2021 - 2025 Strategic Plan

Approved February 2021

Mission: Walk Bike Nashville is working to make Nashville a more walkable, bikeable and livable city. 

Vision: We envision a Nashville in which:

  • All people, regardless of race, class or income, have the freedom to move through a comprehensive network of safe and accessible sidewalks, bikeways and transit routes with dignity, Our transportation investments are co-created by those who have most at stake;
  • There are zero transportation deaths and serious injuries; 
  • There is a culture of walking and bicycling;
  • People are healthier and happier because of equitable transportation choices; and 
  • Our natural resources are protected by our transportation choices.

Our Values

  • Community: our work should reflect and respect the needs and differences of the communities of Nashville in which we work
    • Inclusion -- we want to be intentionally inclusive in building a community
    • Grassroots -- We believe in the power of the people to change their community and work to be civic enablers, while always respecting our elected and appointed city leaders
    • Powered by our People: members and volunteers are a critical part of our success
  • Transportation Equity -- we believe transportation investments should remove barriers to mobility and prioritize the needs of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and low-income people who stand to gain the most from better service.
  • Environmental Sustainability -- We believe our actions should be sustainable and respect our environment. 
  • Vanguards -- We are innovative and forward-looking, willing to make mistakes
  • Insistent but optimistic -- We are respectful, but assertive when we need to be. We are passionate and believe in the potential for positive change, while also acknowledging the extent of our transportation challenges.
  • Reflective and Data Driven -- We intentionally pursue personal excellence through positive self-criticism. We seek to be subject matter experts, and use data backed by personal narratives or experiences from those who have the most at stake.

Our Strategic Goals  

  1. Safer Streets: No one should be killed or seriously injured by our transportation system. We will advocate for policies and infrastructure that reduce serious and fatal bicycle and pedestrian crashes
  2. Dignified Infrastructure for all: Nashville needs a safe and inviting network of bikeways and pedestrian infrastructure to ensure all Nashvillians are able to get around without a car, regardless of age, ability, culture, race or income. 
  3. Build the Walking Biking Culture: Build a culture where we accept and embrace many forms of transportation, where we celebrate active transportation trips. We will provide programs that help more Nashvillians use active transportation, and support those already doing so.
  4. Transportation Justice: The history of our transportation system has harmed many including black, indigenous, communities of color, low income communities and people with disabilities, and mobility continues to be a barrier for many. We will work to counter this systemic inequity within our transportation system and to make Walk Bike Nashville into an anti-racist organization.
  5. Strong Walk Bike Nashville: Walk Bike Nashville will continue to be a stable, diverse, and successful organization so that we can achieve our goals.


Safer Streets:

  • Advance Vision Zero in Nashville
    • Hold the city accountable to ensure Vision Zero Plan is created and enacted. Track progress of Vision Zero Action Plan. 
    • Advocate for short and long term improvements to Impossible Crossing and other unsafe locations.
    • Advocate for comprehensive improvements to the highest crash state arterials, starting with Murfreesboro. 
    • Use advocacy and communications to ensure Vision Zero educational efforts focus on preventing most dangerous behaviors, and not on the victims.
    • Advocate for the de-emphasis of traffic enforcement, and the development of unbiased, data driven alternatives
  • Expand who is speaking about road safety.
    • Find and develop many diverse, strong spokespeople besides staff
    • Establish and fund the Nashville Families for Safe Streets chapter, support member led campaigns
  • Reduce vehicle speeds in Nashville on high crash streets
    • Reduce speeds on high injury network by advocating for policy, speed limits, and design
    • Pass state legislation to allow speed cameras and/or red light cameras
    • Build a coalition in Nashville to support automated enforcement

Dignified Infrastructure for All

  • Expand who is involved in transportation planning and uplift under-represented voices from those who have the most at stake
    • Conduct grassroots outreach along Murfreesboro Pike and other focus neighborhoods to find new allies and perspectives
    • Create a Murfreesboro Pike Community Vision for how to improve active transportation along the corridor.
    • Develop a program to identify, educate and support active transportation leaders from Black, indigenous,communities of color and low income communities
    • Educate neighborhood associations and other community leaders about active transportation principles and how to influence transportation decisions 
    • Develop an Ambassador program where we provide stipends to low-income and people of color for their participation in active transportation advocacy and outreach 
  • Build a movement to support better streets
    • Develop pathways of engagement into our advocacy
    • Develop ways to connect students and families from SRTS to the rest of our work
    • Develop ways for participants in our WBN events to become more engaged in our advocacy work
    • Foster a strong walk bike coalition of elected officials, and ensure our organization is respected by Metro Council
  • Advocate for streets that people 8-80 years old would want to walk, or roll on
    • Advocate for the build out of priority protected bikeway network
    • Develop multiple volunteer-led grassroots campaigns going on each year. Train volunteers to support in this effort.
  • Advocate for streets that show respect for those on foot:
    • Research and advocate for innovative funding mechanisms for sidewalks and other infrastructure, potentially including impact fees, parking fees, and other permit fees.
    • Advocate for dedicated funding for transit and pedestrian infrastructure on transit corridors.
    • Educate Nashville about and advocate for pedestrian-centric street design, including: traffic lights, curb cuts, street lighting, HAWK signals, crosswalk spacing, pedestrian-scale lighting and other roadway elements that improve the pedestrian experience.
  • Advocate for more inviting streets for all
    • Protect our existing infrastructure by advocating for policies that make it harder to close key pedestrian, bicycle and transit routes for special events or construction.
    • Advocate for expansion of the Traffic Calming program, to support reduction of speed limits on neighborhood streets.
    • Advocate for policies so that all new Metro projects are bike/pedestrian friendly, including schools and MDHA projects.

