Monday, September 14, 2009

NY Times - Article on Walking to School

The NY Times reports on the issues parents consider when allowing their children to walk to school, an activity that was common place just a few decades ago. September 12, 2009.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tennessean Reports on Dangers to Pedestrians

Sunday, August 23, 2009
Deadly drivers threaten walkers in Nashville
Nashville among least safe cities for pedestrians

By Jennifer BrooksTHE TENNESSEAN

Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Metro Nashville, where hundreds are hit, hurt or killed by vehicles each year. The number of pedestrian accidents has gone up nearly every year since 2004 — a grim statistic in a city already known as one of the least-pedestrian-friendly places in the country.

Seventy-three people died trying to cross or walk along Nashville streets from January 2004 to August 2009, according to Metro police records. More than 1,600 pedestrians have been hit.
Not only are Nashville pedestrians getting hit, they're getting hit in the same intersections, neighborhoods and along the same main traffic corridors over and over again. They're also getting hit for the same reasons, over and over again.

Some get hit while jaywalking. Others are hit because reckless drivers don't know, or don't care, that the law requires them to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Some get hit because they go walking in dark clothes on a dark night.

"The bottom line is, if more pedestrians and drivers would follow the rules, many of these (accidents) could have been avoided," said Metro Public Works spokeswoman Gwen Hopkins-Glascock, whose department is responsible for pedestrian crossings around the city.
But there are things other cities have done to cut down on their pedestrian accident and death rates — things like stepped-up enforcement at pedestrian crossings, more visible crosswalks, bans on right turns at red lights, and remaking entire streets to calm traffic and protect pedestrians.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has appointed a bicycle and pedestrian coordinator in an effort to create a more "walkable" city, and Metro's Planning and Public Works departments have scrutinized dangerous crossings. But the city has yet to come up with a comprehensive safety plan that targets dangerous crossings.

"We're looking into how to address this, but for now it's a little premature to say," said Metro Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Toks Omishakin. "More detailed analysis needs to be done."
But even a cursory look at pedestrian accident data highlights the streets around town that are accidents waiting to happen.

7 hit on Broadway

There's Broadway, where pedestrians have been hit in almost every intersection in the dozen blocks between the river and the highway overpass over the past five years — 14 pedestrians hit at Broadway and Third Avenue, 11 more at the Fifth Avenue crossing. This year alone, there have been seven pedestrians hit between First and 12th avenues.

Then there's the Main Street/Gallatin Road/Gallatin Pike corridor, site of three of the seven pedestrian deaths the city has seen this year. The first traffic death of the year was a pedestrian, 44-year-old Allen Young, killed while trying to cross Main Street by a driver who never saw him until it was too late to stop. The driver wasn't cited and the final police report on the incident concluded: "It appears Young's failure to yield to traffic while crossing the roadway was the contributing factor to this fatal accident."

But several months later, several miles up the road, Nashville grandfather James Hamsley was waiting quietly at a bus stop along Gallatin Pike when he was sideswiped by a hit-and-run driver and killed.

What Nashville needs, Omishakin said, is a change in the culture and mindset of drivers and pedestrians alike. "There is a lot of education that needs to happen," said Omishakin, whose office is also leading a push for more bike paths and pedestrian corridors in a city that the National Surface Transportation Policy Project once ranked as the 10th-most-dangerous place for pedestrians in the nation.

A look around any busy intersection in town offers a vivid glimpse of just how far Nashville has to go in its pedestrian safety education. It was the noon lunch rush at the intersection of Fifth and Charlotte avenues, and Billy Harris had his eye on the Dunkin' Donuts across the street, not the glowing red "don't walk" signal overhead.

Harris bounded into the street, ignoring the red minivan bearing down on him. Brakes squealed as the vehicle slowed, then swerved around him and continued through the intersection.
Safely on the other side, Harris, a day laborer, seemed amused by the suggestion that it might have been safer to wait for a walk signal. Or at least look both ways before he crossed.
"I knew I could make it," he said with a laugh.

Not long afterward, Barbara Williams, 77, waited at the same corner for the walk signal and started across, hobbled slightly by recent foot surgery that had her stepping slowly and gingerly down Charlotte. Halfway across, she cringed as a dark sedan whipped a right turn on red, just missing her. "People drive like idiots in this town," said Williams, whose failing eyesight forces her to walk everywhere or take the bus around town. "There are drivers who will speed up when they see you in a crosswalk, like they think it's funny to scare the daylights out of you."

