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TPO Welcomes New AmeriCorps Member

Sharath Rereddy recently joined the TPO for a year-long position serving with AmeriCorps. Before moving to Knoxville, Sharath grew up and lived the majority of his life in Fairfax County and neighboring Arlington, VA. He spent four years a little further south while attending Virginia Tech, where he majored in economics. After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, he moved back to the DC Metro area and worked in finance as an internal analyst for Accenture. While living and working in Arlington, his interest in planning and sustainability deepened, and he decided to return to school to pursue another degree. Since then he has earned a graduate certificate in sustainable planning from George Washington University, and is excited to gain experience and insight into planning practices before returning to complete a graduate degree.

In the coming year, Sharath will manage bicycle and pedestrian counts and present information to area high school drivers education classes and other interested groups. He is also helping with an annual Title VI data collection and mapping update, and has other projects on his horizon. He hopes to collaborate with Ijams Nature Center to organize a bike safety talk and group ride that ends at a special exhibit at the park.

When he’s not at work, you can find Sharath relaxing or reading at his home in North Knoxville. He also enjoys spending time outdoors while hiking, biking, and playing soccer. Sharath is looking forward to exploring nearby destinations for his favorite outdoor activities as he continues to enjoy the Knoxville and surrounding area.

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TPO Distributes Funds, Providing Transportation Options to Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

For the past six years, the TPO has distributed 5310 program funding to regional nonprofits and government agencies to enhance mobility options for seniors and persons with disabilities.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) provide funding for the program, and each recipient is required to provide some level of local match. The TPO administers the program by overseeing the application process, distributing funds, and managing follow-up reporting.

Projects selected must be consistent with the goals of the TPO’s Human Services Transportation Coordination Plan, which identifies gaps in services, proposes projects to help fill those gaps, and examines ways services can be coordinated. The application process for the grants is competitive, and final approval is given by the TPO Executive Board.

Though the program is not limited to nonprofits, most of the funding is distributed to local organizations, such as Emory Valley Center, Sertoma Center, Cerebral Palsy Center, and ARC Knox County – Sunshine Industries. The 5310 program allows these groups to purchase vans that are used to transport clients to essential services.

To date, the TPO has helped nonprofits purchase 35 vans or mini-buses in the Knoxville urban area, which covers portions of Knox, Anderson, Blount, Loudon, and Sevier Counties.

The TPO is currently soliciting new projects to be funded.  Applications can be found on the TPO website at www.knoxtrans.org and are due by 4:00 p.m. EST on Friday, January 25, 2019.

Question can be addressed to:

Mr. Doug Burton
Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization
400 Main Street, Suite 403 – Knoxville, TN 37902
865-215-3824 or doug.burton@knoxplanning.org

Knoxville on “Best Bike Cities in America” List

Knoxville is ranked #49 on the "Best Bike Cities in America" list!

The City of Knoxville currently has about 17 total miles of bicycle lanes, which is more than triple what it was in 2012. That progress is continuing, with 2.4 additional miles scheduled for completion before the end of this year.

Moving forward with comprehensive plans outlined in the City's 2015 Bicycle Facilities Plan and the 2016 Greenways Feasibility Study will allow Knoxville to continue to provide a good experience for urban bicyclists. And hopefully the city will continue to rise on this list!

Read more and find out how other cities ranked!

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Minimum Three in Tennessee

The City of Knoxville, Knoxville Police Department, and Bike Walk Knoxville recently launched the “Minimum Three in Tennessee” campaign, promoting awareness of the Three Foot Law.

This law requires drivers to maintain a distance of three feet when passing bicycles. As part of a research effort funded by the National Highway Safety Administration, the Knoxville Police Department received devices that measure the distance between bicycles and passing cars. Officers with these devices are alerted when a vehicle passes with less than three feet between them and the bicycle.

Enforcement of the law is important. Current data shows that 5% of motorists passing bicyclists in Knoxville are less than three feet away. Of those violations, 60% are less than two feet away, and 46% are less than a foot-and-a-half.

Based on these numbers, every time a bicyclists rides, he or she is passed dangerously close at least once.

To see how the campaign is going thus far, check out the City’s blog, or learn more about the study from coverage of the press conference announcing it.