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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hey You: Time to Let Rep Matthew Hill & Civil Justice Subcommittee on HB 0668 that YOU DO NOT support it!!!

A few weeks ago, I asked all who care about pedestrians to take a minute a call or write to Rep Matthew Hill to say that you DO NOT support HB 0668.  Since that time, there has been little media reporting on this bill in Nashville.  

This bill is still active.  As of 2/17/2017, it has been moved to the Civil Justice Subcommittee.  

Here is the link to the Civil Justice Subcommittee with its members:


This bill would allow drivers who hit protesters (aka pedestrians) to have immunity.  Think about that for a minute.  Do you really want a law providing immunity to a driver of a 3000 lb vehicle to hit a PERSON just because they are blocking their path?


If you take Michael Moore's word, one HUGE thing you can do is talk to your representatives.  

1. THE DAILY CALL: You must call Congress every day. Yes – YOU! 202-225-3121. It will take just TWO MINUTES! Make it part of your daily routine, one of those five things you do every morning without even thinking about it:
1. Wake up.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Walk dog (or stare at cat).
4. Make coffee.
5. Call Congress.
It is impossible to overstate just how much power you have by making this simple, quick DAILY CALL. I know from firsthand experience the impact it has. These politicians freak out if they get just 10 calls on an issue. Imagine them getting 10,000! Holy crap – the dome will pop off that building!


These people let Rep Matthew Hill know the they did NOT support HB 0668:

Please call/write to as well:

Representative Matthew Hill (Republican, Jonesborough, District 7) and 

---> tell him that you DO NOT support Bill HB0668 

301 6th Av N
Suite 23 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243
615) 741-2251



From February 10, 2017

Tell Rep Matthew Hill that you DO NOT SUPPORT Bill HB0668 - contact info included

Here is something we DO NOT NEED in Nashville.  Protesters are pedestrians.  No need to have a law that allows for some amount of injury to them if they are blocking roadways.  Pedestrians are to be yielded to on all accounts.  

Please call/write to:

Representative Matthew Hill 
(Republican, Jonesborough, District 7) and 

- > tell him that you DO NOT support Bill HB0668 

301 6th Av N
Suite 23 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243
615) 741-2251


Drivers Given Civil Immunity For Hitting Protesters Under Proposed Bill

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A newly proposed bill states drivers would get immunity from civil liability if they hit and injured a protester blocking roads. 
House Bill 0668 was sponsored by Representative Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, and Senator Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro. The bill would apply if the person driving the vehicle was exercising due care and struck the protester blocking traffic in the public right-of-way. 
The bill does not protect the driver if he or she willingly struck the protester, which is already against the law. 
HB0668, which was only filed on Thursday, has concerned some lawmakers and group leaders who fear it would be an excuse for drivers to "mow down" protesters. 
"People have been protesting their government as the highest form of patriotism for over 200 years. It's disturbing that people in this Legislator think that we should give people the right to hurt them without facing any consequences," Senator Jeff Yarbro said. 
"I think it makes me sad, it's like we're going backwards and we have real problems in this state. This is not a good use of my tax money to pay for these people to talk about running over protesters," Sidney Bennett of Progressive Democrats of America told NewsChannel 5. 
Over the last year, dozens and even hundreds of protesters took their message to the streets of Nashville, whether it's rallying against President Donald Trump or gathering for the Black Lives Matter movement. 
In Tennessee, it is an offense to obstruct highways and streets to the public. Although many of the rallies in Nashville have continued to block major roads and intersections with law enforcement supervision.
Nashville attorney David Raybin told NewsChannel 5 that there are better ways to approach the issue with the help of law enforcement. 
The bill does not elaborate further on the interpretation of due care but Raybin said it should be left up to the courts.
"The issue of due care is a jury question, you can't determine that at the front end normally. I don't think we want these things decided in the streets, that's what police officers are for," Raybind added.
In response, Representative Hill released a statement:
“We are not endorsing anyone running over a person with a car, whether it is protesters or anyone else. If someone intentionally harms a person, they are going to be charged with a crime, period. There is a clear difference, however, between peacefully protesting and lawless rioters in the middle of a public roadway who jeopardize the safety of our families. This is a public safety bill that is meant to protect everyone’s right to peacefully protest and I look forward to seeing this commonsense legislation passed into law.”
Senator Ketron also released a statement:
“We believe that citizens have the right to protest. There is a procedure for peaceful protests and the purpose of that process is to protect the safety of our citizens. Protesters have no right to be in the middle of the road or our highways for their own safety and the safety of the traveling public.”
The bill said the act shall take effect July 1, 2017, the public welfare requiring it.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hit And Run, still unsolved from 11/21/2016. Do you know a yellow pickup with grey primer spots?

