Metro puts pedal to the metal for more bike routes

Sunday, July 18, 2010 at 10:45pm
Toks-Omishakin.jpg
Toks Omishakin

Toks Omishakin, who lives with his family in a sidewalk-less neighborhood in Antioch, fastens his bike to his car and drives a few miles down the road when he wants to reach the nearest bike trail.

“The ‘bike-path czar’ shouldn’t be driving to Mill Creek to get some recreation time,” Omishakin said. “I’d love to be able to commute to the store.”

It’s been 18 months since Mayor Karl Dean tapped Omishakin, 33, to oversee the city’s bicycle and pedestrian activity, a new position carved out of the mayor’s office. The goal? “Transform Nashville into one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the country,” Dean said at the time.

The fact that Omishakin’s house is so far away from any sidewalks or bikeways suggests Nashville has a ways to go to reach the mayor’s vision. So it’s surprising when the former Metro Planning Department staffer, who manned a similar job there, says Nashville compares favorably in terms of “bike-ability”with other cities of its size. Still, places like Madison, Wis., and Portland, Ore. — two cradles of bike-friendly living — seem like different worlds compared with vehicle-dominated Nashville.

Dean, who places his bike-and-pedestrian initiatives under his oft-trumpeted “quality of life” umbrella, said there’s an enormous level of “pent-up demand” for Nashville to embrace a more bikeable, walkable lifestyle. The issue, he said, is doubly important here, considering Nashville consistently sits near the top of lists that rank the nation’s unhealthiest cities.

“There are clearly cities that have done a lot more, and there are probably many more cities that have done a lot less,” Dean said. “I’m not really worried about comparisons, but just making sure we’re moving forward in a thoughtful way, but in an aggressive way.”

So far, Nashville’s bikeway-pedestrian movement is incomplete, with actions geared mostly toward facilitating a “mindset change” often cited by Omishakin. But soon some more pointed initiatives will be in place, including a new bike-share program, which even avid cyclists are unsure if Nashville is ready for.

Complete streets?

Dean made his first move on the bike-pedestrian front shortly after his inauguration when he appointed a new Bicycle and Pedestrian Activity Committee, an 18-member body that meets six times a year to update the city’s sidewalks and bikeways plan, among other things. One of the first recommendations the group made was to install a full-time bicycle and pedestrian coordinator inside the mayor’s office. Dean appointed Omishakin, who has since been crowned the office’s “health czar” of sorts, as well.

Working in conjunction with the committee, Omishakin has set some long-term goals: Eventually, every Nashvillian should live no more than one mile from a sidewalk, two miles from a bikeway and four miles from a greenway. Over the next five years, he’d also like to see Nashville add another 50 miles of both bike lanes and sidewalks, and 20 to 25 miles of greenway paths.

But sheer numbers aren’t his top objective.

“I wouldn’t say that numbers are necessarily going to be what says we’ve improved from a walking, biking, healthy-living standpoint,” Omishakin said. “I think it’s going to be a cultural mindset change, and what aids that is the fact that we’re building and supporting that lifestyle more.”

To that end, Omishakin said two recent projects, ostensibly minor, are poised to make major headway.

A few weeks ago, Metro workers installed the first of what will eventually be 12 artist-designed bike racks across downtown and midtown. The gigantic tomatoes and cornstalks near the Nashville Farmers’ Market and the large microphone on Roundabout Plaza — those, believe it or not, are bike racks.

Months before, the city implemented a new green bike-lane design on two Nashville streets — Davidson Road, which leads into Shelby Park, and Rosa Parks Boulevard in north Nashville. The design, which according to Omishakin is the first of its kind in the nation, delineates separate bike lanes with green, rubber material, complete with bicycle seals and arrows. Next year, the green lanes are to be placed on stretches of Charlotte Pike and Ed Temple Boulevard when both are repaved. Funding comes from a combination of local and state dollars.