In 2004, there were 278 pedestrian accidents in the Metro area. By 2008, the number had risen to 302. The death rate has ranged from 11 in 2004 to 17 in 2006 and 13 deaths last year. By contrast, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has charted a steady decline in pedestrian deaths nationwide over the years.

Circumstances vary

There's no one reason people keep getting hit on Nashville streets. A look at the 1,600 pedestrian accidents turns up odd tidbits: More accidents happened during daylight hours than nighttime; more pedestrians were hit in intersections than in the middle of roads; and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays were the most dangerous days of the week.

The pedestrians are all ages, races and genders: 4-year-old Ronald Easeley III, hit and critically injured while trying to cross Nolensville Pike at Old Hickory with his parents last month; James Veach, 39, sideswiped and killed while steering his electric wheelchair along Dupont Avenue by a driver who police said was under the influence of drugs; even an old friend of Elvis, Marvin "GeeGee" Gambill Jr., 61, hit by a car on Antioch Pike while walking to work. Gambill was Elvis Presley's longtime driver.

"It's a bad situation for everyone. For the driver, not being able to do anything, not having time to react before they hit someone, it's really hard on them," said Officer Greg Davis, crash investigator for the Metro Police. "And in general, for the pedestrians getting hit, even if they don't die, they're going to have injuries that are potentially life-changing."
For Davis, the worst part of any pedestrian accident scene is knowing that it could have been prevented.

"We have good crossing areas in this city, but from what we see, people just aren't using them. … It goes the other way, too. Motorists have to exercise due caution, pay attention," Davis said.
Seven pedestrians have died on the streets of Nashville this year. If recent patterns hold true, another seven or so are likely to die before 2010.

Davis, for one, would be happy if that doesn't happen, and had a few words of advice for pedestrians:
"If there's crosswalks available, use 'em. Treat 'walk' and 'don't walk' signs seriously. The city doesn't put them up for entertainment. They're there to keep people safe," he said.

Additional Facts
Since 2004, 73 pedestrians have been killed in traffic accidents in Nashville and more than 1,600 have been hit. Year Hit Killed2004 —278; 11 2005 — 277; 13 2006 — 294; 17 2007 — 301; 13 2008 — 302; 12 2009 — 157; 7** as of Aug. 2

Friday, August 14, 2009

Walk Nashville Week Now on Facebook

Walk Nashville Week is coming up October 3-9, 2009. Events include:

  • Walk to Worship Day

  • Walk Your Neighborhood Day

  • Walk to Work Day

  • Walk to School Day

  • Walk for Active Aging

  • Nashville On the Move Day

To find out more information please visit the Community Health and Wellness Team website or facebook page.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Create-A-Bike-Lane with Bike Lane Light

An innovative concept -- don't have a bicycle lane, create your own at night with a personal bike lane light.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Tennessean Reports on MPO Bike/Ped Meeting in Williamson County

(Photo courtesy of Tennessean)
For county cyclists, path is often bumpy
Regional, local plans encourage bike paths and greenways

By Mitchell Kline • THE TENNESSEAN • August 4, 2009

Click here to read the article.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Getting to Know the Laws for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a bicyclist and pedestrian is extremely important to not only travel safely but also to enjoy the journey.

Test your knowledge and see if you know the answers to the following questions:

1. Bicyclists should ride against the flow of traffic. T/F

2. Traffic should yield to pedestrians when the are preparing to cross or crossing the street at a marked or unmarked crosswalk. T/F

3. A 12 year-old is not required by state law to wear a helmet. T/F

4. Bicyclists are not allowed to ride at night. T/F

Click on the following links to find out the laws in Tennessee for bicyclists and pedestrians.


1. False - bicyclists should ride on the road going with the flow of traffic.

2. True - motorists should yield to pedestrians preparing to cross or in the act of crossing at a marked or unmarked intersection crosswalk.

3. False - anyone under the age of 16 must wear a helmet by law.

4. False - Bicyclists may ride day or night, but at night must have a front white head light and a rear red reflector (although a blinking rear light is strongly recommended, as is additional reflective clothing/gear).

