Knoxville to Participate in Mayors' Challenge to Improve Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

Knoxville to Participate in Mayors' Challenge to Improve Bicycle, Pedestrian Safety

Posted: 04/24/2015
During her opening remarks at the Tennessee Bike Summit, Mayor Madeline Rogero announced Knoxville's participation in the U.S. Department of Transportation's Mayors' Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets.

Launched in March by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, the Mayors' Challenge calls on local elected officials across the country to take action over the next year to improve safety for bicycle riders and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

By joining the Challenge, Knoxville joins 207 other cities across the U.S. - including Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis - where local leaders have publicly pledged to work to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists.

"We want all those who travel along our streets - no matter their age, ability or mode of transportation - to reach their destination safely," Mayor Rogero said. "By participating in the Challenge, my administration pledges to continue the progress we've made in expanding infrastructure for bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders."

A team of representatives from the Knoxville Police Department, Knoxville Area Transit (KAT), the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and the Knoxville-Knox County Safe Routes to School Partnership will work with City staff to coordinate Challenge-related action.

Throughout the Challenge year, participating cities will have the opportunity to participate in peer-to-peer sessions and topical webinars, receive U.S. Department of Transportation updates, and take advantage of other benefits.

Mayor Rogero has made it a priority to make biking, walking and riding transit more safe and convenient for Knoxville residents.

The City recently released a Bicycle Facilities Plan that provides a blueprint for how the City can develop a system of connected bike corridors; it includes more than 100 prioritized recommended projects that will improve the accessibility, safety and convenience of traveling by bicycle.

City Council also recently adopted a Complete Streets Ordinance that institutionalizes the City's commitment to addressing alternative transportation modes in all City street projects.

Other recent initiatives include:

• Addition of a fourth signed bicycle route - the East Knoxville Bicycle Route;
• Creation of a new bike lane on Prosser Road;
• 7,166 feet of new or replaced sidewalks throughout City neighborhoods;
• 294 crosswalk improvements and 161 new ADA ramps;
• Expanded coordination between City departments to improve infrastructure and safety for bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders and people with disabilities;
• KAT training sessions on how to ride transit, as well as pedestrian and bicyclist safety training.

Local partners such as TPO and the Knoxville-Knox County Safe Routes to School Partnership also help improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

The TPO closely tracks bike and pedestrian data and offers resources to teach citizens about safe bicycling practices. The Knox County Health Department leads the Safe Routes to School Partnership and manages "Walking School Bus" programs to help local elementary school students get to and from school safely on foot.

"It's wonderful to have so many local partners working together to address these important safety issues," Mayor Rogero said.

"Opportunities like the Mayors' Challenge and the Tennessee Bike Summit help remind us that while we've made good progress, more can be done to keep bicyclists, pedestrians and transit riders safe on our roads."

The 2015 Tennessee Bike Summit, hosted by Bike Walk Knoxville and Bike Walk Tennessee, started today at the Knoxville Convention Center. The two-day conference offers attendees many opportunities to learn about advocacy and education, infrastructure, updates on the U.S. Bicycle Route in Tennessee and other special projects from around the state. Speakers from across the state and beyond will show economic, social, environmental and health benefits of bicycle-friendly communities - and how to become more bicycle-friendly.

More information about the U.S. Department of Transportation's Mayors' Challenge may be found here: http://www.dot.gov/mayors-challenge.

For more information about the Tennessee Bike Summit, visit http://www.tnbikesummit.org/.