Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bicycle Program Basics

I get the question a lot "Who are you with? The City, the County, or the State?" The short answer is "None of the above." Here's the long answer:

The Bicycle Program is housed within the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (http://www.knoxtrans.org/) -- let's say TPO -- which is responsible for long-range, multimodal (hence the bicycle and Smart Trips programs) transportation planning for the Knoxville urbanized area, PLUS (this is where it gets complicated) the air quality non-attainment area. It boils down to us doing planning for Knox, Blount, Sevier, Loudon, Jefferson, and Anderson counties (there's a bit of Roane and Cocke in there, but small portions without much population). Appointed and elected officials serve on the TPO Technical Committee and Executive Board. The TPO Executive Board is responsible for divvying up federal transportation funds that come through the state to our area.

OK, now for more complication. The TPO itself is housed within the Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission. MPC does comprehensive planning, and administration of zoning and land subdivision regulations for Knoxville and Knox County. When you hear about "MPC," sometimes it's referring to the staff but more often, it's referring to the appointed commission, comprised of 15 members; seven members appointed by the Mayor of Knoxville and eight members appointed by the Knox County Executive and confirmed by the Local Government Planning Committee, Tennessee State Planning Office.

Funding for the Bicycle Program comes from federal transportation money that goes to the TPO, and matching funds that come from MPC. (MPC gets its funds from City of Knoxville, Knox County and development fees.)

Bike Essay Contest!

Wanting to make a greener commute but lack the green for a bicycle? Just write an essay about how you would use a bicycle as an alternative to a car and you could win one of two commuter bikes, each retailing for up to $1000. Essays should be 350 - 500 words and must be received by May 14. The winner will be announced on May 21 at our Bike to Work Day event.

Send your entry to smarttrips@knoxtrans.org.

Sponsored by Smart Trips, Harper’s Bike Shop, and Tennessee Valley Bicycles.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bicycle Program Update

The spring bicycle/pedestrian counts will take place at 9 intersections on April 6 by Dr. Gene Fitzhugh’s ES 350 class. Previous counts dating back to 2005 are available at

Ellen and Kelley are developing a Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan for the City of Oak Ridge. The first round of public comments has been compiled, and the task force is working on prioritizing proposed projects. http://www.cortn.org/government/9-News/374

Kelley is serving on the Transportation subcommittee of the UT Campus Master Plan update process. She will be representing bicycle issues, as well as other transportation modes.

Kelley is working with City of Knoxville traffic engineering on signing three bicycle routes. The routes connect Cedar Bluff & West Hills, Knoxville Zoo & Caswell Park, and Harvest Park/Knoxville Center Mall & North Knoxville to downtown & UT. http://bit.ly/arvkXA

Ellen is working with City of Knoxville on Phase II of the greenway signage project on Neyland, James White and Second Creek greenways. Kelley is beginning work on Phase III, including Gallaher, Jean Teague and Bearden Villlage. (Ph III has to coordinate with the bike route project, since the West route uses greenways for a large part of the way.)

The 2009 Regional Bicycle Plan has been adopted by MPC and goes before City Council and County Commission in April. Though the plan was already adopted by the TPO Executive Board, this process will raise awareness of the plan at the local level. Kelley will send out info soon on how you can show support of the plan to Council and Commission. http://bit.ly/9RwxRn

The Bicycle Advisory Committee is beginning work on an awareness campaign that involves placement of lifesize cutouts in public locations, with the message that bicyclists are your friends, neighbors and family members. If you would like to be featured on one of these cut outs, please email kelley.segars@knoxtrans.org.

Kelley is presenting at KPD inservice each Friday on bicycle enforcement issues (targeted both at motorists and bicyclists). Mike Winck is assisting with two of the Fridays so that Kelley can have a break!

Lastly, please submit photos of you or your family biking to work, or biking in one of our past rides, to be used on our facebook page as the Bicycle Program's profile picture. You can post to our wall www.facebook.com/bikeknoxville or email to me.