Friday, June 19, 2009

Register for Walk Nashville Week

The Nashville Community Health and Wellness Team, sponsor of Walk Nashville Week, has launched a new website at The website provides information on all of the Walk Nashville Week Activities, held this fall from October 4-11. The activities include:

  • Walk to School Day

  • Walk for Active Aging

  • Walk at Lunch Day

  • Walk to Worship Day

  • Walk Your Neighborhood Day

To register your school, workplace, community center or place of worship, just visit the website.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Transit Now Video - How to Ride MTA Bus

Transit Now, a group dedicated to raising awareness about the benefits of regional mass transportation in the Nashville Area, recently released a video about the ease of riding the MTA bus.

The video discusses purchasing fare cards, selecting routes and includes a demonstration of the bicycle racks featured on the front of every bus.

Click to view the video or to see the Transit Now website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sign up for the eNewsletter

The MPO is sending out periodic updates on the development of the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan through our new eNewsletter.

If you would like to receive the updates and find out about the progress of the plan, click here.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Green Ribbon Committee Report

Mayor Dean's Green Ribbon Committee presented a summary of the final report to Mayor Dean at a meeting last week. The Committee has been working for the past 9 months to develop a plan to make Nashville the greenest city in the Southeast.

Public input, including 1,800 responses to an online survey and over 300 attendees at five public meetings, guided the committee on creating the 16 goals and 71 action recommendations.

The overall goal for transportation is to have two forms of transportation available to citizens, provide a percentage of funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure such as sidewalks and greenways, and provide educational classes for the public on bicycle safety.

Read the summary report here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bicycle Recycling Program Benefits Kids, Teaches Skills

From the Tennessean - Ms. Cheap, April 12, 2009

Wanted: used bicycles, any style, any size, any condition.

Oh, yeah. I love this literal ReCycling.

Here's the deal: A bike donation program has been organized by Oasis Center, Team Green and the ReCYCLE your Cycle initiative, with the new Halcyon Bike Shop leading the charge.
The idea is for Halcyon to conduct a series of bike repair workshops, where young people can learn how to work on bikes and actually earn a bike for themselves, according to Halcyon co-owner Elise Tyler.

"The (donated) bicycles are recycled, repaired and transformed into valuable vehicles for youth who are homeless or living in low-income areas,'' said Elise, who said the free workshops should crank up in late May at the new Oasis Center on Charlotte.

She says initially a group of about 20 young people (ages 11-21) from the Oasis neighborhood will serve as a test of the program — attending bike workshops three days a week through the summer, learning just about every aspect of repairing and maintaining bicycles as well as learning about bike safety, bike lanes, greenways and other aspects of the wonderful world of biking.

"After that we want to expand it into other neighborhoods. It's a very practical program," Elise said. "The kids (who will be the first workshop students) are so excited about it. It's really cool to see the energy. A lot of them are too young to drive, and even if they could drive they can't afford a car. This works on several practical levels — providing transportation and building skills and confidence.''

So if you have unwanted, unused bikes, just drop them off at Centennial Park's Earth Day festivities, Saturday at the Halcyon Bike Booth (there should be lots of signs.) They'll also take bike parts and accessories such as helmets, locks, air pumps, "just about anything bicycle related,'' says, Elise who noted that your donations are tax-deductible and promised that "the process will be quick and easy.''

"The bikes do not have to be in riding condition. Part of the program is that kids work on their bikes and fix them up, so it's fine if the bikes are not in riding condition,'' Elise said.

Halcyon, whose main business is to repair and sell used bikes, opened just before Christmas over on 12 South. Elise said she and her partner, Andrew Parker, "had wanted to do this (youth workshop) from the start — but it was just too much to do when we first opened the retail shop, so we put it off a few months. Then just as we were thinking about it again, Oasis contacted us about us doing a bike workshop. And we said, 'well, yeah, that's exactly what we'd like to do.' ''
Isn't it great when things just work out like that? I just love it.

Oh, and if you can't get your unwanted bikes to Centennial Park on Saturday, just take them to the Halcyon Bike Shop, at 1118 Halcyon Ave., whenever you can and tell them you want to donate them to the youth workshop.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Federal Policy - Complete Streets

Photo courtesy of Rickard Drdul


Complete Streets are streets that are designed for the safety and convenience of all transportation users, including bicyclists.

