You open your door and step out into the Nashville air. You’re at Point A. A city full of Point B’s awaits you, and there are many ways to get to them, whether you’re looking for the quickest route or are more inclined to believe, as Lao Tzu said so long ago, “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” Just remember: the way you move can be as important as where you go.
While Nashvillians still love their cars, trucks and petroleum-devouring demi-tanks—and many neighborhoods still lack adequate sidewalks—Walk/Bike Nashville is fueled by a basic belief: a healthy, prosperous city simply cannot be hostile to walking and biking.
Since launching in 1998, WBN has helped develop some 90 miles of bike routes, bikeways and greenways in an effort to create a more walkable, bikeable and, by extension, more livable city. Along with a small brigade of local likeminded groups, WBN advocates for infrastructure, like bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets, and hosts two annual events, the Tour de Nash and Walk Nashville Week. Last year, an estimated 11,000 people took part in these two programs, and registration for Tour de Nash—a day of walking and cycling for all skill levels—is expected to double this year when the event gets rolling on May 19.
Working with Music City Moves!, a collaboration of Metro Planning, Metro Health and the Community Health and Wellness Team, WBN is helping nudge a new era of transportation choice. “When we formed in 1998, many people thought Nashville was hopeless,” says Glen Wanner, WBN board member and former president of Walk/Bike Nashville. Scene writer Christine Kreyling sided begrudgingly with the pessimists, writing, “Nashville—like many American cities—treats walkers outside a park or mall as objects of suspicion or derision.”
But things are getting better. A recent $35,000 grant from the Active Living by Design Center of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, obtained and administered by WBN, funds Music City Moves! Kids, modeled after Safe Routes to School programs around the country. “Right now we’re focused on getting kids to school safely,” says WBN executive director Shannon Hornsby. They are working now with East Nashville elementary schools.
Walk/Bike Nashville may not have effected a sea change just yet, but it represents a step in the right direction. And people who want to support the move toward a pedestrian-friendly community can help by hitting the pavement. Hornsby explains, “Everyone who gets out and walks or bikes is increasing the visibility of pedestrians and cyclists, and raising awareness.” 585-2014, walkbikenashville.org.
If you decide to look for more ways to get around town, continue reading the listings below.
If you want something more hard-hitting, click here.
2910 West End Ave. 329-2453
Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
2807 West End Ave. 321-4069
Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
FRANKLIN BICYCLE COMPANY
2709 S. Royal Oaks Blvd. Ste. 124, 790-2702
Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Demo bikes available
GRAN FONDO CYCLES
5205 Harding Pike 354-1090
Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
NASHVILLE BICYCLE COMPANY
2817 West End Ave. 321-5510
Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Demo bikes available
8400 Highway 100, 646-2485
Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m.-4 p.m.
Rentals available: $25 half day; $40 full day
Bike Trails & Greenways
Nashville is home to a number of greenways—“America’s parks for the 21st century,” according to Gilbert M. Grosvenor, chairman of the National Geographic Society—including Alta Lake, Harpeth River, Metro Center Levee, Old Hickory, Richland Creek, Shelby Bottoms, Stones River and Whites Creek. For information on bike lanes, bike routes and trails, including maps, visit musiccitymoves.org/gan.htm or nashville.gov/greenways/index.htm. See pick below.
Metro buses cover the city with more than 40 regular routes. On days of Titans home games, MTA runs the End Zone Express to and from Greer Stadium and the state employee parking lots at Fourth Avenue North and Harrison Street. For $6, the End Zone Express drops riders off directly in front of LP Field and has access to streets that are closed to other traffic. For a complete listing of bus routes and times, visit the MTA website, nashvillemta.org. For specific questions, call MTA at 862-5950 or 880-3286 (TTY). For AccessRide information, call 880-3970 or 862-6130 (TTY).
NASHVILLE PARTY BUS
351 N. Mt. Juliet Road, Mt. Juliet 754-2221
With everything from limos to a bus with a lighted dance floor, Friends Against Drunk Drivers can rev up your revelry.
For information on ride sharing, car pools, van pools and park-and-rides, go to nashvillemta.org and click on “Ride Programs.”
Though others may try to lure you into their backseats, there are only seven companies licensed by Metro to operate as taxi services in Davidson County. A registered taxi will have an orange driver permit, usually displayed on the visor. Limousine companies are not subject to the same requirements as taxis but are required to have a business license and insurance.
ALLIED CAB COMPANY
DIAMOND CAB COMPANY
AMERICAN TAXI/MUSIC CITY TAXI INC.
Lincoln Town Cars and Navigator SUVs
For real-time information on road and travel conditions, incidents and construction on state highways, simply dial 511 from any touchtone phone or go online to tn511.com for interactive maps and photo imagery (available only for metropolitan areas). Information for North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky can also be accessed via phone or Internet by utilizing this service.
MUSIC CITY STAR
Covering the “East Corridor,” between Lebanon and the riverfront in downtown Nashville, making four stops along the way, the Music City Star is the first of four proposed regional rail routes designed to alleviate interstate traffic by turning Tennesseans on to public transit. Tickets purchased at station vending machines are $5 one way, with multi-ride packages available for commuters and frequent outlet shoppers. 862-8833, musiccitystar.org.
RICHLAND CREEK GREENWAY
Thanks to the nearly complete Richland Creek Greenway, nature and recreation are encroaching on the impenetrable concrete underbelly of White Bridge Road. Soon, dogs and humans will be able to walk from the Sylvan Park, Richland and Cherokee Park neighborhoods to Target for their rawhide bones. Upon completion in spring 2007, the greenway will add another two miles to Nashville’s growing system of linear parks and multi-use trails. For now, jump on the Richland Creek path either at McCabe Trailhead (at Sloan and Murphy Roads) or at the White Bridge Road Trailhead. Word on the path is that neighbors are planning to break in the trail with a 5-mile race/walk event in this spring. 862-8400, nashville.gov/greenways/index.htm.
SHELBY STREET PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE
Despite declarations to the contrary, the Sparkman Street Bridge, as it was known when it first opened in 1909, did not last forever—at least not in its original form. After being slated for demolition due to its poor condition, the refurbished Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge reopened in 2003 to become one of the longest bridges of its kind in the world. The 3,150-foot span across the Cumberland River offers arguably the best view in the city. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 1986, the bridge is open to footfall and bicycle traffic every day from sunrise to sunset.
BASIC BLACK LIMOUSINE SERVICE
If you really must live large but don’t already have your own tricked-out Pepsi truck to cruise in, Diddy-style, Basic Black Limousine Service will drive you and 13 of your closest friends around town in a black 200-inch stretch Lincoln Navigator with mirrored “star gazer” roof and neon interior lights. It costs a mere $125 per hour for a Saturday night—not too bad when you split it 14 ways. Gratuity is not included in the price, but the vehicle is certainly gratuitous. 430-8157, basicblacklimo.net.