Nashville Pedestrian Death Registry

If you have information about this Hit and Run leaving a young man dead, please call 

Hit & Run investigators at 615-862-7713 or 
Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463

The pedestrian killed just before 2 p.m. 11/21/2016 when he was struck by a hit and run driver on I-40 West near Briley Parkway is identified as Alvaro Bartlett, 20, of Elm Hill Pike. 

Prior to the fatal crash, Bartlett was a passenger in his mother’s westbound 2003 Ford Focus.  Letta Thomas, 36, reported that she thought she heard something fall off her car, and pulled over onto the shoulder.  Bartlett then apparently got out of the vehicle and walked onto the interstate, presumably to retrieve what may have fallen off the car, when he was struck by a yellow pickup truck with grey primer spots.  The driver of the pickup did not stop and continued west on I-40.
Bartlett was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where he died.         
Anyone with information about the driver of the pickup truck is asked to call Hit & Run investigators at 615-862-7713 or Crime Stoppers at 615-742-7463.  

Callers to Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous and qualify for a cash reward.  Citizens can also send an electronic tip to Crime Stoppers by texting the word “CASH” along with their message to 274637 (CRIMES), or online at  



For more information on the Nashville Pedestrian Death Registry:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Can You Help Identify This Pedestrian Killed 12/18/2016 in Nashville? Sketch included.

This woman is yet to be identified. She died 12/18/2016 around 3a walking near Nolensville Pike near Welshwood Drive. She is believed to be in her 20's, 5' 4" and of small build.    

From the Nashville Metro Press Release:

Female pedestrian who was struck by a pickup truck and killed on December 18th on Nolensville Pike near Welshwood Drive.  The woman was walking on Nolensville Pike just after 3 a.m. when she was struck.   The victim, who was not carrying identification, was transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center where she died. Efforts to identify her have been unsuccessful. 
She was a black woman who appeared to be in her 20s.  She was 5’4” tall with a small build.

A TBI sketch artist assisted in the production of a likeness of the victim. Anyone who recognizes her is asked to call the Traffic Unit at (615) 862-7738.

Nashville Pedestrian Death Registry

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


One of the criticisms of the Nashville Pedestrian Death Registry is a concern that many killed will be intoxicated, implicating some level of fault.  So far this year (2017), of the 5 who have died, this does not seem to be the case.  

I think this shows there are assumptions made about pedestrians who are killed and it deserves more study and attention.  

Red dots indicate location of pedestrian deaths

  1. Jose Escobar, 66 years old, Old Hickory Boulevard near Highway 70 S in Bellevue, 1/1/2017
  2. William Smith, 47 years old, Trinity Lane and Meridian Street, 1/12/2017
  3. Skylar Villarreal, 29 years old, 1100 Block of Bell Road in Antioch, near Cedar Pointe Parkway, 1/18/2017
  4. Kenneth D. Smith, 47 years old, Murfreesboro Pk at Pineway Dr, 1/30/2017
  5. Ni Soc, 40 years old, Wallace Rd near Tampa Dr, 2/2/2017

More details to come.  Website is in production.  

To donate or contact with information:

Monday, February 20, 2017

We Are All Pedestrians...

Almost every person is a pedestrian from a very young age...
Walking is so mundane that we don't think much about it.  

But walking truly has a lot of power.  And, it is one of our rights.

It can shape landscapes.  It can shape bodies and minds.  It is a creative muse.

Nashville needs more of it. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Walking Districts Coming to Life - 3 pilot projects in the works!

Most pedestrian projects take a long time.   Thankfully, Walking Districts are fairly easy to implement and can solve a great need inexpensively.   I reviewed my documents and we began discussing Walking Districts in June of 2014 & are proud to announce that 3 pilot projects should be up and running in 1-2 months.