The Complete Streets Act of 2009 was introduced in both houses of Congress on Thursday, March 12. Senator Harkin (IA) sponsored S. 584 with Senator Carper (DE) as original cosponsor. In the House, Congresswoman Matsui (CA-5) sponsored H.R. 1433 with Representatives Tauscher (CA-10), Maloney (NY-14), and Wu (OR-1) as original cosponsors.

The Complete Streets Act of 2009 defines effective complete streets policies that are flexible enough to use in daily transportation planning practice. The introduction of these bills is a key step in ensuring safer, better-designed streets across the country. Organizations from the YMCA to the National Association of Realtors have lined up behind the measure, because they see the benefits complete streets will provide on issues ranging from the obesity epidemic to greenhouse gas reduction to providing inexpensive transportation alternatives in tough economic times.
Click here to learn more about Complete Streets.
Information provided by Smart Growth America.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Share the Road - Motorcycle and Bicycle Awareness Event

Sharing the Road applies to motorists who share the road and are observant of both motorcycles and bicycles.

The annual Share the Road event on May 2nd, sponsored by the Motorcycle Awareness Foundation of Tennessee (MAFT) and the Governor's Highway Safety Office, is the traditional kick-off of the motorcycle season in Middle Tennessee.

This year, the bicycling community will be participating. We'll have a bicycle rodeo for kids, a Bicycle Street Smarts class for adults, plus educational materials for everyone.
Please join us to a fun day of activities and education. May 2, 2009 from 10am-1pm at the Bumpus Harley Davidson dealership on Broad Street in Murfreesboro, TN.

Click here for the event flier. If you would like to learn more, please email

Motorcyclists and bicyclists together can work for safer roadways for everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey

The MPO Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey is still ongoing, however staff has compiled some preliminary results:

Almost 1,700 participants have filled out the survey

Most respondents live and work in Davidson County (Nashville)

39% live within a reasonable walking or bicycling distance from work (0-5 miles)

40% of households have students

25% bicycle to work at least once a month

49% walk to errands at least once a month

Lack of facilities, traffic, and driver behavior are the most common reasons for not walking or bicycling more often.

More facilities, connections between facilities and with other modes, and education were sited as the most important improvements that can be made for walking and bicycling.

With these improvements, the majority of respondents said they would be more likely to walk or bicycle to work, shop, eat out or go to the park.

Click here to view the summary of survey responses.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3 Feet Please - Bicycle Jersey

The MPO staff recently found a 3-feet campaign offering bright yellow jerseys saying 3-Feet Please. While not endorsing this particular jersey, we'd like to let our readers know that a jersey of this type exists.

Considering the recent bicyclist death in Chattanooga, please remember safely follow the rules of the road and wear bright colors so that you are visible to other motorists.

Find the jersey here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cyclist Killed On Tennessee Road

From WRCB in Chattanooga

A cyclist and bicycle shop owner, David Meek, was struck by a truck and killed on Friday March 6th on a local road in Chattanooga. Click link below to read the full story.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Meetings Draw Large Crowds

Last week the Nashville Area MPO held five public meetings in Davidson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson Counties to gather input on needs and suggestions for enhancing bicycling and walking in the Greater Nashville Region.

Over 200 participants attended the meetings and were given an overview of the Nashville Area MPO and the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Study before engaging in small breakout discussion groups.

The feedback from the participants is going directly into the development of the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian.

In addition, nearly 1,600 people have filled out the Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey to date. To take the survey, click here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Dedicated Funding for Mass Transit

Transit is an important part of any active transportation network. Transit enables walkers and bicyclists to extend transportation options by allowing them to combine walking or bicycling trips with transit trips.

As explained by Michael Skipper, Director of the Nashville Area MPO, dedicated funding is essential to the implementation and operation of a regional mass transit and is mandatory for federal funding assistance for major capital investments in new start projects.

The first step in that process is a request to the legislature to provide additional tools for local governments to work together as a region to dedicate funds for mass transit. That request has been filed as SB 1471 (Haynes) and HB 1263 (Sontany) and is available for your review at

The Nashville Area MPO, in partnership with the Nashville MTA, RTA, Franklin Transit Authority, and the Rover in Murfreesboro is currently working with business groups, local communities, and other regional organizations to develop a plan for transit which will be an integral part of a much larger multi-modal regional transportation plan.