“Those are two projects there that, in a sense, are facilities that people can use, so it’s actually improving infrastructure for people to bike,” Omishakin said. “But at the same time, they serve as educational pieces, community awareness tools. People are going to see the microphone, and say, ‘Maybe I should think about biking or walking.’ ”

The next initiative on the table, Nashville’s new bike-share pilot program, has already generated plenty of buzz. Under the plan, originally scheduled to start in the spring but postponed because of the flood, people will be able to borrow bikes at two monitored locations — Music City Star’s riverfront station and Shelby Bottoms — before riding and returning them that day.

Participants are required to show their driver’s license to pick up one of the 30 single-speed bikes, a helmet and a lock. Next spring, the program is poised to dramatically expand, with 10 solar-powered, unmonitored parking stations set to dot various locations across county. There, riders will swipe cards to lock and unlock the bikes themselves.

Omishakin, who believes there’s a need for a bike-share program, said he’s optimistic the program will succeed, adding it has “a lot of potential” in Nashville. Others aren’t so sure.

Scott DeShon, co-owner of Eastside Cycles, repaired the actual bikes that will be a part of the pilot program after they were damaged in May’s flood. Nonetheless, he has doubts.

“Most people who are going to commute or would commute already own a bike or will buy a bike, a rack or whatever they need,” DeShon said. “Now, as far as a bike-share program where you just want to get from one part of downtown to another, that might leave a little area for a bike-share program to expand.”

Advancements toward increasing bike ridership in Nashville extend beyond that program. In theory, cyclists will soon be able to ride from one side of the county to the other — from Percy Priest Lake to Warner Park — by way of bike lanes or trails via the “Music City Bikeway.” All that’s missing is one more connection in the Richland Creek Greenway, slated for construction next year through a federal stimulus grant.

From a policy standpoint, Omishakin said, there’s also a new shift toward what planners call a “complete streets” policy, whereby designs of new streets take into account accessibility to bikers and other pedestrians, not just vehicular traffic. The new approach was used when overhauling downtown Deaderick Street, with the new Korean War Veterans Boulevard extension and the proposed 28th Avenue connector up next.

“This is not just office rhetoric, or some kind of PR campaign,” Omishakin said. “This is serious to [Dean].”

43 Comments on this post:

By: idgaf on 7/19/10 at 5:47

To much money is being spent on to few of the people.

In the years that we have had a bike lane on Lebanon rd I have seen exactly ONE rider in the lane and I am on it several times a day.

By: Kosh III on 7/19/10 at 7:30

The bike-share program has been a great success in most places tried. In Paris they have bikes available every thousand feet or so and have thousands of bikes available.
Still, as id shows, it mostly about changing the mind-set of people.

By: budlight on 7/19/10 at 7:48

Yeah, I can just see it now. Mount my bike at 5 a.m. to get to down town nashville; head down m'bor road, then hit bell road; go to nolansville rd and peddle right by the fairgrounds up to music row. All this only takiing 3.5 hours; i will arrive stinky and sweaty around 9 a.m. --just in time to be transported to a hospital for exhaustion. And that's in summer. What the hell does the major and bike czar expect me to do in winter and spring showers?

Bike Czar?

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 9:11

just came back from a trip overseas. In Copenhagen, there were more bikers than automobiles. Every road has a bike lane on both sides AND sidewalks. Same thing in the other two cities we visited Stockholm and Oslo. Guess what, the natives were also very healthy reducing the cost of their healthcare, etc. We walked to every meal and back as well as to most of the major sites and areas within the City, ate like crazy and actually lost a couple of pounds while I was gone. We could learn some valuable lessons from other countries.

By: Kosh III on 7/19/10 at 9:20

But...but....but......Sweden and Norway are supposedly backwards primitive SOCIALIST countries.

By: JeffF on 7/19/10 at 9:22

Imagine how many more bike racks could have been bought if they didn't make them into art projects costing 10-50 times more.

Are these the same bike racks that were on TV couple of weeks ago? the ones that were not capable of holding bike locks?

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 9:29

Those are in an art program, which is decidedly different from the bike program. Unless of course you just want to be negative and obstinate.

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 9:30

I hear that the City is going to do some major renovations to Centennial Park as well making it more pedestrian friendly. Looks like we actually have some real improvements for the entire City from this administration...

