I guess this post will make me a “Back Seat Driver” for our next Mayor.
Yep! Go ahead and label me an “Armchair Quarterback.”
I get that – and yes, I hereby pledge to put more action behind my words starting . . . NOW!
I’m in awe of the tremendous (and mostly good) Economic Development and growth of Nashville and all of Middle Tennessee.
Mayor Karl Dean and his administration have done a great job shepherding Nashville through the “Down-Turn” and pulling off a superb recovery.
Now that we seem to be “on the other side,” I think it’s a blessing that we will have a new Mayoral administration to move some other very important matters forward.
My wish list is a short one, although these issues seem to have been enigmatic for Nashville’s Leadership for as long as I can remember. I grew up in Nashville and therefore have @ 50+ years of “experience” and observation.
Here y’go – my TOP 3 areas of EQUAL concern (Which means I don’t rank them them in any particular order):
- SCHOOLS – We consistently rank LOW in National Standings
- TRANSPORTATION – We’re on the edge of being a “Gridlock City”
- SAFETY – We might have one of TOP Police Departments in the Nation – Let’s keep it that way
This post is all about TRANSPORTATION because I believe we are WAY behind the 8 ball on this one.
Nashville is already experiencing “GridLock” darn near every day, and the root cause is obnoxiously obvious . . . There are too many cars on not enough roads.
So . . . We’ve either gotta DECREASE the number of cars on the roads, or we’ve gotta increase the capacity of the roads . . . or BOTH.
BOTH of these will be EXPENSIVE!
Mayor Dean made an unsuccessful stab at BRT with The AMP which I opposed because in my view, it didn’t address either of the real issues (Too many cars and not enough road) . . . It simply provided a “Faster” way to move people within the city.
This cost valuable time and money, even as the opponents made very clear that the REAL problem was/is too many cars coming into Nashville every morning and leaving Nashville every afternoon from adjoining burbs and cities.
Truthfully, I have been a steadfast advocate of what I believe is the only viable fix – REAL MASS TRANSIT (not contrived adaptation of the current system) in the form of RAIL.
I’ve heard lots of reasons not to pursue this from the current Mayoral administration:
- Too expensive to design, build, and maintain
- Too difficult to coordinate the adjoining Counties and Municipalities to participate
- Where would we build it?
- If we built it, would the people use it?
- It would take YEARS to build, and we need relief NOW
Perhaps I’m a delusional optimist, but I believe this can be done.
We can have our cake and eat it too 🙂
At the risk of complete over-simplification, I present to you:
Barry’s Gridlock Fix for Nashville
- BRT (Bus Rapid Transit)
- IMMEDIATELY use available assets (buses) and real property (for terminals) to stitch together BRT coming along all interstate corridors using the already existing HOV lanes and converging on Nashville’s already present (and relatively new) bus HUB in the heart of downtown.
- Establish terminals at or near already existing interstate Exits beginning closest to Nashville and radiating out in decreasing order from the most number of cars entering the interstate each morning. Yes, this will require car counts at each exit along I-65 North and South, I-40 and I-24 East and West.
- Each terminal would have dedicated NON-STOP service from the terminal to the HUB and back throughout the day using the HOV lanes
- Design the Rail System. I know some of this has already been done, and the most sensible and efficient plan I’ve heard is an Elevated rail along the median of the interstates utilizing already owned real estate.
- Building the rail system – Beginning at the HUB, work our way out out to the already operational BRT terminals. As each segment comes on-line, delete the BRT and redirect those assets for inner city transportation.
- Taking it regional! To do this, we’ll have to coordinate with Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, Cheatham, Dickson Counties etc . . .
That’s it . . .
Now, I know this won’t be as easy as I make it sound, and it probably won’t happen exactly as planned (whatever does?), but if we don’t get this thing rolling NOW, our fair city may lose “it City” status and become “Gridlock City”
One thing I’m tired of hearing:
the words “CAN’T be done”
My message to everyone saying that . . .
If that’s what you believe, and you’re in charge, you’re right!
Tomorrow, I’ll toss out my thoughts (from the “Peanut Gallery”) about how the Next Mayoral Administration might improve our SCHOOLS.