Read more about the MPO's vision for mass transit in the greater Nashville region.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tennessean Reports on Sumner County Bike/Ped Meeting Tonight

Sumner County bicyclists, joggers and walkers will have the opportunity this evening to weigh in on a long-term plan geared toward mapping potential bike lanes and greenways through 2035.

The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization is holding several meetings in the Nashville area as part of its efforts to create a bicycle and pedestrian plan. Today's is at the Hendersonville Public Library, 140 Saundersville Road, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

A focus of the plan will be to examine how to expand bike lanes, greenways and sidewalks, connecting them together and with mass transit stops, according to a Planning Organization news release. The overall effort will be folded into the 2035 regional transportation plan, which estimates funding for projects and determines priorities.

The city of Hendersonville recently held a weeklong planning event, called a charrette, which addressed bicycle and pedestrian concerns among other issues.

That was a good first step toward "addressing bicycling needs in the community," said David Hardin, owner of Biker's Choice in Hendersonville.
Link to the Tennessean article here.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

News Channel 5 Interviews Team for Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Study

Leslie Meehan from the Nashville Area MPO and Bob Murphy from RPM Transportation were guests on News Channel 5 Morningline on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. Discussion included an overview of the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Study, and callers were able to ask questions related to bicycling and walking in the Greater Nashville Region.

View a 10-minute portion of the show here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First Night of Public Meetings a Huge Success

On Monday, February 23, 2009 the Nashville Area MPO staff and consultant team headed by RPM Transportation met with residents of Williamson and Rutherford Counties to discuss the MPO's Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.

Participants were given an overview of the planning process and provided input about how walking and bicycling impacts their lives, and how those modes could be enhanced.

Channel 4 covered the Williamson County meeting. View the video report here. (Once on the video page, click the local tab and the Video titled: Meetings Center On Bike, Walking Safety).

Monday, February 23, 2009

Franklin Health Fair - Bicycle and Pedestrian Booth

On Saturday, February 21, 2009 the Nashville Area MPO and RPM Transportation staff set up a booth at the Franklin Special School District Health Fair. Over 400 students, parents, teachers and community members came to fair to learn about healthy lifestyles.

Maps of the regional bicycle and pedestrian plan helped residents see where existing and planned facilities for walking and bicycling are located in local communities. Parents talked about challenges with going places like the park or a grocery store on a bicycle or walking, especially with small children.

Participants filled out the Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey and were given tire gauges to make sure that bicycle tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Bicycle Safety books, one for students and one for parents, were handed out as well.

Click here to take the Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Public Meetings on Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian Plan

The Nashville Area MPO is hosting five public meetings next week for the development of the Bicycle/Pedestrian Regional Long-Range Transportation Plan. Attendees will have an opportunity to learn about the planning effort and will be able to provide input about bicycle/pedestrian projects, strategies and educational efforts needed in the region.

Please share this information with others. We look forward to seeing you there!

Public Meeting Schedule
February 23rd, Rutherford County, Smyrna Town Centre, 5:30-7:30 pm
February 23rd, Williamson County, Franklin First United Methodist Church, 5:30-7:30 pm
February 24th, Davidson County, East Park Community Center, 5:30-7:30 pm
February 26th, Sumner County, Hendersonville Public Library, 5:30-7:30 pm
February 26th, Wilson County, Lebanon City Hall, 5:30-7:30 pm

More details about the Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian plan are available at

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tennessean Reports On MPO Bike/Ped Study

The Tennessean ran an article on Saturday, February 7, 2009 on the bicycle/pedestrian study being conducted by the Nashville Area MPO.

Click to read the article.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Daily Commuter Takes Train and Rides Bicycle

Rails & Trails: One Commuter Shares Her Multi-Modal Experience

Monday through Friday Sally Robertson rises at dawn to begin her daily commute into downtown Nashville. Sally’s commute is a multi-modal experience, a story set on rails and trails.

She rides her bike one and a half miles to the station in Mount Juliet where she boards the Music City Star. When the commuter train arrives at the Downtown Station, Sally straps her helmet back on, takes her bike off the train, rolls up her pant leg, and starts peddling down Demonbreun towards Music Row. From there, Sally bikes another seven miles to Nashville State Tech Community College where she is a librarian.