By: TheHunter on 7/19/10 at 10:21

What the hell, this city needs a real transportation upgrade ... how about starting with a Rail line from downtown Nashville to Murfreesboro & beyond ? ... or how about one up to Clarksville ? ... a friggin' bike czar, you've got to be kidding me ... this city is bass ackwards

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 10:37

Mayor Dean is heading up a committee of local Mayors that are working on that very issue. It has been in the news lately but you would have to google it to get the updates and info.

By: budlight on 7/19/10 at 10:53

Nashville, TN, population 596,462, is located in Tennessee's Davidson county,

The population of Norway currently stands at approximately 4.6 million (2005), with some 75% of the population residing in urban areas and 25% in rural areas.
Major centres of population include the capital Oslo (510,000), Bergen (230,000), Trondheim (151,000), Stavanger (109,000), Kristiansand (74,000), Fredrikstad (69,000), Tromsø (60,000) and Drammen (56,000).
Over the past decade, counties in northern Norway have experienced a zero to negative growth rate, while the southern counties and areas surrounding Oslo have had up to 13 per cent population growth.

We need public transportation in our surburban cities that provide rider friendly schedules, fares, and drivers. There are many who would take a bus if they didn't have to stand in a ditch in the rain, get multiple transfers and wait long hours to catch a bus.

Czar? Sounds like Russian origin to me.

By: budlight on 7/19/10 at 10:54

Kosh III on 7/19/10 at 9:20
But...but....but......Sweden and Norway are supposedly backwards primitive SOCIALIST countries.

But they are up to date on sexual activity and prostitution, aren't they? Shops with women in windows? Sounds real progressive to me. NOT!

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 11:12

That would be Amsterdam Holland you idiot......

By: Kosh III on 7/19/10 at 11:24

"Czar? Sounds like Russian origin to me."

Tsar is a Russian word derived from the Latin Caesar.

By: XECBear on 7/19/10 at 12:03

I feel Nashville is spending TOO much money on projects that benefit too few people. If bicyclers want to use the streets let them pay for the lanes, by having them buy abicycle license. When the city collects enough money from this fee to pay for the lanes for only bikes, then they will know there are enough people needing them to put money toward such a project. Until then put our money toward fixing the roads the majority are paying to use; for cars as roads were intended.
And please stop using the comment pages for spelling & history lessons. As for all those who think other countries are so much better, next time you go there ,stay for awhile & you will see the truth as oppose to what the tourist are suppose to see. Think about it, if other countries were so great they would not be flocking here in droves.
Back to subject here: if bicyclers want to use the public streets, let them pay, just as the rest of us must do when we get our Driver's license & when we register our vehicles.

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 7/19/10 at 12:24

I think we start taking up a collection for producer2 and kosh lll to move to Europe. Maybe they can pedal their on Dean's soon to be announced Atlantic bridge.

By: -dan on 7/19/10 at 12:39

To those who say cyclists need to buy a license, how much should it cost a child that wants to ride for fun or to school? Also, as far as keeping roads in good shape, nature does more damage to pavement that a bicycle can, and large automobiles are the worse than nature. I will be happy to register my bicycle for riding on the streets, so long as when you register your car, you pay per pound of weight, since you want it to be fair for everyone. It is sad that people are so ignorant to the fact that everyone pays taxes to take care of the roads, not just people driving.

If you didn't know, there is a direct correlation between more people walking and bicycling in neighborhoods and a decrease in crime, which also creates an increase in property value. When you get angry at some one riding a bicycle in your neighborhood, they are helping make your house worth more money.

As far as making Nashville more bicycle friendly, all the greenways and bike lanes in the world does nothing when there are no bicycle racks to safely lock up a bicycle when you get to your destination. It's the same a building a giant mall with no parking lots. It just doesn't work.

By: JohnGalt on 7/19/10 at 1:10

Things will go much more smoothly when bicyclists who currently flagrantly ignore traffic laws recognize that a 6,000 pound automobile goes over a 200 pound bicycle and rider one time with nothing left over.

