Monday, December 29, 2008

Report: Active Transportation for America

A new report released by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy entitled "Active Transportation for America" quantifies for the first time the benefits of building and using infrastructure for walking and bicycling. The report states that in a modest-case scenario, Americans could avoid driving 69 billion miles per year in their cars, resulting in saving 3.8 billion gallons of gasoline and not emitting 33 million tons of carbon dioxide.

The report talks about Active Transportation being the missing part of our national transportation system, and also discusses the role that transportation can play in our quality of health, especially relating to the diabetes and obesity epidemics.

Click here to read the report.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Employer Incentives to Walk, Bicycle or Take Transit

Mast General Stores, headquartered in North Carolina, reportedly rewards employees who walk, ride or take transit with $4 a day. These transportation modes are not only better for environmental health, but for physical and emotional health as well.

Do you think that local employers would consider a similar type of incentive program?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Universities - More Bicycles, Less Parking for Cars

Some universities across the nation have stopped building expensive parking decks for students and started providing bicycles and bicycle accessories such as helmets and lights instead. The result -- less money spent on unsightly parking structures, less traffic around institutions and a healthier student population.

Nashville is known for its many universities. Do you think encouraging bicycle use by providing reduced cost or free bicycles would help with traffic and parking around universities?

A few examples:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nashville Goes Green with Green Ribbon Committee

The Nashville Green Ribbon Committee appointed by Mayor Karl Dean is looking into ways that Nashville can become more green and sustainable. The Committee conducted a survey this fall in which almost 2,000 people responded. The number one sustainable practice that people want to see is availability of mass transportation.

Important to a successful system of mass transportation are connections for bicycle and pedestrian travel. After all, taking transit involves some walking or bicycling to or from a place of origin (like a home) or a destination (a school or office, for example).

What are your thoughts on mass transportation being the most important green practice on the minds of Nashvillians?
View the Green Ribbon Committee website.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Paris Bicycle Rental Program Celebrates 1st Year

The Paris Velib program is an extensive system of thousands of bicycles available for rent all across the city. The program has seen extensive success in its first year of service. Check out this great video documenting the successes of the program.

Do you think a bicycle rental program like this could ever work for Nashville? Perhaps in the downtown area or near some of the colleges like Lipscomb, Belmont and Vandy?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Cars and Bikes Coexist?

View this article from the Sacramento Bee entitled: The Conversation: Can Cars and Bikes Coexist?

TDOT Safe Routes To School Grants

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will be awarding over $3 million in Safe Routes to School funds in 2009. These funds are provided at 100% to local municipalities who receive grants to install infrastructure and provide education to students on walking and bicycling.

Sample infrastructure projects include sidewalks and crosswalks. All projects must be located within 2 miles of an elementary or middle school.

Projects must demonstrate 5 E's: Engineering, Education, Enforcement, Encouragement and Evaluation.

To apply, visit the TDOT Safe Routes to School Website. Project applications are due March 27, 2009 and will be awarded in late fall 2009. Maximum project awards are $250,000.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Parking Cars in Bicycle Lanes - Updated

It's official! Parking a vehicle in a bicycle lane is now illegal in Nashville, unless a sign is posted to permit parking. This is a big win for cyclists. The next step is education for the public and enforcement by police.
Original Post:
Walk/Bike Nashville reports on the debate and proposed ordinance in Nashville over whether/not to allow vehicular parking in bicycle lanes:

Metro Nashville City Council passed Ordinance BL2008-307 on second reading on Tuesday, November 18. The ordinance is scheduled for its third reading on Tuesday, December 2nd. Walk/Bike Nashville has been very active in promoting the creation and approval of this ordinance.

Erik Cole championed this ordinance and vocal supporters of the council include: Mike Jameson, Erica Gilmore, Jason Holleman, Vivian Wilhoite, and Karen Bennett.

Eric Crafton was concerned about inner city parking issues and raised the question during the Traffic & Parking committee meeting just prior to the council meeting on Monday.

The ordinance is an amendment to Chapters 12.40 and 12.60 of the Metropolitan Code to prohibit the parking, stopping, or standing of motor vehicles within bike lanes. A copy of the ordinance can be found here:
Walk/Bike Nashville encourages you to contact the five at-large council members and your local council representative to share your thoughts on this ordinance.