Culture Shift towards Respecting Multimodal Transportation

  • Create more opportunities for people to try walking and bicycling
    • Work with the city to host or support multiple car-free days each year (Open Streets or Play Streets)
    • Increase diversity of participants in regularly occurring WBN events to match diversity of the city, and intentionally recruit groups that aren’t represented
    • Provide bicycle rodeos to teach kids how to ride safely
    • Grow Walk to School Day to include more schools and more students at each school
    • Host a Tour de Nash each year. Expand the ride’s reach within Nashville and grow the ride’s fundraising impact. 
    • Host regularly occurring walk and ride events in focus neighborhoods to attract new members and followers
    • Host regularly occurring walks and rides in partnership with supporting businesses to engage/build core audience and increase membership. 
  • Increase in the number of multi-modal trips in Nashville
    • Advocate for new SRTS transportation policies at MNPS
    • Provide Safe Route to Schools programming to focus schools in order to shift how families get to school. 
    • Provide free bicycle education to those who are interested in riding but not comfortable in doing so. Show that this increases people who ride bikes for transportation 
    • Pass a city-wide Travel Demand Management Policy that requires all downtown companies to have a TDM plan
    • Provide free bicycle valet at major events to reduce car trips
    • Collaborate with other organizations, including NCDC, Nashville Connector, MCRU, Transit Now, Greenways for Nashville to support their efforts to increase multi-modal trips.
  • Create a cultural shift in how public views traffic crashes -- as not inevitable and not accidents
    • Work with major media outlets so that they use “crash” instead of “accident” and report info about location conditions instead of personal responsibility angle
    • Work with law enforcement to educate officers (and MNPD/THSO leadership) about language (crash vs. accident and using non-victim blaming language), bike/ped laws, and crash reporting best practices

Transportation Justice 

  • Advocate for mobility justice
      • Advocate for including equity when prioritizing public active transportation projects, including traffic calming, sidewalks and bikeways.
      • Advocate for genuine public engagement on transportation projects and every step of the process that centers those who have most at stake, particularly those occurring in communities of color so that walking and bicycling projects reflect the needs of the existing residents in which they are being installed
      • Partner with and amplify other groups that are focused on fighting displacement, over-enforcement, sexism, racism, able-ism, and other forms of discrimination that impact the ability of Nashvillians to comfortably and safely move through our city.
    • Enact our 2020 - 2022 Anti-Racism Plan in order to identify and counteract racism and other inequities embedded within Nashville’s transportation system, our work and within our organization (see appendix)
      • Structure our organization to ensure we are prepared, empowered and equipped to use an  anti-racist framework
      • Form intentional partnerships to build solidarity with peer groups who work with populations that are facing mobility challenges.
      • Introduce new programming and modify existing programming to incorporate anti-racist practices into our daily activities. 
      • Advocate for policies to combat racism in how we plan and how we police our streets, and be an ally to other groups also doing so. 
      • In 2021 revamp our communications and communications systems to ensure we are speaking to all of Nashville
    • Continue to center equity and anti-racism in our work long-term
      • Consider updating or creating a new anti-racism plan in 2022
      • Track our progress in achieving the goals outlined in our 2020-2022 Anti-Racism Plan