By: TakePrideInNash on 7/19/10 at 1:12

Also those of you who ride your bikes on the streets, the big red sign at some intersections says "STOP"! It does not say slow down! Obey the traffic laws or stay in your driveway!

By: Kosh III on 7/19/10 at 1:31

if other countries were so great they would not be flocking here in droves.

Yes, let's just deport those hordes of desperate Swedes and Danes that are coming here and stealing American jobs and yakking in public in Viking instead of English.

-------------------

TPN
Of course car and truck drivers NEVER roll thru a stop sign.

By: house_of_pain on 7/19/10 at 2:18

Kosh, stop signs, like speed limit signs, are merely a suggestion...

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 2:21

Some of you are comical.....daily.....and sometimes embarrassing. You know who you are.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 7/19/10 at 3:22

@budlight:
Some of us live closer to where we work so we have a choice of driving or walking or riding a bike or taking transit. The more we accommodate all road users the more freedom of choice we will have. Those of us with this mindset aren't crazed socialists who hate cars; we just want everyone to have freedom from their car.

-MythOfTheNobleSavage

By: budlight on 7/19/10 at 4:09

producer2 on 7/19/10 at 11:12
That would be Amsterdam Holland you idiot......

Producer you gave away your political party. Only democrats call people they don't know names. You just can't be nice, it's not in your genes (or jeansS).

Myth, "freedom from their car". You have the freedom to not own a car; it is not mandatory. When I lived in D.C. (1970's) I only owned a bike; walked to work; walked to grocery store; walked everywhere; rode my bike for exercise; rented a car once a month for road trips. So, I was GREEN before it was a buzz word. What does "freedom" from their car mean? No one is mandated to buy a car.

BUT if one lives in M'boro or the burbs such as Hendersonville or Mt. Juliet, it is almost impossible to get around without a car. A bike CZAR can't help fix that problem.

Regarding STOP signs; they are not suggestions; they are the law. What about those bike riders who drive the wrong way on a sidewalk? Aree they idiots or what?

By: budlight on 7/19/10 at 4:10

Producer, you are really D7. You sound just like him.

I made a mistake; s/h/b Amsterdam.

By: producer2 on 7/19/10 at 4:19

budlight,
Comments like this one:
"Producer you gave away your political party. Only democrats call people they don't know names. You just can't be nice, it's not in your genes (or jeansS)."

Are just one more reason to call your thought process into question.

By: idgaf on 7/19/10 at 4:43

This city as well as most American cities are not set up to make biking practical.

Look around your neighborhoods and just see what is available within biking distance. Not very much in most neighborhoods and Americans are not going to be restricted to them.

We are and always have been a mobile society. How many "events" do you think people would attend downtown if they had to bike? To pour millions into a fantasy of what others have to have is rediculous.

There is a reason they have what they have and most Americans would not change places with them. Notice the libs with the fantasies have the abilities financially to travel there to observe how they have to live by necessity not by choice.

How many wackos do you know that live near any county line and bike downtown to work? How many can jump on a bike (or walk) and go get a loaf of bread or milk you need?

We are us and they are they and we shouldn't try to emulate them. Look at the financial hole we are in trying to do so.

By: idgaf on 7/19/10 at 4:46

How many would let/want their children to walk or bike to school?

By: judyboodo@yahoo.com on 7/19/10 at 5:33

In the last month or so I watched the History Channel's "America the Story of Us" in one segment there was a oriental man, a new immigrant, who said that his first wish was to become a citizen and his second was to buy a car and travel this land. The automobile from the time Henry Ford made it available to the common man has been the catalyst that allowed this land to expand from the somewhat narrow corridors of the railroads unto the vast areas around the rest of the country. Hardly any other invention has changed modern life for the better more than the automobile.Other country's older european country's never devolped this type of freedom until after the second world war. It's irritating to listen to people from large cities, young bicycle riders (in their cute spandex pants) and progressives everywhere deriding the automobile. Gas and road taxes built and maintain the roadways, they were not built for bicycles, walking or pushing your stroller. If you want to use them then pay to play, ante up for license plates, road tax stickers and obeying the rules of the road, all of them. Un-click those fancy shoe clips at stoplights and stop signs. Don't ask for and extra 3 feet of space, man up and get as close as other cars do, there's only so much room and your only entitled to a small amount. Don't ask for any special privileges. Not one percent of you riders actually need to ride your bike to work, most all of you do so for recreation. If you want to ride with the big boys come on out and play on the level field.

