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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.

PARK(ing) Day

PARK(ing) Day is an internationally recognized event that occurs annually in cities large and small.

Individuals and groups transform parking spaces into pocket parks and parklets. The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more quality urban open space for people, to generate critical debate around how public space is created and allocated, and to improve the quality of the urban human habitat. In short, it is a day to reimagine those areas for people instead of cars. If we designed them for people, would they be asphalt? Or would there be trees, grass, and flowers with places to sit and things to do?

PARK(ing) Day was held on September 19, and a local group organized the Knoxville event so that participants could reserves spaces along Gay Street. With 50 parking spaces reserved, creative uses for the parking spots lined the busy downtown street, drawing attention from passersby and those patronizing local retail and restaurant establishments. Find out more about the event from this Inside of Knoxville article, and check out photos from the event from the group’s Facebook event and a follow-up photo essay from Inside of Knoxville!

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TPO Outreach Plan

The TPO prioritizes working with the public to develop transportation plans and programs.

Significant public outreach results in greater community support for plans that help achieve the region’s goals for the future. The TPO's Outreach Plan serves as a working tool for TPO staff to refer to with each new plan to ensure that adequate public notice is given and the community is engaged throughout the project. A draft of this plan was first made available for comment in April 2018. An updated draft of the plan, appendices, and a summary of changes can be found below. Adoption of this plan is anticipated at the regularly scheduled Executive Board Meeting on September 26, 2018. 

Complete Streets Consortium Report Available

The three entities received a set of three technical assistance workshops and three webinars that were held between September 2017 and January 2018.

This support was designed to develop strategies for collaborating with TDOT (Tennessee Department of Transportation) and implementing, funding, and supporting Complete Streets.

Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville each hosted one of the workshops, tailored to the region’s specific opportunities and challenges to Complete Streets implementation. The workshops provided participants with tools and strategies to implement Complete Streets that advance economic, health, and community vibrancy goals.

The report can be found here.

Trends Identified for Traffic Crashes Involving People Walking and Bicycling

The Data

To compile the data used for these infographics TPO staff verified crash locations and assigned crash factors based on information obtained from individual crash reports, including crash narratives and information about citations issued.

There are four infographics available:

In addition to the infographics, this data can also be viewed on an interactive map that was released last fall. It allows users to explore information specific to the type of crash, crash factors and an overview of all the data.

On rural roads, lack of sidewalks is the most common factor in crashes involving people walking or riding bicycles. The footpath that runs alongside the road pictured here makes it clear that a sidewalk is needed.

This data is important to the TPO’s work because 90 percent of the crashes recorded from this five year period resulted in injury or death of a person walking or bicycling. The goal in identifying and analyzing the information is to prevent future crashes through engineering, education, and enforcement.

Solutions

Local solutions are being found for some of the issues presented. In the Knoxville Region, 39 percent of traffic crashes that involve bicyclists and 48 percent of those involving pedestrians are caused by a motorist failing to yield when making a turn. After identifying a high number of these crashes, the City of Knoxville banned right turns on red at the intersection of Cumberland Ave. and Melrose Place.

The pedestrians shown here are unable to cross the road, despite having a walk signal, due to traffic failing to yield.

Another solution is the use of a Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI), like the one that has been installed at the traffic signal at the intersection of Downtown West Boulevard and Ray Mears Boulevard. This technology gives pedestrians the walk signal three to seven seconds before motorists get the green light to proceed through the intersection, allowing walkers to establish their presence in the crosswalk ahead of motor vehicles.

A National Issue

National attention has been given to some of the same issues presented in these infographics. A recent news article reports that allowing right turns on red increases the risks of injury and death to those walking or riding a bicycle. Another article states that the number of people who die in a traffic crash while walking has risen significantly over the last decade, and that most of those crashes are occurring on arterial streets. The National Transportation Safety Board studied the dangers of speeding and found that 31 percent of traffic fatalities are speed related.