Vick Dyer and Jay Nevans are currently on the way toward New Orleans from the Knoxville area, having left on February 13. They are attending the annual Coldwell Banker Blue Generation Conference. An article on their trip is available here. They will be able to work on the road with the help of modern computer technology. For this 700 mile trip, they are expecting to ride around 40-60 miles a day. Jay Nevans is with the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation and is riding to help promote the drive to get at least 1000 of the "Share the Road" specialty license plate orders before this year's deadline. Notice how they, realtors, point to how buyers frequently request places that are highly walkable and bikeable, and that having such increases property values.
Their progress is being tracked at their blog at tennesseesharetheroad.blogspot.com.
. . I have great news! Rebecca Wynd has accepted the position as Tennessee’s new full time SRTS State Network Organizer! Tennessee is one of seven states that Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has agreed to fund a full time network organizer for three years. This is due to the wonderful momentum Tennessee has accomplished. I have no doubt that Rebecca will be a strong and successful leader for the network as we enter this new phase.
. . As most of you know, Rebecca has worked with the network already, and has a passion for SRTS. She has extensive work experience including experience in working for the Olympics and starting a non profit organization. Her official start date is March 5th, and she will be in training for two weeks. So we will be resuming the network in mid March!
Leadership teams representing the Alliance for Biking & Walking, the League of American Bicyclists and Bikes Belong agreed in principle on February 14, 2012, to recommend the unification of all three organizations to more effectively support and advance bicycling in the United States.
To foster the growth and development of open streets initiatives, the Alliance for Biking & Walking and the Street Plans Collaborative have launched two new, innovative resources: The Open Streets Project website and the Open Streets Guide. Open streets initiatives temporarily close streets to automobiles, allowing residents to walk, bike, skate, dance and utilize the roadways in countless creative and active ways. From Los Angeles to Ottawa, and Missoula to Miami, open streets have become a way for cities to build community, promote active transportation and reconnect neighborhoods divided by traffic.
In just a year, Tennessee rose from ranking 43 to 24 of the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly States list. To continue building this momentum, the 2012 Tennessee Bike Summit will serve as an opportunity to share successes, challenges, and strategies for moving Tennessee forward as a bike-friendly state. Join us for exciting sessions and mobile workshops!
In a survey of the 50 largest metro areas in the country, Knoxville ranked at the very bottom in terms of the average person's "realage," which is a number indicative of how old the person's body is in terms of health, as opposed to the calendar age. The article from the Knoxville News Sentinel has more details. Memphis is number 3, and Nashville number 7. The article mentions The Rush Fitness Complex, a chain of gyms based in Knoxville, and attempts to reverse this disturbing trend. There is no doubt that regular physical activity goes a long way toward making populations healthier.
With all the proposed budget cuts in federal spending on bike/ped that have been detailed by others, let's not forget the hidden costs with such cuts. Pedestrian trips constitute more than 10% of all trips, yet funding for such is proposed for elimination. Yet strangely, nobody is proposing eliminating funding for car traffic. An inactive lifestyle brings costs in terms of poor health and increased health-care costs, not to mention decreased productivity. While there is nothing wrong with getting workouts at a gym, isn't it ironic that people are almost forced to drive to the gym for a workout? Complete streets that are built for all modes have been consistently shown to increase property values, not to mention making places preferable to live in.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, the House's proposed multi-year transportation bill, eliminates support for biking and walking. Communities across the country will lose access to the federal funds to build the sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways as listed:
- Transportation Enhancements is gone.
- Safe Routes to School is eliminated.
- CMAQ is gutted.
- No safe access on bridges.
- No rail trails.
- No transit funds for bicycling.
- No state-level staff support.
- No bike/ped technical assistance.
- More unsafe rumble strips.
- No traffic calming.
28 states and more than 300 local governments recognize the need to create a street network that is safe for everyone, regardless of age, income, or how they choose to travel. American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act does little to ensure that an infrastructure investment funds the most beneficial projects for our communities. A Complete Streets provision absent in this Act would make each dollar work harder by ensuring every project helps improve safety for school children, workers without cars needing to get to jobs, and seniors walking to downtown. It would also help boost job creation by investing in bicycling and walking facilities and in public transportation projects that produce more jobs than roadways for automobiles alone.
. . By a vote of 27 to 29, the U.S. House T&I Committee voted down the Petri/Johnson/Lipinski amendment to fix many of the deficiencies in the House transportation bill as they relate to the Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School programs.
. . Thank you to everyone who spoke up and contacted his/her representatives in support of this amendment. Regardless of the outcome of vote, your voice is an important part of the debate to follow.
Gov. Bill Haslam today announced Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funding totaling $1.6 Million for ten municipalities in Tennessee. The funds will be used by multiple schools to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, signs and safe walking and biking educational activities. The SRTS Program is a statewide initiative designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Cities receiving SRTS funds are: Anderson County, Kingsport, Dyersburg, Lenoir City, Fairview, Lewisburg, Hendersonville, Tullahoma, Jackson, Woodbury
The grants are made possible through a federally funded program administered by the TDOT and is one of the programs that American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act cancels.
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