By: Myth_of_the_Nob... on 7/19/10 at 7:18

@ budlight and judy:

If you like history you shoud Read Fighting Traffic by Peter Norton. Streets existed for thousands of years before the automobile and have always been a place for many different user groups. Eighty years ago you would would have probably been on the other side of the argument...defending the status quo.

"Before the advent of the automobile, users of city streets were diverse and included children at play and pedestrians at large. By 1930, most streets were primarily motor thoroughfares where children did not belong and where pedestrians were condemned as "jaywalkers." In Fighting Traffic, Peter Norton argues that to accommodate automobiles, the American city required not only a physical change but also a social one: before the city could be reconstructed for the sake of motorists, its streets had to be socially reconstructed as places where motorists belonged. It was not an evolution, he writes, but a bloody and sometimes violent revolution.

Norton describes how street users struggled to define and redefine what streets were for. He examines developments in the crucial transitional years from the 1910s to the 1930s, uncovering a broad anti-automobile campaign that reviled motorists as "road hogs" or "speed demons" and cars as "juggernauts" or "death cars." He considers the perspectives of all users—pedestrians, police (who had to become "traffic cops"), street railways, downtown businesses, traffic engineers (who often saw cars as the problem, not the solution), and automobile promoters. He finds that pedestrians and parents campaigned in moral terms, fighting for "justice." Cities and downtown businesses tried to regulate traffic in the name of "efficiency." Automotive interest groups, meanwhile, legitimized their claim to the streets by invoking "freedom"—a rhetorical stance of particular power in the United States."

-MythOfTheNobleSavage

By: deninnash on 7/19/10 at 7:21

Well this is great, even Toks would like to see more sidewalks in Nashville. Would somebody please tell me what that actual plan is. I don't see any sidewalks being built! Toks, your goals are sidewalks within 1 mile of every house? How pathetic.

By: kgbean on 7/20/10 at 1:29

Better walking and biking facilities benefit us all, not just for the long list of benefits including health/exercise (TN is 2nd fattest), environmental, and economic because more bicycles and peds is less impact on roads.

How many of you know most of your neighbors? If you walked, biked or rode the bus, you probably would. My neighbors leave their garage in their cars, check their mail in their cars. I don't know half of them, and my neighborhood is very hard to walk/bike in.

Many Tennesseans don't own a car. Many many more really can't afford to operate one properly, but they're forced to for lack of proper alternative transportation.

Walking and biking are great compliments to mass transit. Most transit advocates are big walk/bike advocates because they know buses won't drop you off at the front door of where you need to go. How do you get to the bus stop?

All Nasvhillians should get back out and rediscover walking and bicycling. It really is enjoyable when it becomes a habit. You might be reminded of why you enjoyed it when you were a kid.

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 2:23

I wonder what the average weight of the naysayer commenting here is? This Bike thing is awesome! I lived in Seattle and their pedestrian and bike laws must be the most advanced in the nation. Washington Automobile operating laws have become so restrictive that people find it a lot less hassle to just walk or ride a bike. Poke your cars' nose into a cross walk while at a light in Seattle, and you get a ticket. I see people here turn right cutting off pedestrians that have a walk sign and the right of way! I watched one woman jerk here baby stroller out of the way of a turning car when she was cleared to walk! Cops in Seattle would have that driver spreed eagled on the ground!
We need to give bikers and pedestrians more road rights. We need bikers to follow the same rules of the road as autos and allow bikes "in traffic" occupying the same lanes as autos rather than build "bike specific" lanes; at least in 45 MPH or less zones. In Seattle, bikes and cars use the same lanes, like our cops do here.

