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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System

. . The City of Chattanooga and Alta Bicycle Share announce on July 24'th that the Bike Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System opened to the public last night, providing 300 bicycles in a network of 28 stations throughout downtown and into the North Shore.  It is the first large scale bicycle transit system in the Southeast.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Report - Physical inactivity causes 10% of all worldwide deaths

CNN reports that a report series in The Lancet notes that physical inactivity is just as deadly as smoking or obesity. (Obviously the latter and physical inactivity are also linked.) If inactivity rates drop by 10-20%, then anything between one half to 1.3 million lives can be saved annually worldwide. The authors consider such inactivity to be equivalent to a pandemic.

In the third article of the series, Gregory Heath of the University of Tennessee wrote that "Because even moderate physical activity such as walking and cycling can have substantial health benefits, understanding strategies that can increase these behaviors in different regions and cultures has become a public health priority," and that improvements in mass transit and the walking and cycling environment can produce real benefits. As has been previously mentioned, we have engineered much physical activity out of our lives, but we can reverse the trend. Support for improved cycling and walking infrastructure in our communities have the following beneficial effects.

  1. Improved health,
  2. Decreased cost - I had mentioned that a car cost $11-$22 per day
  3. Improved environment,
  4. Decreased congestion,
  5. Improved community, with people being more neighborly and social,
  6. and Decreased dependence on foreign oil.
And all of these benefits take place at the same time making such investments a wise use of resources, provided that the money allocated for such is spent wisely.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Economic Benefits of SRTS

On July 26, 2012, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership is hosting a free webinar at 1PM CDT on How Safe Routes to School and Active Transportation Can Improve the Economies of Local Communities. Expert speakers discuss specific research on how bicycling and walking can boost local economies and save communities money.

Highlights include:
•  Economic benefits of increasing physical activity and improving walkability and the built environment
•  How bicycling and walking has saved money in selected communities
•  How much money is actually spent on bicycling and walking in comparison to other transportation modes
•  A Q&A session via a chat function with webinar attendees.
Register here:

SRTS Annual Report

National Partnership's 2011 Annual Report is Now Available

We are pleased to share the Safe Routes to School National Partnership’s 2011 Annual Report, showing how the National Partnership is creating safer streets and routes, improving communities and promoting physical activity for children and their families all across America. The Annual Report shows our work focused on four main strategies – federal advocacy, state and regional policy change, local technical assistance, and engaging families and sharing best practices – and how we are continuing to catalyze and lead the Safe Routes to School movement nationwide. + READ MORE

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smart Growth America - Nashville Report

Nashville was featured in Smart Growth America's email as a city that has successfully redeveloped its Riverfront. The riverfront has now become "an asset for revitalization efforts" and is a place that people want to go to, rather than simply go by. The fact that Rick Bernhardt, a Nashville planning executive, remarked that "Not any one of the downtown attractions can succeed on its own, but the synergy from different elements, along with the locals and tourists creates something special" points to the importance of good planning. This development took decades, and has helped to revitalize downtown.

Out in Knoxville, a similar process has occurred and is ongoing with its own riverfront. I believe the same is occurring in Chattanooga, and perhaps Memphis and elsewhere as well. Note how although such growth does not automatically tie into bike/walk things, the development of urban landscapes inherently favors biking and walking.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gerald Eddlemon Ride Across Alaska - Record Set

Congratulations to Knoxville cyclist Gerald Eddlemon has recently completed a ride across Alaska from south to north, going from the Pacific Ocean to Arctic Ocean, in record time pending verification from the Ultra-Marathon Cycling Association.

His report to the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen is reproduced below in its entirety.

Friday, July 13, 2012

What's Happening at TDOT?

. . What's happening at TDOT is a question that most advocates now have after the passage of the Federal Transportation Act of 2012. There is little doubt that bike/ped is going to see some significant changes in the support this agency is able to give to favorite projects once funded via Transportation Enhancement and Safe Routes to School mandates.
. . Even though personnel at TDOT have not received federal guidelines and may not see anything for many months, advocate leadership is setting up discussions with TDOT to be prepared for the most likely future of their current and longer range funded programs.
. . Got questions?  Comment to this blog post and we'll do our best to get some answers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Calling ALL Advocates

. . Congress has passed the FederalTransportation Act of 2012.  For the most part it was a disappointment for biking and walking advocates who anticipate major changes in priorities in government agencies.  Funding levels have dropped from 40% to 70% for active transportation and resource mandates have been eliminated.  Federal guidance that validated these forms of alternate transportation is seriously weakened. If progress is to continue,advocates at the national, state, and local level must step up and make a commitment.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New TN SRTS Advocacy Organizer Named

On July 9'th Christy Smith begins work as the new TN Advocacy Organizer for Safe Routes to Schools. She replaces Rebecca Wynd who had to resigned for personal reasons.
Her email address is

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bike-Sharing Stokes Conflict

. . This story in USA Today outlines the battle between car drivers and bicyclists is becoming more pronounced as bike-sharing programs spread across the country. The programs, in which people rent bicycles for short periods of time from self-service kiosks, have grown across the country creating an influx of new bikers — including many tourists and first-time riders unaccustomed to local traffic patterns — can lead to safety problems that are hard to blame on just bicyclists, pedestrians or motorists.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Trend: Generation Y Driving Less

Reuters is reporting that generation Y (people aged 16-34) is driving less than previous generations. There was a 23% drop in vehicle-miles travelled in the last decade, (10,300 down to 7,900 vehicle-miles) with people flocking to mass transit and bicycles. More than a quarter (26%) of them lack a driver's license, up 5% from that a decade ago.

David Jacobs of The Tombras Group here in Knoxville points out several possible reasons for the trend. Factors include the high cost of cars, the lack of the "cool" factor, environmental concerns, as well as improvements in electronic communication with cell phones and the like. This shift away from an auto-centric system by the young would have drastic implications on the design and maintenance of our roads in the coming decades.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Joint Statement on New Transportation Bill

The America Bikes coalition — representing the nation’s leading bicycling and walking groups — and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership oppose the new transportation bill, which would nationally cut funding for biking and walking projects by 60 to 70 percent.
We are deeply concerned that bicycling and walking programs suffer large and disproportionate cuts in funding in the new bill. Programs that save lives and dollars are eliminated.