Monday, January 20, 2014

A More Pedestrian-Friendly Nashville in our Dreams ... and that AMP. Egad.

I had a terrific comment posted by ShadeParade on my earlier post of April 5 2007 of a More Pedestrian-Friendly Nashville? Anyone? Anyone? And I must share by linking to their own post from December 2013 on walking Green Hills. They walked from Whole Foods to the Post Office in Green Hills. They also posted pics on the state of sidewalks and non-sidewalks along the way. (Believe it or not, this is one of our more pedestrian-forward areas of town!!)
Typical Green Hills Sidewalk. Photo taken by Shade Parade.

Yeah, take a look at the link. Look at the lack of sidewalks. Pretty impossible, isn't it? Super scary with a stroller! (God bless and keep safe all our neighbors as they walk Nashville!!) Wait til you read the update. Nashville is ranked the 15th most dangerous city to walk in ....? If that's actually true, it really wouldn't surprise me. We really don't have much sidewalks to speak of.

The biggest difference between the walkability of New York City and Nashville IMO are:
1) in NYC pedestrians are first before cars. Cars need to make their way AROUND us ("I'm walking here!")
2) in Nashville, pedestrians are apparently second to cars. We have to constantly look out for cars turning onto our sidewalks (when they even exist) because cars get first dibs on getting anywhere. That's just the way it is.
3) Most of this big small town doesn't have sidewalks to get you from a house or apartment building to a bus or down the road to any kind of retail area.
4) Our sidewalks are further taken up by huge utility poles and apparently they count as humans, because we don't get any sidewalk width compensated for the room they take up.

Now I like the whole idea of live/work communities that have started happening around town. But while we are making pockets of (usually really expensive to buy into BTW) liveable communities, that does not address the greater issue of getting from one area of town to the other by either using a form of public transportation or by walking. How do you get from Bellevue to Green Hills or from Antioch to Donelson or from Downtown to Brentwood?

Well, it's like this. You buy a car.

And don't even get me started on the AMP, which is a very nice idea, but planned for a part of town that doesn't actually need it. We don't need an AMP running from Downtown via Broadway/West End/Harding Road (yes, actually they are all the same road with 3 different names) all the way to White Bridge Road. Why? Because if we did need, right now EVERY SINGLE BUS running down West End would be full -- and THAT doesn't happen yet except during rush hour. And if we did need it, those rush hour buses would be full of people getting OFF the bus before White Bridge Road, and again, some, but very few people actually do. The bulk of the bus riders GET OFF before 440 and get off AFTER the Highway 70/100 split, and go into Bellevue.

Another reason AMP is a bad idea? Nashville is not built on a grid system. It's more like spokes on a wheel and the roads curve a lot. There isn't much leeway to carve out more space to widen or modify roads that exist. Using two lanes as a designated bus lane is not a practical idea, and may not be for sheer width of road purposes.

The Amp is supposed to "relieve the traffic flow" along West End to 440 and from I-440 to White Bridge Road but those people living in those areas are not going to magically take the AMP because it goes faster than a regular bus. People before 440 are getting off West End to get onto 440. And those people driving cars clogging up the 6-8 blocks stretch between Montgomery Bell Academy and WBR are either turning off onto Woodmont or onto White Bridge Road or heading straight down further into Belle Meade and Bellevue. These are not folks who are going magically start taking the bus or an AMP. They don't do it now. Arguably it could be the whole there are no sidewalks to get them from Harding Road to where they're headed, and back. Right now any of those areas are going to be no shoulder, mostly grassed-over gutter, and not sidewalked.

We already made the bold move of adding weekend service to some areas and more buses during rush periods (but God help you if you're using one of the bus stops without a set time they're due there, cause the drivers still may blow past you anyway if they're running early.) Sp before we get all crazy and fund an AMP perhaps we should start with adding sidewalks to get people to the bus system we already have, before we get into replacing a whole transportation line in light of other areas plum needing more bus service in the first place.

Nashville needs sidewalks everywhere. And Nashville needs buses especially in areas of town where the people are LESS likely to own a car, and thus are more likely to need to use the public transportation provided. When is THAT going to happen?

Secret Identities The Asian American Superhero Anthology

Post our Milestone Comics 20th anniversary reunion (courtesy of Hard N.O.C. Life by the The Nerds of Color)  I would love to address (in a longer post sometime) the hope and necessity of diversity in comics and how we really can only shut up and make the comics ourselves to do so. (Having ebooks now as an option to get our work out makes it a whole new publishing world, people!)

In the meanwhile, I was looking for meaningful comics to enjoy, so I bought a copy of Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology. I had not known our host Keith Chow had been involved in making that book happen until our whole reunion had been underway -- and found out that Milestone had been their impetus. Wow.

WHAT FUN! I totally loved loved loved Secret Identities; it was chock-full of short stories by a nicely wide range of creators (so you get a wide variety of styles of stories and art even if basically within a superhero genre.) The reviews on Amazon will do the book waaaay more justice than I can if you need more convincing. Me, I heartily just tell you to BUY THIS BOOK and enjoy!

[No seriously, if you are a comics creator who at all seriously wants to contribute and be part of the whole
creative contribution and conversation, you HAVE to own and have read a copy of this book.]