Sustainable Walk Bike Organization

  • Increase our organization’s diversity and reach
    • Work to ensure our membership, staff, and board diversity more closely match the city and reflect communities where we are working in terms of income, geography, and race
    • Increase number of members to 1000 by 2025 
    • Build Walk Bike Nashville’s brand recognition, particularly build connection between Tour de Nash and Open Streets, and Walk Bike Nashville
    • Expand our brand so Walk Bike Nashville is also connected to health, protecting the environment, and a broader definition of mobility 
  • Maintain Fiscal Responsibility
    • Manage all grants and reports successfully and efficiently.
    • Conduct an audit of our finances every other year
    • Maintain 6+ months in savings
  • Develop enough funds to support our needs
    • Develop plan for financial support at the end of the ATP Grant
    • Host successful fundraising events: Tour de Nash, Walk Bike Bash, Plateau to Percy Bike Tour
    • Increase diversity of funding to help us be recession proof. Goal of 30% gov’t grants, 10% foundation grants, 25% Sponsorship, and 15% membership, 15% Fundraising events, 5% program fees
  • Ensure we have the staff required to complete our mission
    • Support professional development opportunities for staff
    • Expand our advocacy and grassroot outreach capacity, through either hiring or training existing staff
    • Continue to ensure staff benefits are competitive with our market peers
    • Ensure Walk Bike Nashville is a positive, rewarding place to work
  • Continue to develop a strong board that meets the needs of the organization
    • Board makeup matches racial, class and gender diversity of city
    • 100% of board meets goal of giving/raising personally significant amount
    • 100% of board meets attendance goals
    • Strong plan for board and leadership cycle


2020-2022 WBN Plan to be Anti-Racist

As advocates for safe streets for all, Walk Bike Nashville recognizes that people’s experiences differ greatly on our streets based on the color of their skin. In order to ensure all Nashvillians can walk or bike safely in our streets, it is insufficient to simply address dangers posed by cars. We must also address how systemic racism impacts the safety of people of color in public space. 

Like many U.S. cities, Nashville has a history of racist urban planning practices. Our history includes the implementation of zoning that limited housing near downtown, which disrupted existing communities of color and prevented certain neighborhoods from growing and prospering. Our history also includes decisions to locate unattractive infrastructure that pollutes the environment in communities of color -- like the placement of the interstate through North Nashville. These policies and practices were wrong, caused harm and left many people distrustful of Nashville’s urban planning efforts. In recent years, Metro departments have made decisions about our planning, whether intentional or unintentional, that resulted in unfair allocation of infrastructure resources and failed to address inequities created in the previous century. 

Today, institutional racism pervades our streets. This racial injustice impacts which communities receive traffic safety improvements and which drivers police choose to stop. Black people are more likely to be killed in traffic crashes and also killed by police during routine or unjustified traffic stops. Communities of color also frequently suffer disproportionately from lack of sidewalks, lack of trees, disconnected street networks, and heavy traffic because of racist urban planning choices, leaving these communities to disportionately suffer from adverse health effects, including asthma, reduced lung function, and more.

Spurred by the current national conversation, we are more aware than ever that not being racist is not enough; we must be anti-racist. We must do more to address systemic racism in transportation and ensure our advocacy for safe streets does no harm. 

This moment also demands we not only look around us to address racism, but also within our own organization.

Here are some steps we as a staff and board commit to within our organization:

Walk Bike Nashville will structure itself to ensure we are prepared, empowered and equipped to be anti-racist.

  • Host regular conversations among staff about race and white supremacy, particularly about experiences we have or learn of during our work. We will start by having a regularly planned meeting every other month to discuss whether our work is anti-racist and who our work is serving and how we are living into our values.
  • Establish an ethical demographic tracking system in our database. This will help us reflect on what communities we are resourcing and make the necessary adjustments in our programming to best reflect the demographics of our city
  • Be willing to learn from our mistakes, be willing to call each other in (read more),  when needed, and establish HR guidelines that facilitate growth from mistakes:
  • Support staff  and voluntary board attendance of trainings about systemic racism training on a semi-annual basis until 2022. In 2022 WBN staff and board will reflect and adjust plan as necessary. 
  • Incorporate systemic racism educational opportunities into board meetings, board retreats and board events (for example, the board walk in November, 2020). 
  • Revise hiring processes to ensure that our staff reflects the communities we serve:
    • Take the time and spend the money to intentionally ensure a diverse pool of candidates, if the pool of candidates is not reflective of Nashville demographics, staff and board will review the job description and make the necessary changes. 
  • Consider lived experience and ability to establish trust with communities of color when hiring, not just active transportation background or college degrees.
  • Ensure we have resources necessary to provide adequate training and on-going support, so that staff from non-transportation backgrounds or from communities of color have the support they need to succeed.
  • Review Board Nominations Procedure and Board Agreement so that we can recruit a more diverse board, reflective of the diversity of the city. Set specific benchmarks for the increasing diversity of the board.
    • Create a pipeline for BIPOC for board service through intentional training and investing in people. This can look like paid internships for BIPOC people, Investing in BIPOC bicyclist and pedestrian leaders through coalitions support, event support, and trainings. 
    • Establish a Board Committee to continue conversation that will lead to concrete steps  about diversity and anti-racism within the board/staff and within our work.
  • Ensure the update to our strategic plan currently underway, prioritizes efforts to address systemic racism and resource Black, indigenous and communities of color. 