Find your council member here:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Strategic Vision for Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation in the Greater Nashville Region

On Friday, November 21, 2008, the Nashville Area MPO convened the first meeting of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The BPAC is assisting in the development of the Strategic Vision for Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Planning in the Greater Nashville Region by providing input to MPO staff and consultant RPM Transportation throughout the planning process.
The BPAC is made up of a geographically diverse group of bicycle and running clubs, greenways advocates, city planners, police officers, P.E. teachers, local health departments, transit operators and state transportation and environment departments. The BPAC will meet four more times over the course of the next 10 months to provide input on proposed bicycle and pedestrian facilities, policies and funding opportunities. View members of the BPAC

President-Elect Supports Safe Routes to School

-> According to an article in the Nov. 6th Safe Routes to School E-News, "Earlier this year, Senator Barack Obama met in Chicago with board and staff members of Bikes Belong -- the Partnership's parent organization. Mr. Obama told the bike group's leaders that if elected president, he would support funding for bicycling, walking and Safe Routes to School in the next federal transportation bill.
"That same week, Mr. Obama celebrated his consolidation of the Democratic Presidential nomination by riding bikes with his two young daughters in a Chicago park. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership will now work closely with Bikes Belong and the America Bikes coalition to ensure that the new Obama administration is fully briefed on the tangible benefits and significant progress of Safe Routes to School programs as they prepare their legislative agenda."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Safe Routes to School

Did you know that up to 30% of morning traffic can be attributed to parents driving their children to school?

Did you know that over 30% of children and adults in Tennessee are considered overweight or obese?

Did you know that 10% of children in the U.S. have asthma which is strongly related to poor air quality?

Want to know one possible solution for these problems? Safe Routes to School. This program encourages children to walk or bicycle to school, which gets them exercise and increases their attention spans and behavior for classroom work, in addition to lowering their BMIs. When caretakers join in, it's fun and healthy for the whole family.

Less congestion = better air quality = better health and quality of life.

Learn more about a report written for Congress by the Safe Routes to School Task Force.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Greenways and Bikeways in Nashville/Davidson County

City Profile: Nashville/Davidson County.

In 2000, 5.6% of Davidson county residents lived within a half mile of a Greenway. No bicycle facilities existed at this time.

In 2007, 34.6% of Davidson county residents lived within a half mile of an existing Greenway or Bikeway Facility. 95.3% of residents will live within a half mile of a Greenway or Bikeway facilities if all planned/proposed facilities are constructed.

In the future, if almost all residents live within 1/2 mile of these facilities there will be increased opportunities for physical activity and active transportation. Do you live near a Greenway or Bikeway currently? If not, how would your walking or bicycling habits change if you did?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tennessee 3 Feet

Did you know that all motorists in Tennessee must provide 3 Feet when passing a bicyclist? The Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act of 2007 requires that motorists must provide this safe passing distance to avoid contact between the vehicle and the cyclist.

Share your experiences about the 3 feet law. Does it work? Do you think motorists and bicyclists know about the law? We'd like to know what you think.

Learn more about TN 3 Feet here.
Order TN 3 Feet bumper stickers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Share the Road License Plate

The Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation of Maryville, Tennessee is organizing for a Share the Road license plate. This is not the first attempt at a license plate promoting road safety, but with enough support it just might happen this time around. The foundation needs no less than 1,000 pre-ordered plates in order to send the plate to print. As with other specialty plates, purchase of the Share the Road license plate sporting the adopted 3 Feet law will help to support the efforts of the Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation. Go here to learn more about the foundation or to place your order for a plate.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bicycle Safety Video

A new bicycle safety video aimed at educating riders on the basics of bicycling was filmed last week and will be ready for viewing in the next month.

The video will be approximately 7-8 minutes long and covers such topics as proper helmet and bike fit, where to ride (and not to ride) on the road, how to make turn signals, and proper etiquette for riding on a greenway.

The video production is coordinated by the Metro Nashville Planning Department and Music City Moves!, with funding provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and video production by the Renaissance Center.

The final video will be made available on this site, so stay tuned to view the finished product.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bicycle Commuter Tax Credit

The "bail-out bill" just passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush includes a provision that may provide cyclists who ride to work up to $240 to offset their commuting cost and hopefully encourage more bicycle commuting.

The bill offers employers a $20 per month per eligible employee tax credit to cover reimbursement expenses related to the needs of commuter bicyclists. As worded, almost anything related to bicycle commuting could be covered.

