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Monday, December 20, 2010

National Bike Summit 2011-Washington, DC

There are more people riding bikes than ever. Yet half of all U.S. trips are three miles or less, and more than 90 percent are made by car. The National Bike Summit has improved bicycle-friendliness and livability in many communities, but the need and opportunity to improve physical activity, safety and livability in the U.S., while reducing congestion, gas emissions and our dependence on oil – remains greater today than a decade ago.

These issues seem difficult to solve but the answer is simple. The answer is the bicycle. Now is the time to ask Congress to make strategic transportation investments that foster healthy people and healthy communities. Join us March 8-10 in Washington, D.C. to act on a simple solution – the bicycle.

The National Bike Summit 2011 in Washington is an opportunity to make sure that budget decisions in these tough economic times take into account bicycling and walking as appropriate means of transportation and important economically for recreational tourism.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Walkable Cities

Living in a neighborhood with sidewalks on every block, large shade trees, speed calming traffic circles, and a small city park near an elementary school I wonder at the practical sense of suburban life without such amenities. Our streets and sidewalks are used constantly by walkers, joggers, bike riders, children, the elderly, and everyone else in-between to go about daily life. This kind of community by design is becoming a more desirable choice for Americans as they deal with long commutes, suburban isolation, and a car-centric life. Reading today about the most walkable and bikeable cities in the country brings home the reality of the places we live as People Places. We cannot go back to an idyllic past but we can go forward with the wisdom of the past to build better communities and to look at positive changes for our current living environments. (Oops, time to take the dogs for a walk.)

"The great economic reset we are in the midst of extends even to Americans' choices of places to live. The popularity of sprawling auto-dependent suburbs is waning. A majority of Americans--six in 10--say they would prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods, in both cities and suburbs, if they could." More on the most walkable cities can be found here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let's Be Creative and Save Lives

After a long discussion in committee centered around lowering the speed limit in a mid city pedestrian zone it became apparent that city planners and traffic engineers have a basic concern for non-impeded traffic flow. This is not news to those who look to better ways to provide for safe pedestrian crossings, designated bike lanes, and a sense that a city is, in fact, walkable or bikeable. The resistance to slowing traffic was spelled out in the sentence,"The road was built to move traffic around the city efficiently." At this particular zone it is not uncommon for autos and trucks to reach speeds of 50 miles per hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. Lowering the limit to 30 miles per hour was seen as the best scenario for safety but the engineer involved stated that because of the way the road was designed traffic would move at a much higher rate of speed. One solution the group arrived at was to put the street on a Road Diet by reducing lanes in the zone from four 12 ft. with no medium to two lanes with a center island and turning areas. It has been shown that by adding elements along and in the roadway that physically show a driver that there is an awareness that this zone is a much different travel space than the rest of the long boulevard. With this comes a rise in caution and greater awareness of speed. By changing the texture of an intersection with stone pavers, using audible strips before entering the zone, and providing well signalized crosswalks a driver is much more alert to the presence of foot and bicycle traffic. Fortunately this roadway is scheduled for major sewer and water line work in the coming year and we now have an opportunity to redesign the streetscape with a better end result in mind. Increased driver awareness can take many forms as discussed above but education for drivers is essential in local campaigns and in short PSA's such as this one. After all, speed does kill.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mini Adventure Series

A new addition to the Mini Adventure Series has just recently been released. The series, by Knoxville locals Elle Colquitt and Jon Livengood, provide a series of invigorating recreational bike rides. The first book of the series describes rides on the back roads of the Knoxville area, the second is for off road mountain bike trails throughout the state, and the third is on the back roads of the Chattanooga/north Georgia area. That book also has urban routes listed. Elevaton gains and distances are included along with cue sheets.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas time - example of bike decor

Well, it's that festive time of year again. One of my friends (Pete Hines) from Michigan, who loves to build a variety of lights for his bike, has built the following setup for his bike shown here.

(Photo courtesy of Angela Todd.)

Last year, at the annual Tour de Lights in Knoxville, we had more than 400 riders. Let's hope for an even larger showing this year at the fourth annual event. Events such as this one are not only fun, but can go quite a ways toward raising awareness of issues.

(Edit: Please note that due to forecast rain, the Tour de Lights this year has been rescheduled to the same time, but a new date. The date of the event is now Tuesday, December 21.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Girls who walk, bike to school do better in tests

It's just been reported that girls, but not boys, who walk or ride to school tend to do better in school. The reasons for these results are not entirely clear, and the study has quite a few limitations. Regardless, such is one more reason to support biking and walking, and the safe routes to schools program. Making it safe enough for students to bike and walk to school is good not only for health, but for academic performance as well.

On the topic of risk, it's notoriously difficult to estimate in an objective manner. The most extreme example is probably people being afraid to have their kids walk/ride to school due to a fear of stranger abduction. Such abductions happen, but are extremely rare. But because those few abductions receive much press, the fear of such gets exaggerated. On the other hand, benefits from increased socialization and improved health are less visible in the short run so parents have a tendency to opt out due to the former when they don't have all the facts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Legislative Action

We probably overuse Portland as an example of the place we want to go in terms of cycling and walking but there are obviously lessons to be learned. This is a podcast with the Executive Director of the Oregon Bicycle Transportation Alliance discussing the organization's legislative agenda for 2011. It includes information on the vulnerable user law they passed last year and a technical fix they want next session. It is a valuable look into legislative workings that are probably true for any state. The fiscal situation is definitely similar to every other state in the nation.

Economic Benefits of Open Space, Recreation Facilities-Complete Street Thinking

Recent studies show that people living in walkable neighborhoods get about 35–45 more minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, and are substantially less likely to be overweight or obese, than do people of similar socioeconomic status living in neighborhoods that are not walkable. Living close to parks and other recreation facilities also is consistently related to higher physical activity levels for both adults and youth. One national study found that adolescents with easy access to multiple recreation facilities were both more physically active and less likely to be overweight and obese than were adolescents without access to such facilities.

The Complete Streets program recently adopted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation is aimed at targeted infrastructure which provides safe bicycling, walking, other recreation facilities in every community in the state. The positive economic and social benefits of this kind of wise investment, although involving more initial costs, result in strong returns over the long term. For more on how we benefit from this kind of policy in our state read more here

Bridging the Gap - Must Read ABW Report

Hot off the presses this afternoon, Bridging the Gaps in Bicycling Networks: An advocate's guide to getting bikes on bridges is your first step in securing these critical links within your community's transportation network. Click here to download your copy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy at TDOT

On the heels of a successful meeting with Governor Elect Bill Haslam's staff on this past Friday, Bike Walk Tennessee advocates were pleased to read that the Tennessee Department of Transportation has recently strengthened its bicycle and pedestrian policy.  The entire policy can be viewed here, but this is a list of major improvements to the policy:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Culture of Fear

Commute Orlando has an excellent blog with many thought provoking posts.  This one is especially interesting to me.  Culture of Fear.   It finally explains why Britain's Cycle Touring Club, their equivalent of our LAB, is so opposed to mandatory helmet laws. The comments get into the infrastructure discussion but don't mention my biggest peeve, the incessant promotion of Stranger Danger.
For the record, I always wear a helmet but given the choice of a reasonable road or multi use path, I take the road.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Share the Road License Plate - Cycology Bicycles

As previously mentioned, there is a June 2011 deadline for 1000 3 ft law/share the road license plate orders for the plate to go into production. As of today, the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation is reporting 252 orders so far. Cycology Bicycles in Maryville is offering a special promotion in support of this cause. If people go there and sign up there for a plate for $35, they will receive a $20 gift card from Cycology for anything in the store.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bicycle Club Advocacy Basics

What can bicycle clubs do for bicycling advocacy in Tennessee?  