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 2:33

So many commenting here want bike riders to foot a larger piece of the road tax...that defeats the pupose...WE WANT YOU DRIVERS TO STOP BURNING FOSSIL FUELS!!!. If you want to drive your fat butt around, you should have to pay for it thru the nose... you are like cigarette smokers; noone really wants you around anymore...

By: dangerlover on 7/20/10 at 2:48

Well put RickTNRebel. Cities in this country were once planned and managed with a commonsense approach...consideration of all modes of transport and the use of centralized mass transporation. Then, several oil, car, and gas companies banded together in the 1920's to buy all the light rails and shut them down, transforming our cities into sprawling webs of roads and pollution, and turning us all into fat lazy a$$holes who drive EVERYWHERE. (The first drive through didn't appear until the 1930's.)

The future will be very different, and folks like you who ride bikes and walk are the first of the next generation of city dwellers. I recently transitioned to a scooter that gets 110 mpg, so I'm not quite there yet, but trying.

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 3:21

By and large, our streets and neighborhoods would be safer for our children to walk and play in if more people were out walking or riding bikes...everyone has a cell phone these days.
During the first days after the flood, metro bus fares were dropped and rides were free. It amazed me how many people rode the bus during that period and it was fun! People were actually talking to each other!
The bicycle police downtown; you can actually say good morning to an officer...that's kinda' cool to be able to do.
When I lived in Seattle (I'm a Nashville native who worked up there several years), my wife, the kids and I often took walks after dinner in our capitol hill neighborhood. A lot of folks did that. Curios as it may sound, people began to be outside during this time of day. They also took a lot of pride in the way their gardens and homes looked because they knew people would be walking or biking by. Our intersections there had traffic islands right in the middle to discourage people from speeding and/or driving these residential streets. At each intersection, you had to negotiate a vehicle around these islands. These kind of things make driving a hassle and the 3 block walk to the Safeway store a lot more practicle and enjoyable!
We need to make driving short distances extremely costly. If we do that, more people will walk, bike or ride Metro. We need to make parking a bigger hassle for the same reason. Seattle transit provided free "park and Ride" pickup and drop offs for major events including Seahawk and Mariner games. You drove to a suburban location and rode a bus to town and back... right to the front door! (the events paid part of the tab for this service) something else to think about as an option in case we want to develop some of this prime real estate downtown that is being wasted as "parking lots".

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 4:09

Try visualizing this: I lived across Puget sound from my workplace at Boeing for the last few years I was up there. To drive around across the narrows bridge was 120 miles round trip. I did that sometimes, as a last resort or for unusual circumstances and I hated it each time, but this was my regular routine: I'd get in the car, drive 1 mile to the southworth ferry terminal where I parked the car (all day) at no charge. I waited on the dock outside, or inside if it was raining (it rained a lot!). The "foot" ferry would pull in and myself and the other "regulars" whom I got to know well, would go aboard and have coffee or maybe breakfast or just snooze for the 45 minute ride to the Fauntleroy terminal. I'd get off and get on the waiting bus that took me to the front door of my plant (If you know anything about Boeing, you know if you drive to work, you walk at least 1/4 mile from and to your car in the parking lot, raining or not!). after my shift, I'd get back on a waiting bus, back to the Fauntleroy terminal where, once again I'd meet more regulars and we would ride back across the sound outside on the decks, in the ferry lounge having a drink, or snoozing.
This ferry/ bus public transportation was paid for by my employer...My work schedule took my transportation into consideration; overtime wasn't "sprung" on those opting for public transportation. Each month, I picked up a monthly unlimited rides bus pass and a monthly unlimited rides ferry pass. Some days I rode my bike the one mile to the SW terminal and it went on the ferry and bus with me if I wanted to hang around Seattle for awhile after work.
It don't get no better than taking a boat to work!
Which brings me to the subject of Nashville River Taxis; why don't we have those already? Cheaper than building trains

By: dangerlover on 7/20/10 at 4:41

Seattle=world class city. Nashville's not there yet. Boating to work sounds awesome. Not sure if the cumberland has enough exposure to the necessary real estate to do water taxis but that would be cool...

