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Monday, June 4, 2012

Ride with Elected Officials

                  L-R, Council Members Mark Campen, Duane Grieve, Nick Pavlis, George Wallace

Over 50 eager bicyclists participated in the Ride with Elected Officials on May 7, 2012. The ride included some of the Knox County and Knoxville City Greenways including Ten Mile Creek and Jean Teague Greenways.  Knoxville City Council members George Wallace (at large seat A), Nick Pavlis (1st district), Mark Campen (5th district), and Duane Grieve (2nd district) rode their bikes in the event. Other participating cyclists representing  local governments included: Bob Whetsel, director of Knoxville Redevelopment; Jim Hagerman, director of Knoxville Engineering; ; Lori Goerlich, Knoxville Greenways coordinator; Doug Bataille, director of Knox County Parks; Jeff Welch, director of Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO); Kelley Segars and Ellen Zavisca, TPO planners responsible for bike and pedestrian programs.
The City Council members enjoyed the ride and spoke with various citizens who rode along with them. At West Hills Elementary the physical education teacher discussed the Safe Routes to School Program and how the greenway is a critical link for children walking and biking to school. The bike route signs for the West- East Knoxville route which includes Ten Mile Creek and Jean Teague greenways have just been erected by city engineering and Jim Hagerman was pleased to see them. The greenways serve as corridors for active transportation as well as recreation.
After the ride, Earthfare provided refreshments.  Jeff Roth Foundation and Bike Walk Tennessee offered information about their organizations. They both advocate for safe and accessible bicycle facilities. Information regarding the economic and health benefits of implementing a Complete Streets policy was given to each City Council member by Caroline Cooley.
This first bike ride with Elected Officials was well received by all participants. The Elected Officials expressed interest in potential future events showcasing other area greenways.

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