Several years ago, I was appointed to Advocacy Chair for the Harpeth Bike Club.  I knew advocacy was important and we had a strong active membership.  I wasn't completely sure what we needed to do.  Now that I have a little more experience, I hope this post will provide some some guidance for the 60+ bicycle clubs and racing teams across Tennessee.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Future Concord Rd expansion plans

A further development in terms of infrastructure construction in Knox County and the town of Farragut is detailed here. Basically, starting three years from now, Concord Rd will be widened from two lanes to five, with bike lanes and a sidewalk on one side and an extra wide trail on the other. The "median islands" mentioned are a recent development, in that studies have shown some downside to having a continuous center-turn lane. A new bridge will be built to feed into the roundabout at Northshore Drive. A greenway paralleling Northshore Drive will be built on its north side. (Since much of Northshore drive has few intersections, the greenway should be OK for cycling.)

For what it's worth, proposed Concord Rd expansion was previously held up as part of transportation spending rescissions. As such, it's difficult to project what the funding situation will be three years from now, which is the scheduled start of construction. To what extent traffic levels will require a five lane road is another question.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Campbell Station Rd expansion complete

The Farragut Press Enterprise is reporting that the widening of Campbell Station Rd is complete. This stretch of road has been widened to be 5 lanes, with bike lanes and sidewalks on both sides. This project is an example of a road widening that also completed the street, in that all modes of travel are readily accommodated now. It is also located in such a way that quite a few neighborhoods have ready access to all the Farragut Schools (Primary, Intermediate, Middle, and High) in addition to the Farragut branch of the Knox County Libraries.

Putting more cyclists and pedestrians on the road is a good thing, even when there aren't special facilities for them in that drivers would tend to be more alert. One effect of bike lanes in areas is that people tend to venture beyond the areas with the lanes, putting more bikes on the road overall.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bike Lane Opponents in NYC

As this story explains New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg greatly expanded bike lanes in the city. This year a similar backlash showed up in several places around the country. One law suit in San Francisco held up their city bike plan for over three years because of the lack of an environmental impact study! It may be just a matter of time until we experience this in Tennessee. It could be a positive development because it would mean that bicycle infrastructure is growing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition (ETCFC)

Yesterday at the University of Tennessee's homecoming celebration, I had a chance to visit the College of Engineering where I was able to pick up a brochure from the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition. The brochure contains many statistics for the area that are quite striking; basically, their two main goals are to (1) "reduce dependence on foreign oil, and (2) improve regional air quality and sustainability." The coalition is a participant in the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Top 40 Walking Cities in the US -

Previously, there was a post on September 25 on the list of the top 20 walking cities in the US, none of which was located within the state. A list of the top 40 cities is available now at, based on a walk score. Also listed are neighborhoods in each of the cities listed, since the walkability of a city can vary greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood. The cities in the state that made the list are

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Watertown US70 Gets Rumbled

US 70 Bike Route in Watertown was resurfaced and rumbled last week (early November 2010).  This stretch of highway runs to the Dekalb county line and is used for the annual Big Hill Challenge sponsored by the Veloteers. The grooving was applied in accordance with the March 2010 TDOT specifications.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Advocacy Advance

Advocacy Advance is a partnership between the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking to research issues critical to the bicycling community. The Advocacy Advance Team has created a series of reports to help Alliance member organizations access Federal funding for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Knox County Pedestrian struck twice, killed near her home

On Tuesday night, around 10:30 PM, a pedestrian was struck by first one car, and then a second going the opposite direction on Snyder Rd near Catlett Ln near her home. The newspaper reports are available here, with a followup here. Those who live in the area can attest to the strong rainstorms that were in the area that night. A senseless tragedy, no doubt.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Electric Bicycles - HummingBike

This report on a Knoxville startup company, HummingBike, that makes electric bicycles serves as a reminder to advantages that these vehicles bring. Most of the advantages are there regardless of whether the bike is electric or not. The advantages listed in the article are as follows.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Another view on Sharing the Road

This comment from fellow touring cyclist David Irvine.

The Yehuda Moon comic strip has some interesting commentary from its readers.  Here is a link to comment about bikers sharing the road with cars and trucks:

The Scottsboro ride had elements of an epiphany for me; namely, I really detest what rumble stripping does to destroy what little bike lane may be available on a highway shoulder; and I really detest sharing the road with dense car traffic when there is absolutely no bike lane or shoulder (i.e., the ride into Winchester when the local school let out).  I agree with the blog writer Hembrow about "shared space", it's a bogus concept, at least around here.  Give me a rail-trail, a bike lane, a rural road, or a highway with a bike lane type shoulder; I don't want to "share" my space any more.  Getting crabby in my old age.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Share the Road License Plates - Deadline extended to June 2011

The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation is trying to get people to sign up for "Share the Road" (3 ft law) specialty license plates. They need at least 1000 pre-orders by June 2011 for the plates to go into production, and as of today, they only have 189 orders. The deadline was already extended once; it's unlikely to be extended again. Please consider signing up for this worthy cause.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oak Ridge Turnpike - phase I expansion complete

Oak Ridge Turnpike, one of the main thoroughfares through the city of Oak Ridge, has had a 4 mi section widened with 5 ft sidewalks and 6 ft bike lanes on both sides. The phase I widening project extended from Illinois Ave to Westover Drive. More details are available at the Oak Ridger Website. The project cost $26.1 million.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NYC Reclaims it's Streets from Automobiles

If New York City can create more than 200 miles of bike lanes. If New York City can begin that transition of turning their streets into places for people rather than places for personal vehicles. Just think what the rest of us can do!

Take a look at this video put together by EMBARQ. It shows what New York City has done, and it just may spark some ideas for the rest of us.

Rumbles again

On a recent ride we encountered this bit of rumbling along TN SR 290 in Bedford Co between Chapel Hill and Shelbyville. The part in Marshall Co was not rumbled, had the same shoulder and same traffic. The part in Marshall Co felt perfectly safe but the part in Bedford Co did not. The bit of shoulder that was left was too narrow to ride, especially when there was a multi foot drop off from pavement to grass. After almost falling when being chased off the travel lane by a horse hauling truck and trailer having to move back to the right to accommodate oncoming traffic, we searched and found a usable side road. This road has no special merit except for being direct and easy to follow and in the future I will avoid 290 entirely. However it does highlight several issues.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is there safety in numbers?

Elly Blue, reporting for grist, discusses the phenomenon of "safety in numbers" that has occurred as more and more people take to the streets on their bicycles. In her article she discusses the findings of Peter Jacobsen, a public health researcher, who studied the crash data of various communities.