Walk Bike Nashville will form intentional partnerships ..

In our work we are often working with groups that are facing many simultaneous inequities, and we understand that many times our issues of mobility are seen as less urgent. We believe that access to a fair and equitable system of transportation is a right for all.  We understand that when people are facing housing insecurity, unemployment, underemployment, systemic discrimination, and other issues, understandably mobility is moved down the urgency list, but is often connected to these other larger issues. 

However, in order for WBN to do the long term work of community-led advocacy we need to be present and visible to identify points of alignment with other groups for long term work.  For this reason, we feel it necessary to name building intentional partnerships with organizations and groups that might not be transportation focused but work with those who face mobility issues. 

Intentionally partner with organizations that are working to address systemic racism. 

  • Mission creep is always a concern, but because we believe systemic racism is a known barrier to safe, equitable transportation, it follows that supporting organizations that are engaged in anti-racism work fits within our mission. 

Walk Bike Nashville will introduce new programming and modify existing programming to incorporate anti-racist practices into our daily activities. 

  • Start and maintain a book club about Systemic Racism in Transportation for staff, board and members until Jan 2022 and then staff and board will make a decision on its purpose and effectiveness. 
  • Host quarterly conversations with members and supporters to discuss our programing and policy work and receive input from community members.
  • Be intentional about who we invite to speak at our educational events and who we recommend for events hosted by others, including panels and forums, to ensure the voices presented are representative of the Nashville community.
  • Expand language accessibility for srts work -- goal of speaking to 80% of students & families at focus schools.
  • Assess all our current programing for deficit, issues, etc. during our 2021 planning. By Dec. 31, 2020, create an inventory of issues to be discussed/considered/addressed during 2021.
  • Commit to deeper involvement with and investment in our two focus neighborhoods: North Nashville and Murfreesboro Pike.  
  • Support Black and POC Owned Businesses wherever we can. 

Within our policy work, Walk Bike Nashville will be an ally to combat racism in how we plan and how we police our streets. 

Traffic Enforcement and the Police 

  • Develop and promote a recommended approach to de-emphasize enforcement within Vision Zero efforts, and identify and support alternative solutions to over-reliance on the use of armed cops for traffic enforcement.
    • Host a Vision Zero Speaker Series webinar and consider other educational opportunities to discuss our recommended approach. 
  • Begin conversations and education in Nashville around best practices for automated enforcement (speed cameras). See this article.
  • Advocate for funding for self-enforcing street designs (traffic calming etc)
  • Oppose pedestrian enforcement tactics: until we have sufficient, safe pedestrian infrastructure it is inequitable and ineffective to actively enforce pedestrian laws.
  • Aggressively advocate for the reduction of extensive police presence as a prerequisite for Open Streets.

Urban Planning Practices

  • Conduct an audit of our advocacy priorities for anti-racism each year, assess whether they meet our antiracism goals, and adjust if necessary to ensure that they do.
  • Actively advocate to ensure planning processes are representative of Nashville. Local communities and neighborhood leaders should have leadership of the street planning process, especially Black people, people in low-income communities, and people of color who have been left out of transportation decision-making or actively harmed through transportation projects for too long.
  • Advocate for inclusion of racial and economic equity within all prioritization processes for traffic calming, sidewalks, and other active transportation investments. Assess current city prioritization methods in 2021, to determine whether they are racial and economically inclusive.
  • Whenever we present data, highlight racial disparities we find and be attuned that data collection is at times flawed. An example to consider is relying on police reports for pedestrian crashes will not be as effective in communities where high distrust of the police occurs. 
  • Advocate for policies that support equitable deployment of micromobility, including deployment of shared scooters/bikes in communities of color and well-supported programs to help people of color access scooters/bikeshare. 

Walk Bike Nashville will revamp our communications and communications systems to ensure we are speaking to all of Nashville.

  • Analyze our current communication strategies to assess who we are targeting, if it reflects a racial diverse audience, and how to expand our messaging to be racially and linguistically inclusive.
    • Develop a survey to better understand how members see Walk Bike Nashville and our work. This survey can be distributed through our contacts/members/listserve. (Winter 20201). 
  • Be intentional about the content we share on our social channels (as well as through other means of communication) to ensure we are incorporating diverse perspectives into our communications with our members and supporters.
  • Addressing language accessibility. Nashville is home to dozens of languages, we commit to expanding our most urgent communication to Spanish in 2021 and plan on reflecting on that process in Q4 of 2021 in order to expand to another language by 2022.

Background: Articles that inspired and influenced this document