Gotta beef up the bike lanes, Knoxville, if you want to make this list

This website, walk score, which rates the walkability of cities and so on, released its bike score recently and Knoxville isn’t on the list.

Who is?

Memphis, Chattanooga and Nashville – in that order, pretty close to the bottom. Chatt and Nashville, in fact, are third and second from last, respectively. Birmingham brings up the rear.

Knoxville is nowhere to be found.

I didn’t look hard at the criteria used, but the list seems somewhat legit. The city’s walk score is 40 out of 100. We’re listed as car dependent. That last link takes you to a nifty map that breaks the city down by neighborhood. Downtown Knoxville, no surprise, has excellent walkability. (The web site is a home and apartment finder with this nifty, somewhat helpful feature of heat maps showing the abundance of walking and biking accessibility in cities.)

Speaking of walking, on two (short, slow) runs this week – one downtown, another in North Knox – neither were totally on sidewalks. I mean, we all know that Jackson Avenue downtown is in need of a little sidewalk love, and we’ve heard and reported on the demand for sidewalks across this city. Even this past week, Mayor Madeline Rogero said she’d put $10 million toward sidewalks if she could. She’s not going that far, but $1.8 million for sidewalks is included in her FY 2013-14 budget proposal.

Point is, infrastructure costs money. But demand brings action, etc. So if you want more sidewalks and bike lanes, then do something about it.

Even so, I’d argue that some sidewalks are better than no sidewalks. And having lived in places without abundant, or any, sidewalks – dodging dump trucks on a 10 speed, or running over the off-camber side of the road facing traffic – I’ll take what I can get.

That said, I’m going to attempt to ride only my bike to get around town this weekend. We’ll see how it goes. I might walk some too.


About Gerald

A journalist in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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