What Jacobsen found was surprising. "The number of crashes involving bikes correlated with the number of riders in a community. As ridership fluctuated, so did the crash rate. More riders, fewer crashes; fewer riders, more crashes."

Knoxville News Sentinel Editorial - Tennesseans can walk away from obesity

In an editorial Friday, the Knoxville News Sentinel noted that healthy lifestyles are not inherited, and that Tennessee ranks second in the nation (tied with Alabama) for obesity rates. A new free program by the Knoxville Track Club seeks to get people walking rather than running, meeting every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 6:30 PM at Cherokee Blvd. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee is also encouraging school walking programs.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Active Healthy Transportation Developments website

Here's a website that really does look at the positive outcomes taking into consideration alternative active modes of transportation. Their goals?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pedestrian bridge over Alcoa Hwy under construction

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel a bridge connecting greenways on both sides of Alcoa Hwy (US-129) was put into place Sunday. Plans call for the bridge to be opened in early December.

Alcoa Highway is a high-speed road that's notorious for car crashes, and having a way to safety cross it is an improvement. Perhaps more importantly is the fact that neighborhoods will be linked to the Blount County greenway system that were previously separated by the road. For transportation infrastructure to be functional and useful, they have to go to enough places that people want to go; network breaks are highly destructive. Hopefully we have just eliminated one such break in the network.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

NE TN Regional Directors of Bike Walk TN Invite You To an OCTOBER 10'th Gathering


How we can affect policies and attitudes concerning:
- Safety for bicyclists and pedestrians
- Enforcement of existing laws
- Better municipal and regional planning for alternative transportation
- Increased funding for bicycle and pedestrian facilities
- Challenging attitudes toward those who choose to bike and walk
Click here for More Info , Visit us at BWT Region 6

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Defining Bicyclists’ and Pedestrians’ Right to Use Public Roadways

Many people believe that nonmotorized modes (walking, cycling, and their variations) have an inferior right to use public roads compared with motor vehicles. This reflects the belief that motor vehicles are more important to society than nonmotorized modes, and that roads are funded by motorists.

Here is a study that investigates these assumptions. It finds that nonmotorized modes have the legal right to use public roads, that nonmotorized modes provide significant transportation benefits, and pedestrians and cyclists pay a significant share of roadway costs. Although motorist user fees (fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees) fund most highway expenses, funding for local roads (the roads pedestrians and cyclists use most) originates mainly from general taxes. Since bicycling and walking impose lower roadway costs than motorized modes, people who rely primarily on nonmotorized modes tend to overpay their fair
share of roadway costs and subsidize motorists.

I highly recommend this as rational for alternative transportation design and planning.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CDC Promotes Trails for Better Health

The federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) understands that walking and hiking on trails are a good way to get your 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times per week. Trails for Health supports CDC’s Active Community Environments (ACES), an initiative to promote walking, bicycling, and the development of accessible recreation facilities. ACES was developed in response to data that suggest that characteristics of our communities such as proximity of facilities, street design, and availability of pedestrian and bicycle facilities such as trails play a significant role in promoting or discouraging physical activity.For more information refer to the Trails for Health brochure, .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sept 28 - Bcycle Bike Share Demo in Nashville

Bike Walk Tennessee does not blanket endorse commercial activities.  But this event gives Nashvillians an opportunity to get a look at Bike Share technology and equipment.  If you've never seen this kind of equipment, it's worth stopping by to check it out.  Hopefully if you don't see it now, you'll see bike share equipment installed around Tennessee!

Pat Clements

Saturday, September 25, 2010

People For Bikes Pledge

In recent years, the bicycle industry has stepped up to support our advocacy and education programs like never before. Much of that leadership has come from Bikes Belong, the industry's advocacy and education organization. We realize that we have a common interest in getting more people on bikes more often and more safely, and we know we need every voice we can muster to have an impact at the Federal, state and local level. That's why I am writing to you today to ask for your help.

The best walking cities

This article lists the 20 best walking cities in the USA, according to Prevention magazine. The list of cities is as follows.

Tennessee State Bike Route Survey

. . The Tennessee Department of Transportation is currently gathering information for an update to the state bike route network, and is inviting citizens to complete a short online survey regarding their experiences bicycling Tennessee’s highways.  Input from the survey will help guide the department in developing a comprehensive bicycling network that will assess state routes with respect to bicycle suitability and determine future action items pertinent to the furtherance of the goals of TDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian plan.
. . In 2005, as part of PlanGo, TDOT’s Multi-Modal Long Range Transportation Plan included a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan element that recommended a statewide bicycle system.  Since that time, the department recognized that changes in infrastructure and data collection necessitate an update to the existing bicycle route network.  In order to provide meaningful connections to cyclists’ destinations, TDOT invites the public to participate in the online survey by new deadline October 30, 2010.  Below is a link to the survey:

Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Hawk Down

Colorado's Black Hawk Board of Aldermen approved an ordinance banning bicycle riding on almost every street in town, including its only paved street. The police are now issuing a ticket to anyone "caught riding" through town. Attempts by Bicycle Colorado to get the ban lifted have failed. The City Council has made it clear that they have no intention of changing their ordinance.

The legality of the ban is now being tested in courts and it is instructional to read the defense brief in complete detail. My guess this ban was initiated by more than a concern for the Bicycle Level of Service on these roads.

Tennessee Titans Game and Walk Week! Nashville Ped Volunteer Opportunity

Bike Walk Tennessee is working with the Nashville Area MPO to locate 10 volunteers to help hand out 5,000 Walk Nashville Week stickers to fans walking to the Titans game on Sunday, October 3rd.  The time commitment is from 10:30am -12pm.  The Titans Fans Walk to the Game Day is an event of the 12th Annual Walk Nashville Week.  Fans walking to the game across the Woodland Street Bridge and Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge are thanked for walking to the game and for getting some exercise.  It is a fun event and the fans enjoy receiving the stickers.  All volunteers receive a free t-shirt.  To volunteer, please email Leslie Meehan, and mention you were referred by Bike Walk Tennessee!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Pat Clements
Bike Walk Tennessee

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Isn't it Ironic?

Jonathan Hiskes, a staff writer, reports in Grist magazine that Maryland's Green Party Senate candidate, Natasha Pettigrew, died two days after an SUV hit her while cycling. Find his article at

Hiskes states that the Washington Post reported that driver of the SUV did not realize she had hit someone until she arrived at home and found the bicycle under her car....she did think maybe she had hit a deer or a dog....the Washington Post article can be found here:

One of the most interesting things Mr. Hiskes pointed out was a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration " car wrecks killed 26,791 drivers and passingers, 4,414 pedestrians, and 718 cyclists in 2008"....kinda of makes you think driving a car is hazardous to your health in more ways than one.

What are "we" going to do about it?

AAA Wants to Block Spending on Greenways and Trails

The American Automobile Association want to remove all Greenway and Trail funding from the federal highway budget. The president of AAA Mid-Atlantic recently advocated for the elimination of existing federal dollars that help build bicycle and pedestrian trails and sidewalks. These funds have helped create more than 19,000 miles of trails, walking and bicycling facilities across the country—likely including your favorite nearby trail.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cumberland Trail Events: Fall 2010- Spring 2011

September 25-26: National Public Lands Day event (NPLD), volunteers needed to help with bridge and trail repair in the Tennessee River Gorge segment of the Cumberland Trail.  Volunteers will meet at 8:00am ET at the Signal Mountain parking lot.  Please register with the CTC for this event, , or 931-456-6259.  