This tax credit is only for employers, so you have to convince your employer to set up a program to make it work. You submit your receipt for bicycle expenses to your company and they reimburse you for the cost in your paycheck. At the end of the year your company claims a tax credit for the amount they've reimbursed employees.

Ryan Cooper, a member of Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program Bicycle Advisory Committee, has drafted a sample letter that you can use as a starting point for contacting your Human Resources Department to ask them to implement such a program.


Human Resources Department,

As I'm sure you are aware, the Congress just passed H.R. 1424 "The Bail-Out Bill" on Capitol Hill. Although this legislation deals primarily with the housing market, there were several other
unrelated provisions added to the bill. Among these was a tax incentive for employers who promote the use of bicycles for commuting. The specifics of this tax break are laid out in Sec. 211, "Transportation fringe benefit to bicycle commuters" under the Transportation and Domestic Fuel Security Provision section but the change is pretty basic.

The bill offers a $20 a month tax relief per bicycle commuting employee to cover the cost of any employer reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred by the employee "for the purchase of a bicycle and bicycle improvements, repair, and storage, if such bicycle is regularly used for
travel between the employee's residence and place of employment."

I am interested in finding a way that [Company Name] could implement a program that would allow employees who cyclo-commute to expense less than $20 a month in bike related expenses. The benefits of an expense reimbursement program for cyclo-commuters include:

Lower fuel costs on company owned vehicles
Less required maintenance on company owned vehicles
Ability of [Company Name] to claim a full $20 per month per eligible
Employee when actual expenses are likely to be far less
Improved employee health which in turn increases employee productivity
Creates a progressive and environmentally conscious image for the company

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like additional information about this recent tax code change.

Thank you,

[Your name]
[Your job title]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sharing the Road with Bicycles and Pedestrians

On October 29, 2008 the Nashville Area MPO staff made a presentation to over 100 attendees of the Tennessee Highway Safety and Incident Management Conference on Sharing the Road with Bicycles and Pedestrians.

This annual conference addresses many important roadway safety issues such as preventing and responding to accidents, collecting accident data and increasing roadway safety.

For the first time, the conference addressed Sharing the Road not only with bicycles and pedestrians but with motorcyclists as well. The standing-room only crowd representing cities from all across the state asked many important questions about bicycle rider safety and laws pertaining to bicycles. A big thank you to TDOT for allowing the MPO to make this important presentation. Click here to view the presentation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nashville Mayor Appoints Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee

The Walk/Bike Nashville 10th Birthday Celebration held on October 23rd was a huge hit! Over 80 people in attendance enjoyed food and beverages and the biggest bicycle birthday cake you've ever seen.

The highlight of the event was Mayor Karl Dean's announcement of a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). The Committee is made up of cycling clubs, community groups, greenways and transit organizations, and elected officials. The BPAC will serve as a liaison between the Nashville community and the Metropolitan Government. View Mayor's Announcement.

View video coverage of the event.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Celebrate Walk/Bike Nashville's 10th Birthday!!

Join Walk/Bike Nashville and Mayor Dean TONIGHT for the Walk/Bike Nashville's 10th 'Birthday' Party celebrating 10 years of pedestrian and bicycle successes! The party goes from 6-8 pm at the Nashville Farmers' Market located at 900 Rosa Parks Boulevard next to Bicentennial Mall.

There will be plenty of food, drinks and of course birthday cake. Mayor Dean will be making a big announcement tonight that you won't want to miss!

For more information, visit

Friday, October 17, 2008

Online Tool Determines Neighborhood Walkability

Walkable neighborhoods offer surprising benefits to our health, the environment, and our communities. With the surge in gas prices, people are really considering the consequences of where they live., a service designed to help those seeking a less automobile-dependent life launched in July of 2007 and offers the ability for people to assess how walkable their neighborhood’s are based on proximity to grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants, movie theaters and other amenities.

Find out how your home rates for walkability; punch in your address at After you explore the site and determine your neighborhood’s walkability, provide us your comments, thoughts, and ideas for improving the walking environment in the Greater Nashville Region.

Commuting to Work by Bike

A recent article in The Tennessean highlighted the experiences of some commuting to work by bike in Williamson County.

The Tennessean conducted a follow up story and actually recorded one bike commuter's typical commute ride to and from work via roadways within Williamson County. View video journal.

If you bike or walk to work, share with us your commuting experience. Let us know what would help to improve your travel or share your secrets for travelling safely on roadways within the Nashville Region.