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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Nashville: Let's Invest in INFRASTRUCTURE NOW!!! We NEED Sidewalks!

Nashville, the time is now to invest in infrastructure.  

3 wishes for improved walkability:
  • Well-designed UNIFORM sidewalk plan with an completion date for Nashville
  • Sidewalk all major corridors in a UNIFORM tree-lined way so that people feel safe, comfortable and invited to walk 
  • When sidewalks need repair, replace with the new well-designed UNIFORM plan

Despite Low Interest Rates, Governments Hesitate To Fix Infrastructure

Following Britain's vote last month to leave the European Union, investors have been moving cash into "safe havens," such as U.S. Treasury bonds. That surging demand for reliable investments has sent interest rates down to record lows. But local governments may not be able to take advantage of cheap money for infrastructure repairs.

Since Britain voted to leave the European Union, investors have been moving cash to safe havens like U.S. Treasury bonds. The demand for bonds has pushed down interest rates, and that should be good news for state and local governments that need cheap money to fix roads, bridges and other infrastructure. But as Charles Lane of member station WSHU reports, few of them are taking advantage of the opportunity.
CHARLES LANE, BYLINE: At its widest part, New York's Hudson River slows down to a glassy drift beneath the cliffs of the Palisades. Here, about 25 miles north of Midtown Manhattan, a dozen barge cranes are busy rebuilding the 3-mile-long Tappan Zee Bridge.
SANDRA BLEJER: It's sort of like modern-day dinosaurs. They look small, but when you get up close or by the bridge and you look at them, they're actually quite massive.
LANE: Sandra Blejer, a retired medical manager, walks out here most mornings and marvels at the $4 billion project that has been taking shape on giant pillar at a time.
BLEJER: All up and down the Hudson River, there's places where things are being prepared and then boated down, and it's just an incredible feat to watch being built.
LANE: Financing the project was no small task, either. To start paying for construction, a state agency had to issue bonds worth $1.6 billion. That was three years ago when interest rates were a third higher. Matt Fabian researches bonds for Municipal Markets Analytics. He says that today's historically low rates make this the best time ever to borrow for a bridge.
MATT FABIAN: You know, the ultimate toll that will have to be charged to people who take the bridge could be a bit lower.
LANE: It's not just bridges. High-speed rail, airports, roads, all sorts of public infrastructure can be financed on the cheap today.
FABIAN: So corporations have been incredibly opportunistic issuing mountains of bonds of the - you know, in 2016 so far - state and local governments - not so much.
LANE: And there's several reasons for this. First, while governments can borrow money to build bridges, they can't borrow money to operate them. Investors aren't going to loan city money for an airport they can't afford to hire baggage handlers for. Robert Palter is an infrastructure expert at McKinsey and Company. He says another major risk with big projects happens at the drawing board before you even get to the bond market.
ROBERT PALTER: And it is time-consuming, and it's very expensive because you have to incur legal fees, engineering fees, designer fees, permitting fees.
LANE: And then there's the politics of it all. Republicans in Congress have resisted increasing federal spending to match state funding for infrastructure because they don't want to issue additional bonds at a time when they national debt is around $19 trillion. Leading economists overwhelmingly disagree with that position. According to a poll by the University of Chicago School of Business, most economists say that it makes sense to invest in infrastructure now. But lawmakers answer to voters, and Palter says voters have not made road and bridge repair a top priority.
PALTER: Things like health care, education, debt, taxes tend to rise above solving infrastructure problems.
LANE: But there's still time. With global growth slowing amid continued uncertainty over the Brexit, low interest rates are expected to last a long while. For NPR News, I'm Charles Lane.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Took the Hillsboro bus this morning around 8:30a with my 4.5 year old son...a tale.

Took the Hillsboro bus this morning around 8:30a with my 4.5 year old son, Henry.  Our house is roughly 2.4 miles to his school.  It was looking dark, like rain, and the wind was picking up.  We had a moment in the drive where I questioned continuing, 'do you really want to take the bus'?  If it was going to rain, I didn't think I could also manage him needing to be carried if he got tired on the roughly one mile long walk. But, he insisted and I am glad he did.