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Courtesy on the Roads - by Kelley Segars

Here is an email that I received a while back from Kelley Segars, our excellent transportation planner at the Knoxville Regional TPO on sharing the road with cars and trucks. The email is reproduced with permission, and what she spells out should be applicable throughout the state.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Virginia anti-cul-de-sac policy

This artcle from the Washington Post describes Virginia's new rule on cul-de-sacs; any new subdivision must have "through streets linking them with neighboring subdivisions, schools and shopping areas." The article goes into quite a bit of detail on the pros and cons of the cul-de-sac setup. Basically the pros are a quieter environment for those living on it, and possibly some increase in safety since anyone who's not from a neighborhood will look out of place within it. The cons are increased traffic, which leads to increased paving costs, not to mention the isolation and car dependence such setups foster. The increased traffic gets jammed onto arterial roads, which then become unsafe and/or gridlocked. In addition, they tend to isolate neighborhoods from each other, leading to a loss of a sense of community.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Working So You Can Bike

. . Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Bike and Walking recognizes Philip Pugliese of Outdoor Chattanooga and Director of Bike Walk Tennessee (BWT) for sponsoring this year's Leadership Retreat. Besides this event he was also responsible for Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike meeting in Chattanooga. He was a VERY busy man this week. Philip also thanked Jeff for his help in the formation of BWT.
. . EIGHT directors of BWT joined the Leadership Retreat this time, making it the largest contingent. They paid ALL their own expenses saving the organization finances to use on programs for promoting biking and walking.
. . The meeting was very rewarding for everyone and reinforced everyone's suspicions that BWT was making good progress.
. . Prior to the Leadership Retreat, BWT held its FIRST Annual Membership meeting also at Outdoor Chattanooga.
. . Subsequent to the Retreat several of the Directors remained and participated in meetings of Adventure Cycling and Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike.

Congratulations Knoxville for Becoming a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community!

The League of American Bicyclists has just awarded Knoxville it's bronze level award for being a bike-friendly city. The award was earned in large part due to the hard work of the Knoxville Regional TPO and its wonderful transportation planner Kelley Segars, along with the local bike advisory committee and hundreds of area cyclists. To date, the only other city in the state that has earned the award is Chattanooga since 2003. A complete list of bike friendly communities is available here (PDF).

The level of progress made in recent years is wonderful, but there is still much to be done both in Knoxville and elsewhere. Major projects are underway in Memphis under Mayor Wharton. Also, let's not forget smaller communities and towns such as Farragut and Oak Ridge, where bike lanes and sidewalks are parts of substantial construction taking place.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chuck Anderton - Bike/Walk Commuter

There was an article in the August 2, 2010 edition of the Bearden West Side Shopper-News (online edition not available) about Chuck Anderton, who is an electrical engineer at KUB (Knoxville Utilities Board) in downtown Knoxville. He has "walked, run, or biked" to work for the past 42 years, and his last sick day was in 1981. His commute ranged from 1 to 7 miles each way, depending on where he lived. He bikes from April to September, where there is light both ways. The other days he tends to walk, even though it does take a while. Needless to say, he's a very healthy individual.

One of the big draws of urban living is being close to most of the things going on, and of having an easy, short commute. Interestingly, truly urban areas have bikes and cars move at roughly equal speeds which means that facilities such as bike lanes are unneeded in such areas. For instance, Gay St in downtown Knoxville is considered one of the finest places to ride.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pedestrian Safety and Mapping Traffic Incidents-One Example

Gainesville, FL has created a program to map specific traffic incidents involving pedestrians. The model would be of great help in also identifying bicycle incidents and areas where improvements are needed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Annual Meeting Announcement

Dear Bike Walk Tennessee Members,
Thank you for your membership in Bike Walk Tennessee. Your support has been vital to our success. The organization is still in its infancy yet in the first year we have had several successes. Among them are:

Monday, September 6, 2010

Walk Your Way to Nicer Teeth - Realage article

A recent realage article located here suggests that those who are active walking tend to not only have better cardiovascular health, but also better dental health. The cause may be that active walkers have less inflammation, which leads to healthier teeth.

As mentioned previously, walking is an excellent way to travel short distances. It does not require any special equipment, and can be very relaxing. Designing streets so that they are easily walkable would go a long way toward encouraging this most basic form of transport.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Reasons to support biking and walking for almost all political philosophies

With the recent article claiming that (paraphrasing) cyclists are part of a communist plot to turn the country into a third world country, I thought I would list the reasons why it makes sense from a variety of political sides to support cycling and walking. Sure, that article was extreme, but more moderate variants of such are not unheard of.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bicycle Street Art

Here are some great examples of more inspired bike art seen on streets across the country.

enjoy the show!

Monday, August 30, 2010

MPO Wins Second Award for Bike/Ped Plan

In March of this year, the Nashville MPO received the “Grand Award” for Best Small Project from the American Council of Engineering Companies– Tennessee Chapter fir its Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Study. This month this study wins its second award from the Planning Council of the Institute of Transportation Engineers for a comprehensive study that creates a vision for bicycle and pedestrian mobility in Middle Tennessee. This marks the first time ITE has bestowed its Best Project Award on an endeavor focused exclusively on non-motorized modes.

The study is unanimously endorsed by the MPO and has led to regional advancement of related initiatives, including: trainings led by national experts on Complete Streets and school siting; project prioritization criteria that heavily weights active transportation; and the establishment of a 15-percent funding commitment to non-motorized modal facilities in the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan.

Learn more, click here.

First Annual Report

Bike Walk Tennessee issued its first Annual Report to its members last week.  Click here to download a copy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Selling Advocacy

Pat works the HOT100 selling Bike Walk Tennessee, Walk Bike Nashville, and 3-Foot License plates.

Friday, August 27, 2010

America's Great Outdoors Listening Session Report

Tom and I  were in differing breakout sessions. I drew the good straw. My group oncentrated on topics most dear to BWT plus there was opportunity for new contacts.   Cameron Sholly, Superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway, and Tony Turnbow, President elect of the NTP association, were there. We had a discussion of cycling safety and policing responsibility. Mr. Sholly stated the Park service was responsible for enforcing the law along the parkway. He also said last year they had a manslaughter conviction of a motorist who killed a cyclist on the Parkway in Mississippi and is proud to say ther have been no deaths on the parkway this year.  Mr. Turnbow stressed the need for cyclist to be visible. He especially likes yellow and dislikes dark green and black.  The NTP management is developing a NTP logo yellow vest they intend to promote for wearing while cycling on the Trace.

Bike Art

When streets speak the truth - found this at Artwork by Peter Drew. Not much more I can say about this one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TDOT transportation grant for Depot in Johnson City announced

Governor Phil Bredesen joined TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely and state and local leaders today to announce the award of a $211,963 transportation enhancement grant to Johnson City in Washington County for the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Depot Stabilization project.

