Sunday, June 9, 2013

Op-Ed in Tennessean Today

My fellow Transit Now Nashville board member, Jay Everett, and I had the privilege of voicing our support of The AMP (the East-West connector) in an Op-Ed featured in today's Tennessean. Please check it out and let us know your thoughts. Thanks in advance for reading, sharing and supporting public transit in Nashville.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

'Adopt a Stop' Program

I am pretty excited and impressed with MTA's latest initiative to keep the bus stops clean and well maintained. Local residents and businesses can adopt a bus stop, much like the adopt a highway or street program, and volunteer to keep the stop clean and presentable. Exciting, right?! I've often made an attempt to clean up the area around my local stop, the effort initiated by my desire to have clean surroundings and possibly encourage others to ride the bus. And just a couple of weeks ago, I lamented to my local MTA driver, Eric, that I wish MTA would do more to keep the stops clean, including having trash cans at each stop so residents and riders have a place to dispose of trash.

Well, when I got on his bus today, he asked me who I know at MTA, because right after we were talking about it, he looked on MTA's website and saw the program advertised. I had to admit, I had nothing to do with this program, but nonetheless excited about the initiative and eager to sign up to do my part. Signing up is easy and can be done right online using the above link.

So, I've signed up and will make it a point to take a plastic bag with me to my stop a couple of times a week. Much like picking up after a pet, I can tidy up the stop without touching the trash and place it right in the can. Now I feel challenged to keep 'my stop' tidy and challenge others to do the same. I've always felt that if bus stops and the actual buses were well maintained, possibly more students and professionals would be inclined to ride the bus as an alternative transportation option. Bravo to MTA! Now let's see how many Nashville residents and businesses step up to keep Nashville beautiful and possibly increase transit ridership. Who will join me?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Urban Living in East Nashville

Urban life in East Nashville is great. I'm hanging at Bongo Java East where I come often for a sweet cup of coffee or chai tea, breakfast or lunch. Of course, I walk the couple of blocks from home to here. Or I come to study for class for a change of scenery and to be with the other cool kids reading, blogging or simply visiting here. If I want to find a snappy dress, scarf or bag, I just walk around the corner and see my friends Bill and Donna at Allegria in the Shops on Woodland, where there's always fun and fashion mixed together. When I get hungry, I can walk a couple of blocks the other way to The Turnip Truck East to pick up some organic deliciousness, my favorite chocolates or something healthy for dinner. Then I hop (yes, I hop) across the street to Woodland Wine Merchant to see Tyler and the gang and grab a bottle (or two) of my favorite Chardonnay to accompany dinner. If I'm not in the mood to cook, I love to grab a slice of pie at Five Points Pizza to take home or enjoy there with a friend and a cold one.

Of course, there are less trendy spots in the 'hood to grab necessities and toiletries like your neighborhood Family Dollar Store, where you are assured an adventure after you walk in and hear the overhead speaker warn you that 'for your safety and protection, your movements are being monitored'. Or my favorite Bill Martin store, which has been here for years and updated (outside only) to fit in with the trendier stores. If I need Jiffy cornbread mix or just plain old baking soda, Bill's my guy. But I went there once for spinach and after searching among the 'fresh' vegetables unsuccessfully, I asked the clerk if they carried spinach, to which she replied incredulously 'Frozen!', like, who eats it any other way. Yes, I admit, I take the bus to Green Hills to the famous Whole Body and Trader Joe's at least once a week, but I'm thrilled to live in East Nasty where we have all the amenities of suburban life with much more flare and variety. Never a dull moment, and I love it! Coming to visit soon?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Just Walking...

I've come to realize more often than not that walking soothes me. Walking provides more than a means to get from one place to the next. It is a time for reflection, and give me perspective and direction while keeping my body and mind in motion. I enjoy being car-less not only because I find riding the bus interesting (to say the least) but because I am forced to walk more, plan my destinations, and save money at the same time. I've mentioned often how much I appreciate the health, financial and mental benefits of walking, biking or riding the bus to destinations. From time to time, I have to remind myself of why I've chosen to make Nashville my own little 'New York' in terms of transportation, and I've recently appreciated (again) that it comes down to just walking. I really do enjoy just walking...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stress-free and Carefree

Getting off the bus at my stop, I noticed a young man exiting at the same time. He was walking in the same direction as I, and after he placed his book in the library after-hours drop box, I decided to strike up a conversation (readers are cool, right?) I asked about the book he had just returned, whether it was a good read or not. He admitted he kept the book way past the due date trying to get into it, but the book never caught his interest, despite being written by one of his favorite authors.

As we walked the next block, we both agreed one of the great things about riding the bus was having time to read. We could also agree on how relaxing it is to get to a destination without being stressed over traffic or parking. Then my new bus buddy, Jake, admitted 'I just hate driving, that's all!' He shared that being driven, even if on the bus, was a bit of a treat, stress-free, and dare I say, carefree! And that besides the bus, there are other creative ways to get around Nashville without driving, or by driving less. He is also a bike commuter and avid walker, so getting around the driving thing is not a problem for him. As he walked a block past my destination, I thought about how nice it was to meet a young person with such an open perspective.

As I've said before, being car-less is not for everyone, but if more people considered alternatives to driving everywhere, would there be a little less pollution and traffic and more people becoming physically active? I believe so, and Jake and I are proof being car-less can lead to being a little more carefree. Try it for yourself and see...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Keep Walking

Today when I left work headed to school, I thought about walking, as I often do, but also thought I would catch a bus headed that way if available. So, I started walking, looking behind me every block or so to see if the bus was coming. As I got further along, I passed several bus stops with people waiting for the same bus I was on the lookout for. Seeing those waiting people reminded me of how frustrated my ex-husband would become when I wanted to walk instead of waiting, knowing the bus would eventually catch up with me. He would rather wait for the bus, and would ask, 'Why do you have to constantly be on the move? Can't you just sit here and wait?'

As I walked and remembered those conversations, I realized that our differing perspectives on waiting for the bus versus moving ahead toward the destination may have an impact on why we are no longer married. There's nothing wrong with patiently waiting for something expected, whether a bus or a desired goal. However, if you can work toward the destination while waiting, isn't that a better option? Today, as I kept walking, I was able to decompress from my workday, mentally change gears from work to school and get in 20 minutes of brisk walking. Along the way, I passed several cars stuck in heavy traffic that would have further delayed the bus had it ever arrived. So, I don't regret not waiting for the bus today, nor do I regret not waiting to work toward other destinations in life. We do have to be patient, but we can be walking toward our goals while waiting.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

My Bike Guy

I took my bike to East Side Cycles for a tune up and the young man who helped me has also chosen to be 'car-less' in Nashville. When I asked him to share his story, he explained his choice stemmed from LA traffic over 8 years ago. While sitting in traffic trying to make the less than 10 mile commute to work that routinely took him over 30 minutes, he saw a bicycle wiz by him. Right then, he made up his mind that cycling to work would take less time and had to be less stressful. Needless to say, he was correct.

Then, he took his trusty bike to be repaired, and decided he could keep the bike repaired himself and save even more time and money. He not only taught himself to be a bike mechanic, but he started working for a bike repair shop, gave up his car and has since moved to Nashville. He commutes all around Nashville using his bike, and now he's my go to guy to keep my bike in good repair. He's also helping me as I shop for a new bike to kick my bike commuting into high gear. Nice to know there are many others who have found alternative ways of getting around Nashville. More to come...