First Friday Art Bus

It's the second annual First Friday Art Bus, coming to Market Street on May 7th! This year, the KAT bus gallery will showcase alternative transportation photography. We're looking for submissions from you of bike commuting, carpooling, transit-ing, or walking. Just send us an electronic version by April 23 and we'll notify you by April 28 if you've been accepted. A distinguished panel of judges will chose a winner to receive a $50 gift card to Mast General Store. Runner ups will receive Smart Trips gift bags. Send entries to smarttrips@knoxtrans.org

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Knox Blount Greenway Master Plan

The Knox/Blount Greenway Master Plan for Maryville, Alcoa & Blount County, Phase One will go before the Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks & Recreation Commission board on April 13. The meeting begins at noon at the Parks & Rec office at 316 S. Everett High Road in Maryville.

If you're able to attend or otherwise voice support for the adoption of this plan, please do. Getting the plan adopted is the first step to making these greenway connections happen.

You can download the plan from the City of Alcoa's website:

Stop Light Bill becomes law

From TNBikeAdvocates@googlegroups.com:

HR3131/SB3057 (a.k.a. the Stop Light Bill) is now law with an effective date of July 1, 2010. If you listened to the debate in the House Transportation Committee on this Bill, you will remember that a key concern of Rep Floyd and Johnson was how this law going to be communicated to bicyclists. If not done correctly, these assemblymen warned somebody is going to get hurt or killed. Even though Rep Brooks commented that know one was hurt with the motorcycle version, Floyd and Johnson had a much lower opinion of the maturity of bicyclists.

Rep Brooks said he was sure that the bicycling community would present this law in a manner that minimizes the potential for abuse. In order back up Rep Brooks’ promise, I prepared a page on our Web Site, http://www.bikewalktn.org/stoplight.html to clarify what the law changes. I have shared this information with Rep’s Brooks, Johnson, Floyd, and Sen Woodson.

I encourage every bicyclist to share this Web Page with Clubs and affiliate members. It helps to “grease the skids” so when we have our next piece of legislation we don’t have bad experience from the Stop Light Law defeating it.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Webinar and survey on women & bicycling

FREE Webinar March 31: “Writing Women Back into Bicycling: Changing Transportation Culture to Encourage More Women to Cycle More Places More Often"

Celebrate Women’s History Month and connect with others interested in healthy, livable, bicycle-friendly communities! This free webinar is open to the public. March 31 from 3:00 pm-4:30 pm Eastern time. Register at http://www.apbp.org/.

The Knox County Health Dept will host this in Knoxville, second floor classroom at 140 Dameron Ave. Join us!

Women and girls are invited to take a survey about bicycle use (or non-use) and barriers to bicycling. Interim results reported during webinar; final results released after May 15 during National Bike Month. http://bit.ly/doqm8H

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Congratulations, Mast General!

Mast General Store was just named a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists! They have been very supportive of our Bicycle Program and Smart Trips. Also, we envy their employees, who get paid $3/day not to drive to work (and many of them bike to work to earn that reward). Thanks for being a partner, Mast, and congratulations on your award!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great support from US DOT for biking

First the Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced "You have a full partner in Ray LaHood" and shared his support for bicycling as a viable form of transportation - a key to livable communities - at the National Bike Summit's Congressional Reception on Thursday, March 11th . Today, LaHood amazed the bicycling world and announced his new Policy Statement on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation Regulations and Recommendations. It is simply the strongest statement of support for prioritizing bicycling and walking ever to come from a sitting secretary of transportation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Support more funding for bike projects

BREAKING NEWS: U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) introduced H.R. 4722, the Active Community Transportation Act of 2010 in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Encourage your U.S. representative to co-sponsor the legislation now!

The Act would create a $2 billion program to fund dozens of communities around the country to improve their trail, walking and biking networks. Your community could ultimately receive some of these funds, better allowing you and your neighbors to walk and bike to the places you live, work, play, shop and learn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kids bike safety events

If you are familiar with bike rodeos for kids, they generally have several stations and include some obstacle courses. I'm trying to see if there is enough interest in helping before I commit to having them at EarthFest, April 17 (at Pellissippi State), and in Townsend as part of a Child Safety Day event on May 15 (yes, that is the same day as Tour de Blount). Please let me know if you are interested, and which day you could help with. Thanks!