April 1st officially marked the start of Transit Month here in Nashville, meaning you’ll soon hear more talk around town about ways to step out of your car and take alternative modes of transportation. Getting around Nashville, especially during peak driving times, can be a chore. Nobody likes spending hours sitting in traffic every week, and with the weather warming up, there’s never been a better time to ditch the car and take advantage of the variety of active transportation opportunities available locally. Whether you’re heading to work, school, or church, running errands, or going out to spend time with friends or family, take some time this month to think about different ways to get from A to B. Given the wide range of benefits of active transportation, your body, mind, and Mother Nature are sure to thank you!
Here are five quick suggestions on how to lead an active (transit) lifestyle locally:
1. Catch the Bus
Transit Month is meant to highlight all the alternative transportation options in Nashville, including the bus and the Music City Star, but many people don’t think of the bus as active transportation. It is! While riders may not be active during their time on the bus, they’re sure to incorporate some form of active transit at either end of their journey, making walking or biking (pssst. Nashville MTA buses have bike racks on the front!) a key component of any local bus trip. Riding the bus is eco-friendly, helps to cut down on congestion (especially during rush hour), and promotes significantly more active transit than driving does. With continued improvements to Nashville’s bus system, including the addition of BRT-lite service along Charlotte and Nolensville Pikes and the installation of 100 new bus shelters around town, riding the bus is now a more attractive transportation option than ever before!
2. Bike Sharing is Caring
Don’t have a bike? Share one! Nashville has a ton of great resources for would-be bicycle riders, making cycling a great alternative transportation option for any Nashvillian. Nashville B-cycle stations are located all over town and provide users with ready access to bikes on demand for just $5 per day. B-cycle is perfect for going out to lunch, getting to a quick midday meeting, taking care of nearby errands, or simply taking a tour of the city! With an ever-expanding number of stations, more places than ever are now reachable by this low-cost, low-commitment bike share program. Keep in mind, however, that it is a bike SHARE program, so you need to “dock” the bike at a nearby B-station every 60 minutes. You can check the bike back out for free, and you can find available nearby stations using the B-cycle smartphone App. If you don’t dock your bike every 60 minutes, you’ll be charged an additional $1.50 for every half hour over.. up to $45 for bikes kept out over 24 hours.
Nashville GreenBikes are also a fantastic, free resource for those looking to ditch their car in favor of riding a bike, with more than half a dozen bike pick-up locations at parks around town. These bikes don’t require the same time constraints, but they also have no gears to help you get up those Nashville hills.
The oldest and most accessible form of transportation, walking, is by far the easiest way to get healthy and active while getting around town. While it might not be practical for many people to walk to work or the grocery store, there are plenty of other opportunities to walk throughout the day. Heading out to lunch with some co-workers? Try walking to a nearby restaurant rather than driving somewhere further away. Spending time with a friend in your neighborhood? Walk to their house instead of driving a few blocks. As we’ve mentioned before, 90 percent of Nashvillians live within 2 miles of a trailhead to Nashville’s Greenway system, giving walkers (and runners, and cyclists, and rollerbladers…) easy access to these safe and scenic active transport routes. The Greenway system often acts as a fantastic connector between neighborhoods, giving local residents walkable routes between residential and commercial districts (like between Sylvan Park and White Bridge Road, or between North Nashville and Downtown). Whether you’re on a Greenway, in your neighborhood, or at your office, get out there and walk instead of driving!
4. Try an Active Commute
Have your own bike and want to make your daily commute a little more active? Living within 10 miles of your office or school makes commuting by bike a very realistic transit option, especially if you can make the trip using mostly bike lanes or quieter neighborhood streets. Check out one of our older blog posts for tips to make bike commuting a part of your regular routine! Even if you can only manage to commute by bike every once in a while, it’s still more than zero, helps you get in a good workout, and saves you some money on gas!
Do you live ultra-close to work, like 1-2 miles? Strap on some rollerblades or hop on a skateboard!
5. Get Informed!
With so much going on in Nashville year-round, it can be hard to stay up-to-date with all the changes happening around town. To keep in the loop on all things active in Nashville, check out the Nashvitality app, which features maps and other information on walking, hiking, biking, and other outdoors activities! Local blogs, like Walk/Bike Nashville’s Footnotes, are also a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about changes in Nashville’s pedestrian and cycling legislation and infrastructure. You can even check out the Nashville MTA website for transportation resources like bus schedules and upcoming transit projects concerning Nashville’s mass transit options. Finally, RSVP for Team Green’s Nutrition On-the-Go Workshop & Transit Fair at the Nashville Farmers’ Market on Wednesday, April 15h at 6pm, giving you the opportunity to learn how to eat healthy on the go while interacting with many of our local transit resource providers!
For more resources on all things transit during this month of celebration, check out the Transit Now Nashville website. Are you already doing your part to make your daily movements around town more active? Follow us on Twitter and send us some pictures of your favorite way to get around with the #ActiveTransit hashtag! We hope to see you on the trails, Greenways, bike lanes, and buses this month!
– Matt (Team Green’s Events Coordinator)