Funds for the Carolina, Clinchfield and Ohio Depot Stabilization project will be used to stabilize the historic depot building for use as a railroad museum in conjunction with East Tennessee State University and a recreational trail head. Johnson City grew around the intersection of three railroad lines and their depots. The CC&O Depot is one of two remaining depots and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ride to Promote Civility?

Probably my most favorite Blog (after the Walk Bike TN, of course) is the Commute Orlando Blog. Keri always has great stuff, sometimes controversial, to keep one thinking. But what else is a blog good for? As we know, not all of us ride the same bike lane -- need room for creative discussion.

Now, I think she is her own Troll -- Ride to Promote Civility. Check it out.

The experiment should really get interesting.

Bike Pedestrian Advocacy in NE TN

Three of the Region 6 board members of Bike Walk TN in Northeast Tennessee Janine Pleasant, Bennet Cowan, and Dan Reese met on Wednesday, August 25 for lunch to discuss a coalition of bicycle and pedestrian groups that would address safety and educational concerns in the region. After a very vibrant discussion over lunch the group decided to pull together interested and involved local leaders in late September to form the Bicycle and Pedestrian Action Group of NE TN. High on the priority list of concerns were advocacy for strict enforcement of current laws, community education directed at confronting inappropriate attitudes toward those who choose to bike, walk or jog, and interventions with local safety officials in charge of sheriff and police departments for better training of personnel. It was felt that by speaking in a concerted voice to local elected officials and staffs the message would be more effective effecting change. A tentative informal gathering of regional leaders is scheduled for the end of September at the home of Dan Reese in Johnson City to formalize the organization and draw up a plan for advocacy. News of the groups activities will be posted on the website of Bike Walk TN in coming weeks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

How a Bus Ride Makes You Fit - Realage article

This article describes how taking buses helps make people fit, since people usually end up walking to the bus stop. Walking to the bus stop can go a long way toward the recommended 30 min of exercise 5 days a week. Just as with cycling to and from work, walking to/from a bus stop to commute may appear to take somewhat longer. But one can kill the proverbial multiple birds with one stone. Of course, one can ride a bike to a bus stop if the transit system is set up to handle the transport of bicycles too.
1. Getting to/from work
2. Saving money on cars/gas/maintenance/insurance
3. Getting the needed exercise, avoiding spending time and money to go to a gym
4. Doing good to the environment

And all that takes place all at once! As Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR-3) asked rhetorically, how many people right now are driving a car to a gym in order to ride a stationary bicycle?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

CHEAP road diet idea

(just posted to
Wanted to get a feel for this road diet idea. Basically, there are quite a few 3/5 lane roads that have an excessive amount of two-way center turn lanes that aren't really used much; for instance, stretches of road exist that aren't full of left turning vehicles.

These stretches of road can be readily repainted to eliminate the redundant turn lane, with minimal widening around intersections where the turn lane does help and putting in bike lanes in the resultant freed space. I have illustrated the concept with a before/after diagram, and the needed widening shown in gray. So what do you all think? Does a minimal amount of road widening cost substantially less than full-scale widening?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Et Tu Portland? How About Frisco?

We often hear about Portland as one of the most cycling friendly cities in the USA if not the world. I recently subscribed to the podcast of The Bike Show on KBOO in Portland. They interview guests from all parts of the cycling world. The July 7 show includes an interview with the author of the Lonely Planet guide to cycling in Italy. I need to try that sometime.

But the interesting segment is an interview with two representatives from the Mayor's office in Portland. Apparently the Mayor had a plan to use savings from sewer construction projects to fund other infrastructure to enhance street drainage via "green streets" (bioswales whatever that is). These plans became known as "Sewer money for bike lanes" and there was blow back against the plans. Even in bicycle friendly Portland it's sometimes a struggle to change public policy.

KBOO Bike Show July 7

This podcast from KQED in San Francisco is a discussion of the transit plan for San Francisco that was held up for four years by litigation demanding an environmental impact study. The man who initiated the lawsuit is interviewed on the show.

Battling Over Bike Lanes

Friday, August 20, 2010

If You Just Connect the Dots

In a recent conversation with a city manager we discussed his views of using various funding sources to connect more of the schools and parks in his small community with accessible paths for biking and walking. It was not a surprise that both residents and developers were asking for these kinds of civic improvements as a way to enhance the quality of life of this city and promote more opportunities to park the car and use healthier means of transportation to go about daily life. Using available stream banks, wet lands area, a rail easement, a box culvert to go under a busy highway, and lots of local machinery and muscle he displayed a keen sense of "We can do it."

This manager is engaged in a possible eight mile linkage along a rural county road which would join two municipalities at parks on the city limits of each and involve cooperation with the county on the obtainment of easements for passage. Given the narrow width and lack of line of sight clearance along these rural roads working with landowners to secure a broader greenway separated from the road itself would be the safest approach. Quietly working with landowners one on one to answer their question and hopefully allay their fears of "strangers in my yard" becomes a priority at this point.

A second project discussed was the use of a new sewer line easement that would extend from the city treatment plant nine miles to a river. Use of the right of way for public passage would be obtained and the surface would be a multi-use trail providing recreational access to a wonderful natural resource and the bike route of the neighboring county.

Since the county has never been involved in bike route or greenway planning it is important that they be engaged in a conversation on the benefits of supporting alternative linkages. This takes meeting individually with the newly elected group of county commissioners and mayor and building rapport that provides foundation support for a presentation to a commission as a whole. This particular county is blessed to have a new county mayor who looks to improvements in the economic and quality of life of his constituents.

Bike Walk TN's directors and members can be effective in promoting and encouraging local managers, elected officials, and professional planning staffs to be more bicycle and pedestrian conscious. By working locally and regionally as advocates for safe alternative transportation changes can be effected that affect our world. Some days its time to write a letter to a state legislator on an issue but on this particular day a quiet conversation over coffee led to an effort to "connect the dots".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wolf River Greenway A Model for Tennessee Communities

It is remarkable to hear that Memphis is initiating a 22 mile greenway along the Wolf River. Beautiful location that I have walked and a real benefit for the community's health and conservation of a natural area filled with beauty.

Construction is under way on the first leg of the $28 million Wolf River Greenway, a significant factor in itself for a city that has never built a linear park at least 22 miles long before, or anything quite like it.

Now for the rest of the story. What's not obvious about the greenway -- a joint project of Memphis Park Services, the Wolf River Conservancy and the Hyde Family Foundation that eventually will stretch from the Mississippi River to Germantown -- is that it is just scratching the surface of a very ambitious dream. More at:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bicycle facility signs

This may be old news to most of you but it is new to me.  The 2009 Manual of Uniform Traffic Devices has bicycle facility signs nicely grouped.  Of especial joy to me was the R4 11, Bikes may use full lane sign.  I'd like to see about a thousand of these posted around Tennessee.

Latest on ABW/PWPB ride to Chattanooga.

It's been a week since everyone should have recieved email and US postal mail about the ride.  So far no replies from interested parties.  On the good side, no bounced emails or returned letters so our membership contact list is good.
For now we will have no organized ride but there is a resource link on our website.
If you are or learn of anyone interested, please direct them to the above link and also to me at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Rumble Strips for Bicyclists

I was riding the Mississippi River Trail just south of Grafton, Illinois this weekend when I came upon this use of Rumble Strips. It shows a way that rumble strips can be made to benefit BOTH motorists and bicyclists.