To review:

The concept of a Walking Districts is pretty straightforward.  Designed for local streets that are highly walked but have a low Sidewalk Priority Index (SPI) score.  With our current system of using the SPI, these areas would be last on the list of sidewalk creation.  And, maybe rightfully so.  The areas I am talking about are low volume in vehicular traffic neighborhoods and many have a park-like feel.  

The concept entails 3 things making it a quick, easy, and inexpensive fix.  The first is signage:  a sign announcing that you are entering a Walking District.  The second is a street decal (think of the bicycle decal you see on roadways but change it to a pedestrian).  The third is a speed limit reduction to 20mph.


Happy to announce that the Hillsboro-West End neighborhood ran with this idea and has carved out 3 pilot projects under these guidelines.  Implementation planned for 1-2 months. 

Here is the update:

At Monday's Traffic and Parking Commission meeting, it was agreed that the walking district will be implemented on a pilot basis in Hillsboro-West End and two other Nashville neighborhoods, Cleveland Park (East Nashville) and Una (Antioch).  This will lower speeds to 20 mph on neighborhood streets and 25mph on collector roads.  Within the next month or two Metro will install signage designating the neighborhoods as Walking Districts, replace the speed limits sign, and paint the new speed limits on the pavement.

After the program has been up and running for six months Public Works plans to evaluate its success in all three neighborhoods.  The key indices of success will be reduction of the 85% percentile speeds, zero pedestrian/bike crashes attributable to the changes, and positive feedback from neighbors.  At that point they will make a recommendation to Traffic & Parking and the Commission will vote on whether to make the program permanent.

We are very excited about this initiative and have great hopes that it will ultimately help neighborhoods across Nashville that are trying to make their streets safer for pedestrians.

You can watch to proceedings of the Traffic and Parking Commission below.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

More to Understand about Car Crashes Involving Pedestrians...Why we need NPDR

I am highly interested in what happens while someone is trying to go from A to B on foot.  Unfortunately, in Nashville, we also have a high number of pedestrian crashes - in fact, we have an incredibly high number of pedestrian deaths.  In order to understand more, we are creating a Nashville Pedestrian Death Registry (NPDR) to go live very soon.  

This is also not a new issue for Nashville.  Our numbers are rising.

To Donate to the NPDR or share your story: please visit or email at  high#stream/0

Goes to show, when it comes to crashes involving pedestrians, there is a lot more to know...

Researchers Examine Race Factor In Car Crashes Involving Pedestrians

Cars are less likely to stop when people of color step into intersections, a study says. That may partly explain why there are higher levels of pedestrian deaths among racial minority communities.

Thousands of pedestrians in the United States are killed each year in traffic accidents. And researchers have noticed that people of color are more likely than whites to be victims. To understand what might be happening here, we're joined by NPR's social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Shankar, welcome back.
GREENE: So what is explaining this disparity?
VEDANTAM: Well, researchers have been trying to tease apart this question for quite some time, David. Why are people of color as a proportion to their share of the population more likely to be pedestrian fatalities in these car crashes? There are lots of possible explanations. One is that people of color are just more likely to be pedestrians, or it might be that minority neighborhoods have less safe traffic intersections.
I was speaking with Courtney Coughenour. She's a public health researcher at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. She told me she got interested in this question partly because of what she sees around her. We were talking in late December, and she told me how 2016 was shaping up in comparison to 2015 in terms of pedestrian fatalities in Las Vegas.
COURTNEY COUGHENOUR: We have a really big problem with pedestrian injuries here. In fact, currently we're in an epidemic of pedestrian injuries in our city. Sadly, almost daily you hear about people being struck. Our numbers are currently up. Right now, I mean, we're almost at the end of the year so by the end of the year this year it's projected that we're going to well surpass the number of pedestrian fatalities that we had last year.
GREENE: OK, Shankar, so she sees this problem, a growing problem in the city of Las Vegas, and she decides to dig deeper.
COUGHENOUR: That's right. She decides to conduct an experiment. It's really very simple, David. She wanted to see whether the race of pedestrians has any effect on the behavior of drivers in Las Vegas. Along with her co-authors, she had research assistant step into intersections at crosswalks while other researchers measured where the cars stopped for them. According to law, if you have a pedestrian in a crosswalk in your half of the road in Las Vegas, you're supposed to stop. Now, here's the real heart of the study, David. One of the pedestrians they had walking across these crosswalks was white and the other one was black. Here's Coughenour on what they found.
COUGHENOUR: Cars were less likely to yield to the African-American pedestrian when they were in the roadway compared to the white pedestrian. It was a significant difference.
GREENE: So race did matter. I mean, are we able to conclude from this that drivers have some sort of bias here?
VEDANTAM: You know, I think it's fair to say that the study does show that there is a driver bias. We don't know whether that bias is conscious or unconscious. It seems like this might be one of the factors that could be driving the disparity in pedestrian fatalities across the United States. Obviously this one study can't answer that question because even though there are thousands of pedestrian deaths every year, these incidents are still relatively rare. So you would need a very, very large study to detect a relationship between driver bias and pedestrian fatalities.
One of the interesting things that this study found, David, was that driver behavior was not uniform in all parts of the city. The researchers ran the experiment both in a high-income neighborhood and in a low-income neighborhood. They found, as other research by Dacher Keltner the University of California has found, drivers in the rich neighborhood were less likely to stop for pedestrians than drivers in the poor neighborhood.
GREENE: So a lot of factors could be at play here.
VEDANTAM: Potentially.
GREENE: OK. Thanks, Shankar, as always.
VEDANTAM: Thank you, David.
GREENE: That is Shankar Vedantam. He is NPR's social science correspondent. And he is the host of a podcast that explores the unseen patterns in human behavior, it's called Hidden Brain.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Nashville the New Netherlands? Could be...

