Upcoming Event

Active Knox and the Knoxville Regional TPO are hosting two virtual events (via Zoom) with Angie Schmitt to discuss her work on how race and class intersect with our transportation system to produce a growing epidemic of pedestrian deaths in the U.S. 

Angie is the author of Right of Way: Race, Class, and the Silent Epidemic of Pedestrian Deaths in America, and was the longtime national editor at Streetsblog. Her writing and commentary have appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and National Public Radio. She is the founder and principal at 3MPH Planning and Consulting, a small firm focused on pedestrian safety.

Registration is required, and training credits will be available for planning commissioners and individuals with ITE, ASLA and AICP certifications.

Lunchtime virtual event: noon on April 29 (register here)
Evening virtual event: 6 p.m. on April 29 (register here)

Equity Matters: Creating a Safe, Healthy and Inclusive Transportation System for All

Active Knox hosted a virtual event on Dec. 3, 2020, featuring Charles T. Brown, founder and managing principal of Equitable Cities LLC.

Alongside local panelist Seema Singh from Knoxville City Council and Dr. Caroline Cooley from Bike Walk Knoxville, Charles shared his insights into how equitable access to transportation connects with public health and climate change.

This event was co-sponsored by the City of Knoxville’s Office of Sustainability and the League of Women Voters. It was the 14th speaker series for Active Knox, and the second one that we’ve held virtually.

Design Matters: Increasing Physical Activity and Understanding Equity in Parks

Active Knox hosted two virtual events on Oct. 13, 2020, with UTK researchers Dr. Gene Fitzhugh and Dr. Cristina Barroso discussing their study of Knoxville’s parks and the impact of design on physical activity and health equity.


This was the 13th Active Knox series, and the first that we held virtually. 

Designing for Traffic Safety (a PechaKucha recording)

Transportation planner Ellen Zavisca discusses how changes to the design of our streets and our vehicles can save lives and prevent unnecessary injuries. Mistakes happen, but they should not be deadly. If we take traffic violence seriously and work to reduce speeds, we can get to a place where no one suffers a life-changing injury, or worse, just trying to get from Point A to Point B.

Getting Back to Basics: Building Walkable Schools

Dr. Ruth Steiner from the University of Florida joined us in Knoxville on Dec. 4 and 4, 2019, to speak with community leaders and the public about the keys to choosing and creating school sites for walkability.

Ruth shared research and best practices on school transportation, and led a workshop with school officials where sites for two new school were discussed. Knox County Schools will be building three new schools in the next couple of years. 

Ruth was the 12th speaker we’ve hosted through Active Knox, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health.
If you’d like to receive emails about future events, contact ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org

Grassroots Approaches to Safer Streets

Louise Lockett Gordon from Bike Walk RVA was in Knoxville on Oct. 15 and 16 to speak with community leaders, activists, and a public session on the role a nonprofit can play in getting to safer streets. 

Louise shared great examples of the many ways her organization engages the public and elected officials to make a positive impact on street safety in Richmond, VA.

Louise was the 11th speaker we’ve hosted through Active Knox, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health.

If you’d like to receive emails about future events, contact ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org

Building Safer Streets – Together

A panel of local activists and educators joined us for two Active Knox events on May 23 and 24, 2019, to discuss how communities can collaborate on building more walkable, bikeable places.

We heard from Chris Cherry, a professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at UTK, about his work with students and others to add transit benches and create safer street crossings.

Tanisha Baker, College & Career Access Team Leader for Project GRAD and president of Five Points Up, spoke about walkability challenges in East Knoxville, including lack of infrastructure and concerns about crime.

We also heard from Bryan Hill, a certified community planner and the Vision Zero chair for Bike Walk Knoxville’s Advisory Committee, about how other communities are using Vision Zero to collect and share data about traffic safety with the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

The panel shared information with about 40 members of the public on the evening of May 23 at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue campus. They also appeared before about 30 elected and appointed officials for a lunch at the Knoxville Chamber on May 24.

This panel was the 11th set of events in the Active Knox speaker series, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The speaker series will resume in the fall of 2019. If you’d like to receive emails about the events, email ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org.

Creating Truly Safer Streets

Seth LaJeunesse, Assistant Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, visited Knoxville for three events on Nov. 27 and 28, 2018, to discuss how we can begin to put an end to traffic deaths.

Seth shared information about how street design, cultural expectations, and individual behavior work together to create safe – or unsafe – streets and communities.

More than 100 people attended the events, which included a workshop for design staff on Nov. 27; a public event that evening; and a lunch presentation before elected and appointed officials at the Knoxville Chamber on Nov. 28.

Seth was the 10th speaker in the Active Knox series, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health.

If you’d like to receive emails about the events, email ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org.

Creating Quality Mixed-Use. Places

Ben Crenshaw with Southern Land Company visited Knoxville for four events on June 12 and 13, 2018, to discuss the benefits and challenges of building quality mixed-use development.

His experience includes “horizontal” mixed-use – projects including a mix of housing, commercial and offices in the same vicinity – as well as “vertical” mixed-use within the same building. Vertical mixed-use developments often including retail, offices, and jobs, and the mix of uses in one location gives people alternatives to driving for every trip they take.

More than 100 people attended the events, which included a public meeting the evening of June 12; a presentation at MPC’s Agenda Review that same day; a breakfast meeting with members of the development community hosted by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors on June 13; and a lunch presentation before about 35 elected and appointed officials at the Knoxville Chamber later that day.

You can see a video of the Chamber lunch session here

Ben is Senior Vice President over design at Southern Land Company, where he jointly manages the design and engineering teams. Ben brings more than 20 years of experience to his position, including work recognized by the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Urban Land Institute.

Ben was the ninth speaker in the Active Knox series, which is funded through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The speaker series will resume in the fall of 2018. If you’d like to receive emails about the events, email ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org.

What Makes a Community Livable?

Jana Lynott shared her message about community livability at three events in Knoxville on April 24 and 25, 2018, as part of the Active Knox speaker series.

These events were co-hosted by AARP Tennessee, with additional sponsorship by the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors.

Jana discussed AARP’s interest in making sure that communities design their streets and neighborhoods so that seniors can enjoy transportation choices and age in place if they choose.

More than 90 people attended a public event with Jana on April 24, and she also addressed the TPO’s Executive Board at their meeting on April 25. Her visit to Knoxville wrapped up with a presentation before about 40 elected and appointed officials at the Knoxville Chamber on April 25.

Jana is a senior strategic policy advisor for the Livable Communities Team in AARP’s Public Policy Institute. Her research and videography focus on a broad array of planning and policy issues including complete streets, public transportation and travel patterns. Most recently, Jana was responsible for bringing AARP’s groundbreaking Livability Index to fruition.

In her Knoxville events, Jana discussed how Knoxville and Knox County stack up in the Livability Index, and also Knoxville’s new membership in AARP’s network of Age-Friendly Communities.

Jana was the eighth speaker in the Active Knox series, which includes funding from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The next events will be in June, with the speaker and dates to be announced shortly. If you’d like to receive emails about the events, contact ellen.zavisca@knoxplanning.org.