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Chattanooga Prioritizes Bike/Ped

This is cross-posted from the Advocacy Advance blog, and is authored by Christy Kwan.

Advocacy Advance’s most recent Navigating MAP-21 Workshop was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Boasting an extensive transportation history and known for the “Chattanooga Choo Choo” by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Chattanooga is located is southeastern Tennessee, just north of the Tennessee-Georgia border, and nestled along the Tennessee River and surrounding mountains.

The workshop was hosted by the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) and Bike Walk Chattanooga, over 50 advocates, agency staff, and elected officials from both the region gathered to set priorities for active transportation spending before the current transportation bill, MAP-21, expires on September 30.

Participants – including members from both Tennessee and Georgia Departments of Transportation, Georgia Bikes!, and the brand-new Georgia Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Katelyn DiGioia – worked in small groups to discuss local priority projects, funding eligibility, and to create action plans to get the project funded.

Chattanooga bike share has over 300 bikes at 33 stations / Photo by Brent Buice/ Georgia Bikes!

Here are 3 exciting things we learned that are happening in Chattanooga:

1. The brand-new Chief of Police is committed to safe, active transportation.

Chattanooga Chief of Police Fred Fletcher stopped by unexpectedly at the workshop to make a pitch for project priorities and local investments. As Chattanooga’s newest police chief, he will draw upon his successes as a police commander in Austin, TX to enhance pedestrian safety in Chattanooga.

Chief of Police Fred Fletcher says hello on the last day of the Chattanooga Riverbend Festival / Photo by Bike Walk Chattanooga

2. The region is prioritizing multimodal investments.

The implementation of the Community to Region Performance Framework, has resulted in a doubling of bicycle and pedestrian funding and system preservation funding, while cutting widening project funding in half. The most recent Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) included $5.3 million for bicycle/ pedestrian/ transit projects from the Surface Transportation Program (STP) – a first for the region to use such a significant amount of other sources of federal transportation dollars outside of the Transportation Alternatives Program for active transportation.

The Community to Region Performance Framework. Click here for a PDF fact sheet about the framework. Image from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County/North Georgia TPO.

3. The city is prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian projects in the capital budget.

Chattanooga’s capital budget includes the city’s first protected bike lanes, neighborhood greenway, as well as upgrades to existing pedestrian bridges. The Chattanooga Transportation Department has also increased its grant submittals to the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) under eligible federal funding programs such as the Transportation Alternatives Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program, as well as applied for TDOT’s new state-funded Multimodal Access grant program. The City is also working with TDOT to include improvements for people who bike and walk in Highway Safety Improvement Program-funded safety projects.

Next stop, increased transportation investments in the Chattanooga region. All aboard!

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