Making a Difference in Bike Safety

“We are not bicycling experts so we left it up to the bicycling community to tell us what they think are the hazardous ones and the ones they would like to see enforced,” Tucson Police Department Jerry Skeenes said. “We are not going to go out and try to pick some kind of duck pond just to get numbers. We are going to try to enforce something that will hopefully make a difference.”

Strict bicycle enforcement starts today; will focus on dangerous riding habits (click here to read more)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Correlations between obesity and driving, and others

GOOD Magazine recently published a table ranking all 50 states and Washington DC in terms of actual levels of driving, walking, cycling, mass transit usage, and levels of obesity. From their table, I plotted all 10 possible correlations of the variables with each other. Note that the driving rank and obesity rank is opposite that of the other things; i.e. a driving rank of 1 means little driving, while a walking rank of 1 means lots of walking. An obesity rank of 1 means low levels of obesity (in this data, Colorado). Our state is indicated with the extra large marker in these plots.

The strongest correlation is between walking and driving, and is depicted here. The more people drive, the less people walk.

Friday, August 13, 2010

New mountain biking and hiking trails in NE TN

Good news for mountain bikers in the area. Talking with the Forest Service trail tech. for the Cherokee National Forest southern region I found that there is trail construction at the Pinnacle Fire Tower on Buffalo Mountain and the construction company is moving toward the base trail head at Unicoi, TN. This will give bikers an up and back trail which I would consider a tough five mile ride. This connects with a trail to the other side of the mountain which is shared with ATV'ers and was the site of last week's Buffalo Mountain Time Trials.

A future trail from Buffalo Mountain City Park in Johnson City to the Pinnacle Fire Tower is being considered. This new multi-use trail would separate hikers and bikers from the ATV users for safety by using alternative contours. At approximately 15 miles this would provide a very close proximity to the 10.5 mile Tweetsie rail-to trail project which will connect Johnson City and Elizabethton. Although in its early planning stages the Bike Walk TN director meeting with the Forest Service representative was very positive and centered on inter connectivity of trails and management by user groups.

The Methodist Christian Camp on Buffalo Mountain is offering part of its 600 acres for a new biking network that will adjoin the Camp. Design and marking will be done by the Northeast Tennessee Mountain Biking(NTMBA).

At Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport there is planned trail work to extend its already extensive mountain biking network. NTMBA is the major player in best practices trail design and construction.

NTMBA is encouraging its members to be aware of and attend the Pro Bike Pro Walk Conference in Chattanooga and will be part of our (in formation) Bicycle Coalition of NE TN.

Bike Walk TN is strongly supportive of effort both publicly and private to provide safe accessible venues for biking and walking in Tennessee. Whether for road or mountain cyclists, hikers in the mountains, or pedestrians just crossing the street we look for ways to improve the world in which we live.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Update on Jay Westbrook

I have discovered that the civil suit against Andrew Chase, the Comcast driver who struck and seriously injured cyclist Jay Westbrook in July of 2009, was settled in mediation earlier this summer.

As for the criminal proceedings, I found out that it is likely Mr. Chase's lawyer will file for a pretrial diversion before the Sept. 7 court date. Click here for an explanation of the pretrial diversion. I spoke with the Honorable Berkeley Bell on the phone yesterday and he informed me that It is up to him, as the prosecuting District Attorney, to decide if the diversion will be granted. If he allows the diversion, the charges against Mr. Chase, aggravated assault and violation of the Bicycle Protection Act of 2007, will be postponed for a year. If Mr. Chase keeps his record clean during that period, after paying court costs, his record will be cleared.

I find this to be an unacceptable option and hope that you do, too. Please send an email to the assistant district attorney on the case, Chal Thompson, at You should make reference to State of Tennessee vs. Andrew Chase, case #09CR369. Let him know that you hope that if a a pretrial diversion is requested, it is denied and that Mr. Chase is prosecuted for both charges.

Bike to Chattanooga, change in plans

Thanks to Phil for forwarding me information on the officially sponsored ride from Atlanta to the ABW and PWPB in Chattanooga. They appear to not have one specific organized ride but are providing assistance  to individuals or small groups who plan their own.  Given the many variables this is a great approach. It also obviates some of the pesky legal issues. 

With that in mind the plans for an organized ride to Chattanooga will be abandoned. No one has shown interest anyhow.   I will put together a list of suggested routes and, lodging and stand ready to assist people from the airport since I know of no good way out of BNA on a bike. Heck, I feel lucky to get out of there in my car. 


Cycling hydration

Having just read this article on cycling hydration myths, I would say that I learned a lot. Some of the material about how one is, believe it or not, often already partially dehydrated at the start of an afternoon ride I found out with personal experience. Most of the material is more pertinent to athletes and people who are otherwise riding long distances rather than commuters.

With that fact being noted, since we are still in summer, what are some tricks to beat the heat? Is added hydration the key? Do the same rules apply for those going on a walk out in the heat?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pro-Walk/Pro-Bike Conference to Host Over 600 Sustainable Transportation Professionals Sept. 13-17, 2010

Chattanooga, TN - The National Center for Bicycling & Walking (NCBW) will come to Chattanooga, TN Sept. 13-17 for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike® 2010 conference. This year's theme, Bringing Livable Communities and Regions to Scale, will help attract a diverse representation of community planners, engineers, transportation and elected officials, as well as those concerned with the environment, public health and energy policies.

The conference will bring over 600 people to Chattanooga, making it North America's premier conference on walking, biking, and livability. Attendees will be able choose from over 70 panel sessions on bicycling and walking issues and a host of mobile workshops over the course of the conference.

While, attendees come from all 50 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and further abroad, “regional participation is very important,” says Chattanooga Bicycle Coordinator Philip Pugliese.

“Local attendees are vital to the success of this conference,” adds Pugliese. “As we showcase Chattanooga’s accomplishments for sustainable transportation, we will also be learning from other communities on how best to prepare for the future, both locally and regionally.”

In addition to the regularly scheduled panel sessions and mobile workshops, there will also be a special conference session on creating a more livable Chattanooga, geared towards local leadership, hosted by the Active Living Transportation Network, Choose Chattanooga and the Pioneering Healthy Communities initiative.

Registration is open now. Standard rates apply through Tues., Aug. 31. Early bird discounts are available through Sun., Aug. 15.

To learn more about the conference or register, visit or contact Philip Pugliese at (423) 643-6887 or

Monday, August 9, 2010

Momentum Building for a World Class Bike Culture in Memphis

Memphis has long enjoyed a strong recreational bicycle culture with dozens of races throughout the year.

But in my journey studying bicycle communities across four continents this past year, I was inspired by the diverse qualities of urban bicycle cultures. The opportunity to visit cities replete with bike commuters, bike-based musical events and innovative bike sports illustrated that urban bike cultures are quickly growing across the world.

And Memphis', it seems, isn't so far behind the curve.

Remember Jay Westbrook??

