Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Advocacy Update

I just received this note in my inbox from Walk/Bike Nashville. If you feel strongly about this, please email your thoughts to the address at the bottom on this article.

Advocacy Update
Rosa Parks Boulevard Bike Lanes

In July, one of our alert board members noticed a repaving project beginning on Rosa Parks Boulevard through Germantown between Jefferson Street and I-65. Such repaving projects are important events to us at Walk/Bike Nashville, because many times bike lane striping only takes place when roads are resurfaced. (Note in this photo how there is room to accommodate a bike lane, but not on-street parking and a bike lane. The temporary shoulder stripe is already in the process of being removed.)

As it turns out, the road was repaved and temporarily striped shortly after our board member noticed the milling underway (milling is when road crews grind down the surface before repaving). So on July 19, 2008, we met with Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) representatives (they are responsible for maintaining this section, as it is state highway 41-A), Metro Planning and Metro Public Works. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the lack of bike lanes and the opportunity to add them.

The Metro Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways (SPSB) (see document here) recommends bike lanes along this stretch of Rosa Parks Boulevard, which runs in front of Werthan Mills, a high-density condominium development. Walk/Bike Nashville expressed our concerns about the missed opportunity to follow the SPSB. All the agencies at the meetings came to an agreement that Metro Public Works and Metro Planning would develop a striping plan to create bike lanes and deliver it to TDOT for implementation.

It was also agreed in this meeting that a process would be developed in order to facilitate communications between the parties so future striping opportunities could be addressed in a more proactive manner. TDOT, Metro Public Works and Metro Planning all agreed that the Pedestrian and Bikeways Coordinator with the Metro Nashville Planning Department would be the contact between Metro government and TDOT.

It was quite a surprise to Walk/Bike Nashville when this plan was unilaterally changed by Metro Public Works without any communication or explanation. TDOT was instructed, by Metro Public Works, to revert to the original striping plan, which excluded bike lanes. TDOT was also instructed by Metro Public Works that the Metro's Pedestrian/Bicycle Planner would not serve as the contact between agencies.

We don't believe the public's best interest was served by this change of direction and disregard of the Metro Strategic Plan for Sidewalks & Bikeways. We're pushing to ensure future communication among the involved agencies works toward our goal of planning and implementing safer roads for all modes of transportation.

Let us know your thoughts on this and we'll forward them to the appropriate public officials. Email to

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