Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 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.
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.
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 to Worship Day
- Walk Your Neighborhood Day
- Walk to Work Day
- Walk to School Day
- Walk for Active Aging
- Nashville On the Move Day
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Friday, August 7, 2009
Regional, local plans encourage bike paths and greenways
By Mitchell Kline • THE TENNESSEAN • August 4, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
- 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
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
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.
"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.''
Isn't it great when things just work out like that? I just love it.
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
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 http://www.capitol.tn.gov/.
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.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
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.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
View a 10-minute portion of the show here.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Please share this information with others. We look forward to seeing you there!
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 www.nashvillempo.org/bikeped.html.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
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.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
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.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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.
"Having a bike," he replied. "I've been having that dream almost every night."
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.
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.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Friday, January 23, 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Work to include coordinating efforts of recently formed Bike/Ped Advisory Committee
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
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 General Assembly Bill History
Find my Legislator and View District Maps
Thursday, January 15, 2009
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 email@example.com 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
Thursday, January 8, 2009
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.