With gas prices at all time highs, Sally Robertson is one of many Nashville-area residents looking to alternative modes of transportation. In fact, the Music City Star has seen a 27 percent increase in ridership since May 2007; 700 to 800 passengers are now aboard each day. For Sally, the combination of commuter rail and bicycling makes the ride into work not only more affordable, but much more enjoyable.

“I do it for more than just the savings,” Robertson states. “I ride because it is fun, and is good for my health and the environment. The money I save is an added bonus. ”

Sally, age 52, has been getting to work through different means of public transportation since she moved here from Chicago. She and her bike have been riding the Music City Star since it first began service in 2006. Before using the train, she and her bike rode MTA buses. Her favorite mode of transportation, however, is her bicycle.

“Riding my bike to work gives me the opportunity to really experience Nashville,” Robertson claims. “Instead of staring at the car’s bumper in front of me, I’m seeing, smelling and breathing Nashville. I’m interacting with my city.”

“The last two miles of my ride are my favorite part,” Robertson explains. “Riding on the Richland Creek Greenway is very relaxing.”

Multi-modal commuting is working well for Sally and for many other people whose daily travel combines the Music City Star, bus, walking and bikes, of course. Sally is convinced that she will soon have more company on the rails and trails as more commuters recognize the convenience, savings and fun of traveling the multi-modal way.

From Star Tracks Newsletter, Courtesy of Varallo Public Relations

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bicycle Safety - 8 Minute Video

The full-length bicycle safety video is now available. Click below to view the video.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

TN Health Dept Hosts Bicycle Safety Poster Contest

Tennessee Department of Health
Traumatic Brain Injury Program
Bicycle Safety Poster Contest for grades K-8

The purpose of this contest is to decrease the incidence of traumatic brain injuries by promoting the use of bicycle helmets.

New Bicycle Safety Video for Nashville

Nashville has a new video on bicycle safety guidelines produced by the Renaissance Center in cooperation with Music City Moves and Active Living by Design. The video is being distributed on DVD to local bike clubs and schools. The eight-minute video covers bike maintenance, riding rules, and proper use of helmets and other safety equipment.

To request a copy of the video, email

Click here to view a shorter version of the video in a Public Service Message.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

11-Year Old's Dream Comes True of Owning a Bicycle

(from News Channel 5)


Like any father, Scott Monteiro simply wanted to make his son's dreams come true.
For years, money and a debilitating illness got in the way of 11-year-old Josh Monteiro's greatest wish. That is - until this week.

As NewsChannel 5 photojournalist Nathan Sharkey and reporter Jeff Tang show us, a few kind teachers and a group of bikers changed one boy's life forever. Scott Monteiro makes his living explaining things as a 7th grade social studies teacher at West Creek Middle School in Clarksville.

But Mr. Monteiro explains no map, no battle, no story of history better than he explains his son's love of bicycles. "It's a dream of his. It's something he's always wanted just like any kid since he was three, four years old.

A bike never quite fit into Josh Monteiro's life.
"He has an illness called Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2," Scott explains. "He has no use of his legs anymore from the waist down." His disease does not change the fact that he still wants the same things other boys his age want.

"You know, every time we go past the bikes he still looks at them. He doesn't' mention them but he still looks at them," Scott says.

Josh did not know, but a visit to his dad's school Wednesday had something to do with his dream. All he knew was that a surprised waited for him. While waiting, Josh didn't talk much - nor did he ask for much. Maybe it's because he already knows exactly what he wants.

"What would be the one thing that would be a wish come true?" he was asked.
"Having a bike," he replied. "I've been having that dream almost every night."

Josh had no idea it was coming, but at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, his one dream came true.
Everyone gathered around Josh as a surprise pulled into West Creek Middle School.
A large smile found its way onto his face when the bike was unveiled. Tears soaked his eyes as he gave his dad a big hug. His one wish came true.

Scott Monteiro makes his living explaining things, but there are some things that hardly need explaining at all. "That smile... I have never seen him smile as big as today. This is the happiest day of his life. Thank you... thank you... thank you," Scott told those who made his son's wish a reality.