Allow me to refresh your memory about the accident on July 14, 2009 where the driver of a Comcast vehicle swerved onto the shoulder and hit Jay with his rear view mirror while Jay was on a training ride. I get the feeling the folks office of the 3rd Judicial District are hoping that we have all long forgotten! The case has been postponed over and over again. It took until October for the driver to be charged with violating the Bicycle Protection Act of 2007. In April, an additional charge of aggravated assault was added. The case is set for trial on Sept. 7 and we are still watching!

We need to let the DA involved in the case know that we expect the Comcast driver to be convicted of both charges, not only for Jay Westbrook, but for cyclists across the state who have a legal right to share the road with motor vehicles and should be protected when accidents happen involving motorists! If you would like to contact the District Attorney involved in the case, the Honorable C. Berkeley Bell, you can do so by sending him a letter at office of the 3rd Judicial District, 124 Austin St., Suite 3, Greeneville, TN 37745, or by phone at (423) 787-1450.

Reflections from Iowa

When you ride your bicycle for 7 days and 450 miles, you end up with lots of time to reflect on walking and bicycling. I just returned from a vacation to ride RAGBRAI, which is essentially a bike ride across the state of Iowa. This is no “normal” seven day ride. More than ten thousand people ride, riders from across the country and around the world, all ages, men, women, economic brackets. And when you get to the top of a hill, you can look back and all you see is a solid river of bicycles. The experience inspires me to make several comparisons between the states of Tennessee, Iowa and other states.

This guy rode 450 miles.
The Iowa ride shows that bicyclists come in every size, shape, age and color. Bicyclists riding road bikes, mountain bikes, Penny Farthings, unicycles, antique bikes with wooden wheels. Some people I saw created the initial thought – can they really be riding for the entire week on that bike? Yes, they can. I believe that too many Tennesseans automatically decide that they can't walk or bicycle that far for a variety of reasons. I'm too old. I'm too fat. Well, the oldest Iowa rider was over 80. Did he decide one day he was going to ride, jump on his bicycle, and take off across Iowa? No. But he did have to make the decision to try.

Iowa road conditions are terrible. The freeze thaw cycles create horrible cracks that run perpendicular to the road and in the same direction of travel. The first is quite uncomfortable and the later is extremely dangerous. Many Tennessee roads have hard rideable shoulders, while most Iowa shoulders that I witnessed were loose gravel. Tennessee was ranked 3rd in the country for the quality of our roads. Most cycling hazards are either gravel or debris in the roads - not dangerous cracks. To support the comparison, riding in Little Rock, Arkansas and feedback from friends in other parts of the country reveal similar crummy roads.

Tennessee has mild weather. Do you think Iowans train for that ride in the winter?  Probably not.  Only a few months a year do we have weather that's too hot or too cold for the casual riders.   To reinforce that weather has nothing to do with bicycle friendly, Bicycling Magazine ranked Minneapolis, MN #1 this year.  We have long shoulder seasons for amazing bicycling. But would a cross-state ride in Tennessee draw 10,000 riders? Probably not, at least not right now.

Iowans have miles and miles of corn and soybeans for scenery.  Almost all the roads intersect at right angles. The wind blows unobstructed across the flat terrain so in one direction there's a good chance you'll have strong wind in your face.  Tennessee has amazing scenery and curvy roads. Our rolling hills, variety of trees, rivers, rocks and terrain make for beautiful bicycling.  As the seasons rotate, we get a changing landscape as well.  I give the advantage again to Tennessee.

So, why is Tennessee ranked 49th by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, and 46th by the League of American Bicyclists up until this year?  Why did we tie Alabama for 2nd place in obesity?  We have wonderful assets and weather that Tennesseans should be out enjoying.  We don't have many good excuses.

Dust off that old bike.  Take that walk to the store.  In the process, meet those neighbors you haven't met yet. You're not too old.  You're not too fat.  Your bike isn't too old.  Start slow and you'll find much joy in making that step towards an active lifestyle that includes walking and biking.

Pat Clements

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trail Towns and Bicycle Tourism

Johnson City's Development Authority recently purchased a 1908 railroad depot which has been a poster child for urban blight. With creative insight that depot is being transformed into a center for local history, place to gather for coffee, and local goods and crafts vending space, and bicycle rental and repair facility. Most importantly the depot is turning into a Trail Head for urban and rural trails that are being planned and built in the region. What makes this so exciting is the city and area are being transformed into a version of what is called a "Trail Town". Capturing trail-based tourism based on the Trail Town concept has been modeled in many areas of the country and has provided a boost for local economies, increase concern for bicycle safety, and a change of attitude among the driving public for bicyclists.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Commissioner Nicely: Working To Improve Community Bike, Pedestrian Connections

by TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely
posted August 4, 2010

Take a look around next time you are traveling and you will likely notice that more citizens are bicycling and walking as means of transportation in Tennessee. Folks are embracing bicycling and walking for a variety of personal reasons. These reasons often include saving on ever-increasing fuel costs, improving one's health, or because it is their only transportation option. Walking and bicycling also provide an opportunity for communities to achieve larger goals such as attracting new business and tourism, increasing neighborhood safety, reducing traffic congestion, improving air quality, and increasing overall quality of life for residents.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation continues to make progress in its efforts to promote a multi-modal transportation system for Tennessee which includes opportunities for citizens of all ages and abilities to safely bike and walk to their desired destinations. In the past year alone, we have worked to adopt new bicycle-friendly rumble strip standards, revised our Strategic Highway Safety Plan to include bicycle and pedestrian safety as a major goal, offered bicycle and pedestrian design classes to our engineering staff, and worked with stakeholders to cost-effectively accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians in our construction, resurfacing, and roadway safety projects. Additionally, our Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to Schools programs have distributed millions of dollars in grants to local communities in order to build sidewalks, bikeways, and greenways, and to encourage children to safely bike and walk to school.

Back in May, the League of American Bicyclists announced its annual bicycle-friendly state rankings and Tennessee improved from 43rd in 2009 to 24th in 2010. This is a marked improvement, but there is still much work to do. One area deserving more attention is education of the public regarding safely sharing the road with all users. Our staff is currently working with the Tennessee Department of Safety to increase awareness by adding a share the road section to the Tennessee Driver's License manual and by airing a 'Share the Road' message on the motor vehicle network located in the state's regional driver service centers.

Finally, it is critical that we continue to move forward in our efforts to accommodate all users within our transportation system so that our citizens can experience the freedom and mobility to safely arrive at their destinations. This multi-modal approach to our initiation and execution of projects will help keep all Tennesseans in motion.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bike Commuting New Zealand style

Growing numbers of Kiwis (New Zealanders) are choosing to take to their bikes and fight for road space with trucks, buses and cars. But as the country goes cycle crazy, commuters and hobbyists are making a concerted plea for safety to improve.

Riding into Wellington on one of the capital's busiest entry roads, cyclists must dodge 15 lamp-posts and a bus stop. The route from Kaiwharawhara is described as "embarrassing" by the Cycling Advocates Network, yet it is a road that more and more commuters are opting to pedal along.

Others cycling into the city from different directions face varying conditions. On Oriental Pde there is the option to share the footpath; along Adelaide Rd there is the option to share the bus lane. Along other routes, there is a narrow space, not quite a lane, marked out by a broken yellow line and interrupted by drains or parked cars before coming to a complete stop.

