Bike Walk Knoxville (BWK) is the Knoxville regional committee of Bike Walk Tennessee. BWK formed in the fall of 2012 in response to an increased amount of road rage and crashes involving bicyclists and pedestrians. BWK is a community-driven, non-profit organization working to create safe streets and vibrant communities in the Knoxville region. We promote bicycling and walking as mainstream and enjoyable forms of transportation and recreation.
Bike Walk Knoxville is a regional voice for bicycle and pedestrian issues that focuses on three main areas:1. Improving & Expanding Active Transportation Infrastructure:We work to make the Knoxville region more walkable and bikeable. We advocate for dedicated funding to repair and expand the sidewalk network and to add sidewalks to connect people with the places they need to go. We believe the focus should be on filling in gaps in the sidewalk network, expanding sidewalk connections to major destinations (like libraries, parks, schools, shopping centers) and providing safe street crossings. We also work to make the Knoxville area more bikeable. We make sure the decision makers understand that bicycling is an important form of transportation and that they need to support it through dedicated funding and support of pro-bicycling policies. We provide guidance on needed bike connections (using facilities like bike lanes & greenways) and signage/pavement markings. We strive to keep expanding the bike network in the region.
2. Leading policy changes to include Complete Streets: Complete streets are streets that work for everybody. People of all ages and abilities should be able to safely move along and across streets in a community, regardless of how they are traveling. Complete Streets make it easy to cross the street, walk to shops, and bicycle to work. They allow buses to run on time and make it safe for people to walk to and from bus stops. There are several complete streets policies that apply in the Knoxville area. But it still takes everyone’s help to make our streets complete. When you hear about street projects, ask whether they include safe places for bicyclists and pedestrians. Is the street safe for kids and senior citizens to cross? If there’s bus service on the street, are the bus stops safe?
3. Promoting Open Streets Programming: Open Streets Knoxville combines physical activity with community engagement to build support for more and safer transportation choices. Open Streets Knoxville is part of the global Open Streets Project, which seeks innovative ways for cities to achieve environmental, social, economic and public health goals.
Here are some policies that apply to road projects in our area:
Knoxville City Council Complete Streets Ordinance
Knoxville Regional TPO’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy
TDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Policy
U.S. DOT Policy on Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation
It’s not just road projects that can help us get complete streets. Often streets are created or altered when development occurs. Knoxville doesn’t yet have a policy that requires sidewalks with development and redevelopment. But individuals and groups can make a difference by speaking up for the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists when new development occurs.