There is no cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Many with Josh's condition do not live past the age of 20. His family says exercise can help improve his quality of life. They're hoping the new bike does just that.

Several of Scott's co-workers donated money to help purchase the specialized bike. The group "Bikers Who Care" covered the rest.

View the video.

Local Scout Troop Builds Greenway Connector in Mt. Juliet

Boy Scout Troop 150 in Mt. Juliet recently worked on earning merit badges for surveying as part of a greenway connector project. The troop is assisting Josh Tuttle in constructing a greenway connector for Tuttle's Eagle Scout project. The connector is between Old Mt. Juliet Road and New Mt. Juliet Road near the Mt. Juliet Church of Christ.

The greenway will cross Stoner Creek using an old bridge built in 1930.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bicycle Track Riding Now at Nashville Motor Speedway

The Harpeth Bicycle Club has signed a one-year lease with the Tennessee State Fairgrounds to allow recreational bicycling on the Motorsports race track. Separate areas will provide opportunities for beginner, intermediate and advanced riders to ride on the track.

For more information, visit the Harpeth Bicycle Club website.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bicycle and Pedestrian Survey

The Nashville Area MPO is conducting a survey to obtain a better understanding of the walking and bicycling needs in the greater Nashville Region. The survey asks questions about current walking and bicycling habits as well as improvements that could be made to make these modes more appealing, safe and enjoyable.

The MPO seeks to gather input not just from those who already walk and bicycle but also those who do not. These answers will help to assess what the region is already doing to address walking and bicycling needs and what improvements could be made to encourage more people to use these modes.

Click here to take the survey.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

City Paper Reports On Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator

Toks stands in front of his new office talking to Glen Wanner of Walk/Bike Nashville during the 2008 Great Commuter Race.

The City Paper reports on the appointment of Toks Omishakin as the Nashville Mayor's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.

Read the article.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nashville Bike/Ped Coordinator Moves to Mayor's Office

Work to include coordinating efforts of recently formed Bike/Ped Advisory Committee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean announced today he has appointed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the Mayor's Office. Toks Omishakin, currently the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner for the Metro Planning Department, is moving to the Mayor's Office.
The appointment follows an update to the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways, initiated by the mayor shortly after taking office in the fall of 2007. Dean also recently appointed a Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) to assist in the implementation of the updated sidewalks and bikeways plan and other efforts to make Nashville a more walkable and bikeable city.

"My goal is to transform Nashville into one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the country, and to do that will take consistent effort and coordination from my office," Dean said. "Toks brings to my office the right experience and expertise in this area. I look forward to what I know he will be able to help us accomplish."

Omishakin will work with various Metro and State departments on policy issues related to pedestrians and cyclists, including coordinating efforts of the BPAC. During his tenure with Metro Planning, Omishakin spent five years managing Music City Moves, a community partnership committed to community design that supports active lifestyles. He also worked on bicycle and pedestrian issues for Nashville's 14 planning communities, and on the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Sidewalks and Bikeways, which was originally completed in 2003.

Omishakin holds a master's degree in urban and regional planning from Jackson State University in Mississippi. He is a member of the American Planning Association (APA) and a long-time member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.
As an expert on street design and multi-modal transportation issues, Omishakin has frequently been called upon to present at national conferences, including the National APA Conference, International Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference and the American Public Transportation Association Conference.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Vote on Parking in Bicycle Lane Deferred

(not image of Douglas Avenue)

The Tennessean reports that a vote on the issue of parking vehicles in the bicycle lane on Douglas Avenue in Nashville has been deferred at the request of Council member Pam Murray. The issue will be heard at the February 9, 2009 meeting of the Metro Nashville Traffic and Parking Commission.

Read the article.

Friday, January 16, 2009

TN State Legislature Bill Proposes Bicycling Ban

TN State Legislature House of Reps. Bill HB0095 filed on 1/15/09 proposes a ban on bicycling on River Road from Charlotte Pike (Highway 70/State Route 24) to the Cheatam County line. If you would like to read the bill or contact your Legislator about the bill, click on the links below.

TN General Assembly Bill History

Find my Legislator and View District Maps

Thursday, January 15, 2009

To Park or Not To Park: That is the Question

This video article from the Tennessean highlights the problems created for area bicyclists when encountering parked cars in bicycle lanes. (Click here to view the video article.)