Local authorities nationwide are grappling with ways to accommodate cyclists on streets where they have traditionally been squeezed to one side. With more people choosing to ride their bikes, the pressure is on to prevent more people getting knocked off their saddles. Around the world, schemes to make cities, suburbs and cross-country routes safer are being introduced to improve what is on offer for existing cyclists, and to attract more to what is a healthy, affordable, environmentally friendly form of transport. Yet in New Zealand, councils are complaining about budgets for such initiatives being squeezed.

Cycling Advocates Network project manager Patrick Morgan says that although New Zealand's thinking on transport is about 30 years behind the rest of the world, Wellington in particular is falling behind other centres. City council figures show that on an average day in March 2000, 746 people cycled into the city between 7am and 9am.

By March this year, a decade later, that figure more than doubled to 1644. While Mr Morgan acknowledges that in that period there have been some marked improvements, he says the council is still balking at making tough decisions such as removing car parking spaces to introduce cycle lanes. More from my bicycle friends in New Zealand at:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Nashville Dedicates Bike Racks

The Metropolitan Government of Nashville Davidson County is dedicated to improving bicycle infrastructure because of our past and current political leadership. Mayors Phil Bredesen, Bill Purcell and current office holder Karl Dean have all been supportive of improved bicycle facilities. Nashville contains miles of greenways and bike lanes as a result. The creation of Shelby Bottoms greenway as an extension of Shelby Park in East Nashville by Mayor Bredesen is just one example. During the term of Mayor Purcell a pedestrian bridge was constructed across the Cumberland River extending the greenway to the Percy Priest Dam. Mayor Dean created a bike sharing program that will operate out of the Shelby Park Nature Center. Similar projects have been completed and are in planning across the city. Mayor Dean also appointed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Mayor Dean recently led a ride around the Shelby Bottoms Greenway (go to Mayor’s Events, then July, then Mayor’s Bike Ride) to recognize the cleanup after the flood and the role of greenways as flood plain. Shelby Park and the Bottoms were both under water during the May floods in Nashville. Several board members of Bike Walk Tennessee accompanied the Mayor on the ride.

This commitment was recently strengthened when Mayor Dean dedicated a public art project that illustrates the city’s promotion of art and bicycling. The Metro Arts Commission initiated a project that allowed artists to create twelve art themed bicycle racks. I attended the dedication ceremony at the Demonbreum Street roundabout where the center of attention is a large microphone representing the Music City heritage.

Metro Arts Council Executive Director Jennifer Cole promised more of the artist-designed racks in Nashville. Although many bikers consider their ride to be art it may not be so apparent to non-bicyclists. There is even a controversy about the usefulness of some giant tomatoes as a lockup. There is no doubt that these sculptures represent both Nashville and its’ commitment to cycling.

Friday, July 30, 2010

West Knox couple transform health with gradual changes

Just saw an article at that can be found here.

To summarize, this former couch potato couple started to seriously walk and made their diets healthier. They made a point of walking 10,000 steps every day. The husband no longer needed a knee replacement, and was able to get rid of the blood pressure medication, while halving the cholesterol medication.

10,000 steps is around five miles. For most people dedicating an hour and forty minutes (assuming a walking speed of 3 mi/hr) every day to walking isn't practical; however, the 10,000 steps can include ordinary activities, making it much more manageable. A pedometer was suggested as a way to track the number of steps taken.

For short trips, walking is an eminently feasible way to get around, not to mention being relaxing and healthy. The construction of sidewalks around busier streets can greatly encourage this most basic form of transportation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Memphis Gets the Bicycle Spirit

The rest of the state needs to take note of the greenway being built in Memphis. Its "Greenline Project" which provides accessible recreation for all ability levels. This bodes well for projects like the Kingsport Greenbelt, the Johnson City Greenway, Elizabethton's Watauga River Trail, and the Erwin Linear Trail. Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville, and other areas of the state are backing multi-use trails and bike lanes as part of sustainable regional development.

"There's growing excitement surrounding the bike trail that spans from Midtown to Shelby Farms. Not only is the Greenline Project expected to help Memphians get fit, it'll bring two sides of town together.

Cement is being laid at the end of the Greenline. The first week of September is when the project is expected to be complete, giving Memphis' growing cyclist population a new safe route to ride their bikes."

"It's about 6.5 miles of trail that goes through the most beautiful wildlife area that you will find anywhere," said County Public Works Director Ted Fox."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nashville Native Cyclist Killed in Charleston S.C.

There was also an article in the Tennessean today that told more of his Tennessee connection.
Not enough known about the accident to comment on what happened. Even experienced cyclists make mistakes but it's hard not to wonder.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Costs of car ownership - followup

I just received a solicitation from Habitat for Humanity. It listed the monthly costs of a "typical" renter family with two parents making the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. Interestingly, it notes that to own and maintain one used car costs $425.

Using a 30-day month, that translates to $14/day for one car, which is more than my earlier estimate of $11-$22/day for two cars. And this car is used!

Again, the figure of people spending like 10-20% of their income on transportation is not uncommon these days. Such so-called fixed expenses disproportionately impact the poor, not to mention are ridiculous as a drain on the national economy. Having walkable/bikeable communities would drastically reduce such waste.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seattle Buffered Bike Lanes

Just read and submitted a comment on Seattle's latest buffered bike lane.

It's an interesting experiment; however, I wanted to bat around the idea of whether the buffer space is better placed next to the parked cars, rather than between the bike lane and motorized traffic. A buffer space next to the parked cars would basically eliminate the door zone issues otherwise present whenever there is a bike lane and parallel parking. Even if the bike lane were narrowed from 5 to 4 ft for more buffer, the avoidance of door zone issues would be a huge plus. I venture that hit from behind incidents when a bike lane is present are rare, and that the added comfort from the buffer is illusory. What do you all think?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Banning Bikes From Highways


Why You Should Care

Hendersonville Gets Key Greenway Connector

In 2009 Hendersonville built its first greenway. However, it lacked connectivity to trails in its most popular parks due to a creek separating them. Advocates were told on many occasions that it would be too costly to build a bridge over the creek between them. In July something changed. Click here for more info.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Updated Bicycle and Greenway Plan Shows Hope

The updated Bicycle and Greenway Plan for Johnson City breathes hope into the world of those hoping for a region much safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. Addressing the issues of obesity and inactivity, alternative modes of transportation, improved bike facilities, safety, and promotion this is a work in progress. Johnson City has committed to creating a comprehensive multi-modal strategy that includes bicycling and walking as integral parts of the transportation infrastructure. Johnson City’s vision seeks to take advantage of the benefits that bicycling can offer to the city, such as greater mobility, lower transportation cost, safer streets, cleaner air, less traffic congestion, increased daily exercise, lower healthcare costs, and a greater quality of life. The Johnson City Bikeway-Greenway Plan is intended to help turn this vision into reality. It addresses the positive environmental and economic impact of polution free modes of transportation and provides compelling evidence of improved social quality and a deeper appreciation of the built and natural environments. More has already happened since this plan went into effect and the public looks forward to the continual unfolding of this dynamic venture. The Johnson City Bicycle and Green Plan is available here for a closer study and is well worth the read.