We made the walk along Golf Club which is fairly narrow without sidewalks but heavily populated on foot.  Smiled at the dogs, runners and babies in strollers.  Saw rabbits and squirrels, flowers and trees.  It was really great to be out there with all the wind whipping around us.  Only a few tense moments - drivers cutting through at speeds not reasonable with so many pedestrians about.   Marked 30mph but that appears to be a suggestion to some which frankly always surprises me with so many people out and about.   

The real tension set in when we reached Hillsboro Pk and had to cross.  Trying to find the correct moment to cross while sharing our bit of Golf Club with a driver trying to turn left (into our path),  a driver in the middle lane of Hillsboro also trying to turn left (into our path) and another driver on the opposite side of Golf Club, this time trying to turn right (into our path) plus 4 lanes of moving traffic created a huge adrenaline rush in me only realized when we reached the flat slab of a bus stop and I noted my hands were shaking.   


What this experience says to me is that riding the bus in Nashville is not for the faint at heart.   It is, quite possibly, only for those in true need unless you are living inside the 440 loop where things are better.   And, this feeling makes me mad as hell.  


What exactly are we waiting for?  

Why are we not linking our corridors so that we can travel from one neighborhood to another in comfort and safety???

Why do we not have a uniform set of standards for sidewalks and for bus stops???

The cement slab that functions as the bus stop.  The other side of the street has literally no place to wait and the sign is half covered in vines.   Mind you, this is the URBAN SERVICES DISTRICT.  This is NOT an out of the way place - we sit squarely between Hillsboro Village and Green Hills, two places many would walk to if they only could.  

Looking south on Hillsboro.  Note the blind curve and the hill - traffic comes flying here.  Every time I take the bus, I feel I must keep my eyes peeled for it, then wave frantically as soon as I spy it as it feels like the distance between seeing us around the curve and the speed traveled may lead to being passed by. 


The bus ride itself, was a delight.  Why was it so difficult to get there and so scary to wait at the stop?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nashville's First Fall Green & Clean Event! Is there a sidewalk that has a lot of litter/debris that you want to take on???

Litter Prevention

Fall Green & Clean

Fall Clean & Green
You can Help Keep Nashville Beautiful!
October 1, 2016 will be Nashville's first Fall Green & Clean event! We need you to help Keep Nashville Beautiful by organizing a clean-up or planting event in your neighborhood! Follow the guidelines below or register your event and get free supplies or daffodil bulbs!

Organize an event in your neighborhood

  • Register your clean-up onlineand signup for free supplies (bags, gloves, safety vests, etc.). Metro Beautification will list your clean-up date, time, location and organizer's contact information on our Upcoming Neighborhood Clean-ups page to help you recruit volunteers.
  • Register your planting event online and signup for free daffodil bulbs (supplies are limited so request your free daffodil bulbs as soon as possible!) NOTE: Bulbs should be planted in public spaces, common areas, etc. where everyone can enjoy them in the spring. 
  • Take before and after pictures
  • Share your pictures on social media and tag Metro Public Works (@nashvillepwor
  • Place all the trash and litter from your clean-up in one spot for Metro Beautification to pickup

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Walkable Green Hills Park Festival - TODAY!!!

GHP Festival Reschedule 2

Green Hills Park Festival - TODAY!

FREE popsicles from 4pm to 6pm, while supplies last.

Link to Facebook Event Page

Food, drinks & fun!  Movie starts at sunset!

Thank you to our TOP Sponsors!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Green Hills Park Festival - THIS SATURDAY! Thankfully, going to be beautiful this weekend!!! Come out and enjoy!

The Green Hills Park Festival is back ON for this Saturday, September 24th from 4pm to 9pm!  It is a FREE festival with a movie at sunset and lots of fun at our neighborhood park! We need your help spreading the word -- again!!  Our Facebook event page link is below:

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lesson Learned, If Hit While Walking, FILE A POLICE REPORT!

Going to start this piece with the take-home message:  if you are ever, unfortunately, struck by a car as a pedestrian, file a police report.  Do not trust that you are fine even if you feel so in the moment.  Your adrenaline will race and you will feel, possibly, strangely angry but not necessarily hurt.  The pain can come on later, potentially days later, but without a police report filed within 72 hours, there is not much you can do except possibly pursue it in civil court.

