pics from THE NOOG

I spent last week in Chattanooga (which everyone—and I mean everyone—probably calls THE NOOG) for Project for Public SpacesThird International Placemaking Week. Not going to bother with a run-down of the conference, but I do want to show you some cool photos of things that THE NOOG is doing with regard to transportation and public space. Maybe Richmond can learn a thing or two from a fellow mid-sized river city? (Full disclosure, I didn’t actually hear anyone actually say “The Noog” while I was there.)

Let’s start here, with the Chattanooga Tennessee Riverfront:

The Walnut Street Bridge — used to be for cars, now for people only. 
Terraces along the Tennessee River for public access to the water in downtown Chattanooga.
The Passage is a pedestrian link between downtown Chattanooga and the Tennessee River and marks the beginning of the Trail of Tears. 
The Trail of Tears refers to the journey which forced the removal of the Cherokee tribes from Ross’ s Landing in Chattanooga to Oklahoma. Some 4000 Cherokees died before reaching Oklahoma. 

The Passage is some heavy shit. Onto some light-hearted transportation stuff:

Parking with post and curb protected bike lane! 
And bike share that’s where people want to ride (some bikes were electric-assist).
And, holy shit!—signs that say not to park in the bike lane?! You can do that?!
A free downtown circulator bus that runs “about every 5 minutes” until 11 PM.

I really like how they repurposed the first level of this block-sized parking deck with street-level commercial:

Chattanooga knows how to make cool alleyways by hanging stuff in them:

But Cooper’s Alley is the coolest:

Like Richmond, public art and murals were everywhere:

If I had one gripe, it would be that in an otherwise walkable downtown, nearly every intersection was stacked with beg buttons, requiring you to ask permission to cross the street. Crossing times were not long enough for even an able-bodied person such as myself. And if you forgot to press the button…well, wait until your turn comes back up in a few more minutes.

This one had a big-ass sign, but not many of them did. 

Did you know THE NOOG is home to THE MOONPIE? Well, it is. 

Every time I attend a conference in another city, I am reminded that the best part of a conference is the day that you have totally or mostly free to wander around on foot, take bike share, or hop on a bus and explore. I love actually experiencing a city while visiting, and Chattanooga has a lot to offer for us urbanist-type people. Wouldn’t it be cool if you went to a conference that was just a series of free days for exploring? 🤔