This is a must read.  

I love the idea of a city making a decision to change.  Nashville has long neglected pedestrian needs but that could change with the proper will.  Just because we have very few sidewalks now does not mean we need to continue in this fashion.  


image1.JPGBy Anthony Campbell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Tennessee State University
William Whyte famously averred that, "The relationship to the street is integral, and it is far and away the critical design factor." In that brief statement Whyte captured the importance of not only the design of transportation infrastructure, but also public attitudes. This holistic orientation to transportation infrastructure requires a multifaceted approach, which has a long history in the Netherlands and a fresh start in Nashville, Tennessee

The Netherlands is often heralded for its unparalleled embrace of bicycle use, and multimodal transportation infrastructure. However, it's important to recognize that this bastion of progressive mobility planning and usage is largely the culmination of a 40-year project to change Dutch people's relationship to the street. 

Against the backdrop of the oil crisis of 1973 and one of the highest road fatality rates on the planet, the Netherlands government set about to revise land development policies, increase public transportation funding and options, and restrict overall car use through a combination of increased taxes and policies that discouraged car ownership.

The result of this multifaceted approach was not just a change in how people transport themselves, but also a change in how people perceive the street.

Having spent considerable time in the Netherlands over the past two years, I have witnessed the unique way that the Dutch orient themselves to the street and mobility. When speaking with Dutch residents of assorted ages, socioeconomic standings, and locations, the consistent sentiment is that they understand all modes of transportation must co-exist. A frequently shared adage is that you never stop being a cyclist, even when you're driving a car. Therefore, as a result of having exposure to multiple modes of transportation throughout one's life, the Dutch generally have a more holistic perspective on mobility.

Upon arriving in Nashville as a first-time resident, as well as a bike-only commuter, I was curious to investigate both the transportation infrastructure and the public's attitudes toward mobility. I quickly discovered Walk Bike Nashville, a nonprofit organization that seeks to "make active transportation an option for Nashvillians, no matter where they live or where they're trying to go." The organization is ostensibly focused on promoting bicycling and walking. However, upon further inspection they're working to foster a more holistic perspective on mobility. Through a combination of programs and activities, such as Tour de Nash, Open Streets Nashville, Walk Month, bicycle art tours, and various clinics on how to share the road as a cyclist, pedestrian, or driver, they are helping people to change their relationship to the street. Public attitudes alone will not be enough to ensure Nashville has a robust mobility infrastructure, but, as has been seen in the Netherlands, it is a vital component alongside the work of policymakers. 

The streetscape can be a place of healthy co-existence, but it requires mutual awareness and mutual respect - two perspectives that have been fostered in the Netherlands and are being fostered in Nashville.

For more information on Dutch transportation policy, please visit