The Metro Code was changed in late 2008 to prohibit vehicle parking in a bicycle lane unless an exception is granted by the Traffic and Parking Commission. The Commission heard its first exception request on January 12, 2009 for Z' Chicken Shack in East Nashville to allow on-street parking in the bicycle lane in front of the business. The vote on the request is delayed until the February 9, 2009 Traffic and Parking Commission to give the community more time to comment.

You may email the secretary of the Traffic and Parking Commission, Diane Marshall at and request that your email be considered at the meeting if you can't make it in person.

View the original article in the Tennessean from January 12, 2009.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

2 Billion in Bicycle Projects Ready for Stimulus Package

America Bikes has put together a list of "shovel-ready" bicycle projects from all 50 states totaling about $2 Billion in infrastructure. The intent of the list is to demonstrate that infrastructure projects that are ready to be constructed should be considered for all modes of transportation.

Read the report.

Meet Earl Blumenauer

The NY Times has published an article on Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) from Oregon. Blumenauer is considered a long-time bicycle champion at the Federal level.

Read the article .

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pet Owner Faces Charges After Bicyclist Injured By Dogs

(not picture of actual rider)

By Amy HunterReporter / Bristol Herald CourierPublished: January 6, 2009
A Blountville, Tenn., woman has been charged with allowing two dogs to run loose after police said they ran into a bicyclist, who was seriously injured.
Barbara Pearce was cycling with a small group on Barger Hollow Road between 1-2 p.m. on Dec. 27 when two dogs struck the bike she was riding, said Sullivan County Sheriff’s Capt. Keith Elton.
Pearce was hospitalized at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tenn., with multiple injuries, including a broken collar bone, broken shoulder blade, bruised brain, seven broken ribs and a broken hand, Elton said. She was released Friday, according to a hospital spokesman.
The dog owner, who Elton would not identify until the arrest warrant has been served, faces felony charges of allowing the dogs to run loose; each carries a maximum sentence of one to three years in prison, he said.
Rick Heppert, an officer in the Kingsport Bicycle Association, said it’s extremely rare for charges to be filed in connection with crashes between dogs and bicycles, which he said are the most common danger to cyclists in the area.
“I’ve been at several scenes before where cyclists saw dogs take someone down and officers said they couldn’t issue charges because they didn’t see anything,” he said.Heppert said he does not know Pearce, but he has heard a great deal about the incident from the biking community.
“This [owner] had been warned before and the dog was still out there, the police said,” Heppert said. Heppert explained that new legislation was approved more than a year ago that changed the penalties for owners of loose dogs. Now, he said, any owner whose dog is loose can be fined $50, regardless of how the dog gets out, he said.
And if a loose dog causes any personal injury, Heppert explained, the new penalty is a $2,500 fine.

Cost/Benefit Website for Bicycle Facilities has created a Cost/Benefit tool to calculate how the benefits of bicycle infrastructure can be related to the cost of installing the infrastructure. The tool is described as being able to calculate generation of new bicyclists, economic benefits to a community and health benefits to users.

View the cost/benefit tool.

Monday, January 5, 2009

U.S. Bicycle Route Map

The United States is on a path to what could become the largest official bicycle route network in the world, thanks to the approval of a new plan by America’s leading authority on national route designations. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) has just approved a National Corridor Plan laying out the framework and guidelines for the development of this system.

"The plan -- under development over the last four years -- identifies corridors connecting America’s urban, rural, and suburban areas. The corridors cover well over 50,000 miles, which, if transformed into routes along roads and trails, would create the largest official bicycle route network in any country or on any continent. By comparison, the planned Euro-Velo network in Europe is projected to be 60,000 kilometers or 36,000 miles..." (from National Center for Bicycling and Walking)

View the map and learn more about the planning process.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Resolution - Six Reasons Why You Should Walk

Six Reasons Why You Should Walk

1. It's easy. You already know how.

2. It's safe. Walking is low impact yet can burn as many calories as running.

3. It's cheap. You just need a good pair of walking shoes.

4. It helps manage weight. Walking burns calories and may reduce appetite.

5. It's weight bearing. Walking helps build bone mass, important for fighting osteoporosis.

6. It's a lifesaver. Walking is good for the heart - it lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer.

Go for a walk. You'll be glad you did!