I love reading the morons on here who are actually opposed to a more walkable city. (Too much money spent on too few people!) I wonder how often these idiots go to a library and if they know how much money is spent on the library system. One of my buddies at work bikes in sometimes and he invariably gets yelled at by some stupid redneck telling him to get off "his" road.

I agree that bikers need to follow to rules of the road, but what most people don't understand is that coming to a complete stop at a stop sign requires a lot of energy to be used accelerating from the stop sign. (A car takes exponentially more, but that energy is in the form of hydrocarbons.) For that reason, I have no problem with bikers "coasting" through them, even if it is illegal.

Gas should be at least $6/gallon in this country, and most politicians know it, but lack the moral or political will to make it so.

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 5:20

Dangerlover: Scooters are great! the new electrics now out-perform their gas counterparts. The new breed of electric and electric assist bikes are even more awesome! I don't ride my bicycle here much because the "gas junkies" aren't used to being in traffic with bikes and the laws aren't protective. You hit a bike in Seattle with a car and you pay, pay, pay and then you pay some more...this doesn't mean much to a dead two wheeler, but it makes drivers very aware of what's happening around them because they know it's their a** if they hit a bike rider, no matter who's at fault! Japan has similar laws that apply to first year auto drivers who's cars are clearly marked...hit one and it's your fault, period.
My neighbor just bought a new electric bike with a 45 mile range on a single charge, more than enough to meet nomal routines. We have a new car leasing program downtown that more folks need to check out. We use it when we need to make trips to pickup a lot of things.
I know metro has made strides and will continue to do so. But the Busses are not "shopper friendly" If you have to carry bags on the bus, it becomes a hassle. Same thing with baby strollers and carriers; no place to put those things other than the isles, which isn't safe for anyone. A trip to the mall to shop is a bad experience when you're riding the bus.

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 5:45

Dangerlover: I disagree on allowing bikers to coast thru stops. As a biker, I know that can create a sub-concious danger of habitually running stopsigns/lights. In seattle, rules of the road apply to all equally and I like that idea better until we(Nashvillians) all get used to being on the road with others. My helmet has mirrors and I have mirrors, signals and lights on my bike and I always use hand signals. I don't always fly an orange pennant, but I think it's a good idea around Nashville to do so, even on scooters above 50cc. I think reflectors are a must. I don't see a lot of bike riders on the night roads, but it's common in Seattle. You can be ticketed for not having proper lighting or failing an equipment safety check, which includes operating lights.
The naysayers here must be forgetting how rapidly the worlds population is expanding. I too miss those open road, 80 mile an hour, 25 cent a gallon drives coast to coast and never seeing another car...

By: RickTNRebel on 7/20/10 at 6:09

another thing: The drivers handbook of Washington state includes a very large section (which is included on the test!) on sharing the road with bike riders. It also includes extensive information on pedestrian rights. This is an area I think we in Tennessee lag behind in; driver training. As the article says, we have to work on changing attitudes also, and there is a lot of local focus in that area. This needs to happen at the state level, too.

By: Kosh III on 7/21/10 at 11:26

'Not sure if the cumberland has enough exposure to the necessary real estate to do water taxis but that would be cool..."'

Water taxis used to travel from Opryland to downtown. I don't know why they stopped. I've heard that they were stopped because they caused too much erosion to the shore; or that Opryland didn't want their captive market to dine or shop somewhere besides Opryland. Who knows?

By: 1kenthomas on 7/6/11 at 9:08

See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/27/science/earth/27traffic.html

To all the skeptics and naysayers (welcome to Nashville-- if we didn't have ignorance, we wouldn't have any population at all)--

One car commuter uses 4000 cubic feet of urban space per day, while one bike (or tram) commuter uses 120 feet. It's the car users who haven't paid for their resources -- imagine, a world in which the movement of individuals was the priority for designing the city, and one in which we weren't stupid enough to carry 2 tons of metal and steel around in order to move 150lbs of human!

No-- not in Nashville. We're doomed to be forever backwards.