Recently, I was in one of my favorite exercise classes when the (amazing) teacher welcomed a regular back after a 5 month (5 months!!!) leave due to a car accident.  My curiosity piqued, I asked a little more, and it was not just a car accident but a vehicle-on-pedestrian accident.

Here is the tale of the incident.  On April 20th, while walking on a lunch break,  EM took a quick look before crossing the street at Belmont and Shakleford Lane in Green Hills.  She notes that she is careful at this 3-way intersection, where Belmont T's out, as there is a steep hill that limits visibility.  Her typical habit is to wait for a car if they are quickly approaching the stop or to walk behind the car rather than assume the driver will allow her to cross in front.  She makes eye contact.  She waves.  As many Nashvillians know, these are the survival skills you need to walk safely in this town.

On this particular day, she noted an SUV approaching but they seemed far enough away for her to cross safely.  After all, they had to stop at the stop sign.  She waved and attempted eye contact but noted the windows of the vehicle to be darkly tinted.  She couldn't tell if the driver waved back.  What came next happened quickly.  The driver, instead of stopping, took the right turn.  EM felt herself pushing, with both hands off the front of the SUV.  The driver appeared to want to move past here still so she knocked hard on the window.  She was uncharacteristically mad.  It took the driver a few seconds to open the window.  EM proceeded to yell at the driver noting that if she had a dog or a baby stroller with her, they would have been killed.  EM was understandably shaken.

She was struck on her right side but could tell nothing was broken.  She imagined the sizable bruise  on her thigh to come.   They exchanged contact information.  She was able to walk home.  A few days later, while traveling for work, she became keenly aware of a new and intense pain in her right shoulder.  Slowly, it dawned on her, that this pain could be from the accident.   She reached out to her sister, a medical professional, who strongly encouraged a trip to the doctor for a proper evaluation.

What followed was a reaching out to the driver who had promised to pay and then went into a stone cold radio silence.  Next came 4 solid months of shoulder rehab.

EM is just now venturing back into her regular exercise routine.  She urges you, if ever to have the misfortune of being struck by a car while walking, to file a police report within 72 hours of the collision as the driver's insurance can help pay for the costs involved.

The same could be said about Nashville although I am not convinced about the 'years of enforcement'.  I think the lack of enforcement around pedestrian safety is one major issue we have to tackle in Nashville.  The 2nd may be enhanced driver education on TN being a yield to pedestrian state. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

LOVE this Mapping Project for Better Walkability in Nashville!

LOVE THIS!  A project is right up my alley...

Mapper Who Plotted Gas Shortages and NYC's Best Bathrooms Now Helps Nashville Kids Walk To School 

Nashville is now home to a notable mapmaker whose projects have had a tendency to go viral. One of his first local mapping efforts began this weekend, as he coached families on how to find safe walking routes to their schools.
Wansoo Im is an associate professor at Meharry Medical College and director of its National Community Mapping Institute. Much of his work focuses on health disparities and how communities can build maps and learn from them.
But the projects that first gained notoriety were on two very different subjects.
“So I was known as the restroom guy,” Im said.
This screengrab shows the observations marked by families while walking near J.E. Moss Elementary in Antioch.
He designed the “Mappler” smartphone app specifically for civic projects and crowdsourcing, in which people add facts about their surroundings.
The launch this weekend in Nashville was for safe walking routes, with teams exploring near two elementary schools — Eakin in Hillsboro, and J.E. Moss in Antioch.
Families took notes and photos about bad sidewalks and dangerous intersections and posted the information in real time to the safe routes map. And the kids themselves contributed.
“Sometimes you don’t see the things the way that the children see,” Im said. “They walk differently. So there are a lot of things you can learn.”
Im is working with the nonprofit Walk/Bike Nashville to land funding to assess more schools.
And he said he wants to help communities use maps more often to study and improve their surroundings.
“It’s a great way to observe the collective intelligence,” he said. “This is actually an amazing experience of how a group of community people collect the data.”
Volunteers were assigned areas to explore near two Nashville elementary schools, and they uploaded photos and descriptions of the walking conditions.


Take one minute and drop a pin for where you want a sidewalk!