blinking lights and highly reflective gear 
simply to feel safe while walking.  

But, I am guilty of this, too...

That being said, Shade Parade is HIGHLY INTERESTED in what you DO WEAR to WALK! 


***

Do you feel that you have to wear something special to walk in Nashville?



I am collecting photos of the many unique & creative things people  wear simply to walk safely in Nashville.



Share photos of your WALKING OUTFIT on Instagram with hashtag:

#NashvilleNeedsSidewalks



Or email: 

thesidewalkfoundation@gmail.com



***

HELLO!

VOTE for where a sidewalk is needed in Nashville!
Double click on link below for map:


















Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Don't Block My Walk...Two Unexpected Ways to Make Nashville More Walkable Today



Don't Block My Walk...Two Unexpected Ways to Make Nashville More Walkable Today  

Bear with me a minute as I talk about recycling & composting in Nashville.  You may not think that recycling or composting has anything to do with walkability but I would argue there is a direct link on a few visceral levels.  Walking is about enjoying all your senses - the feel of the breeze, the joy of movement, meeting up with a neighbor.  It should be unencumbered and free.  It should not be about maneuvering around stinking trash cans...

The less trash you make, the less you need to put out your trash buggy.  Trash pick up is weekly but if your bin isn't full & doesn't smell - you don't need to put it out.  Unfortunately, our sidewalks are often blocked by these buggies on a weekly basis - lasting all day and coming with quite an odor.  




In my neighborhood, this is an issue on Natchez Trace. Unfortunately, when the bike lane went in, Public Works did not consider where the trash buggies were to go...Not supposed to be on the sidewalk but also not supposed to be in the bike lane.  Oops!  Poor planning...I met with Public Works over this one.  Before the bike lane, the trash buggies went in the road, hugging the curb.  Now, they are fully blocking the sidewalks.  Public Works said, 'there is no good solution'.  

Well, one good solution would be to reduce the amount of trash we make so that we, as a city, could minimize these obstacles.  




***

#DontBlockMyWalk

Recycling pick-up in Nashville is monthly.  If you need an extra recycling buggy, the city will deliver one to you.  You can order a second cart for free by calling (615) 880-1000.


Accepted Materials:

ALL PAPER & BOXES : office paper, magazines, junk mail, newspaper, computer paper, notebook paper, phone books, paperback books, construction paper, brown paper bags, milk or juice cartons (including gable top and aseptic containers), cardboard boxes, food boxes (clean - no food). All boxes should be broken down.
ALL PLASTIC BOTTLES & CONTAINERS: drink bottles and their caps, detergent & cleaner bottles and their caps, yogurt/cottage cheese and other dairy "tubs" and their lids (please empty containers) and plastic trays, such as the lunchable type containers.
ALL METAL & ALUMINUM CANS: empty food and drink cans, empty aerosol cans, foils and trays.
-You can put all items in the cart together - no separation is required.
Recycling collection service is provided to single-family homes in the Urban Services District of Nashville and is collected once a month. Residents must place recyclables in their green roll-out cart. Recyclables are not to be bagged but placed in the cart loosely. For more details on the residential recycling collection program, please read through the frequently asked questions below or call (615) 880-1000.


- In regards to glass - you have to take this separately to a local recycling center
--- For locations for glass recycling -> http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Neighborhood-Services/Recycling/Recycling-Drop-off-Sites.aspx

In addition, as you can imagine, the smell from these trash buggies can be intense.   The city provides compost containers for purchase.  You can drastically reduce the need to take out the trash if you compost as the trash can never becomes fetid.  


Compost Bins Available from Metro Beautification

To encourage backyard composting, Metro Beautification/Public Works has compost bins and supplies available at our Omohundro Convenience Center. 
Omohundro Convenience Center
1019 Omohundro Place, Nashville, TN 37210
Hours: Tues. - Sat., 8:30am - 4:30p.m.
615-880-1955

Payment may be made in cash or by check (payable to Metro Public Works)

***


Once, someone said to me, "I don't recycle - couldn't figure it out'.  In 2016, can this be an acceptable reason?


LINK:
http://www.nashville.gov/Public-Works/Neighborhood-Services/Recycling.aspx


Inspiration:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/us/lauren-singer-zero-waste-blogger-plastic/