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I’ve never seen anything like the current experience with Covid-19, even after 9/11. It’s unprecedented since none of us were around for the flu pandemic of 1918 when millions died. That should be a lesson for our short and long term actions.
This bike advocate sees more people out biking and walking in Nashville than I can remember. Families are navigating our mediocre infrastructure many for the first time. I see people riding bikes that obviously spent some time in the garage. Some people are bemoaning the crowding on our greenways - and it’s definitely a mixed blessing - but the Mayor encouraged biking and walking in his stay at home order so we’re following orders.
Many cities, such as Oakland CA, Minneapolis, MN, and Boston, MA are opening streets to walkers and bike riders. Where is the leadership in Nashville promoting neighborhood-based open streets as a way to ease congestion on overcrowded greenways, and also as a way to address the lack of sidewalk infrastructure in many neighborhoods? Let’s hope they’ll follow the lead of these other cities. I hear it’s being discussed in the courthouse.
While sitting at home (except when I ride my bike to the grocery store or the still open park) I am stumped about how to capture the moment to promote cycling. I can’t organize a group ride or communicate with the new cyclists out there. Bike Month in May is canceled, but biking isn’t.
Now would be a great time to advocate for increased infrastructure but the city budget will be devastated by the depression. The Mayor plans to raise property taxes, which we should support, but that will not even fill the holes left by the economic collapse much less allow for new infrastructure. I’ve already heard talk of furloughs for city workers.
Capital spending, such as sidewalks and bikeways, was already set for cuts under the Cooper administration. For what’s it worth paving for car streets was also budgeted for a cut. Even that may now disappear but we’ll know more soon as the Metro Council and the public study the Mayor’s budget.
I think the best thing we can all do is ride our bikes in a safe and healthy manner. Wave at all the new cyclists and give them a thumbs up. Some people are continuing the good fight.
Check out K.J. Garner at Bike Fun. She also has a list of open bike shops in Nashville.
People for Bikes, an industry advocacy group, has some guidelines for safe cycling. Bicycling Magazine also has some tips and the Guardian Newspaper also makes some great points about continuing to ride.
I hear that Walk Bike Nashville continues their work.
Let’s the make the best of the crisis and stay out of our cars.
Email me with your thoughts.