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Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 6:51 AM
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NASHVILLE Transit/Light Rail/BRT Proposal

Nashville will have a referendum in May on approving tax increases to fund a 26 year, 5.2 billion dollar comprehensive transit system. Here is a card with some of the primary pertinent data,



I will update with more details (some salacious) in the upcoming weeks.

Nashville > City Population, 660,000; Metro Population 1,880,000

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Old Posted Mar 8, 2018, 4:11 PM
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great news -- more power to them.

btw i have always thought this is exactly the kind of thing that is going to happen in columbus someday, america's biggest city w/o rail services, it will come all at once. lookin at you columbus!
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 9, 2018, 3:45 PM
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I hope the whole covfefe with the Mayor resigning doesn't ding this proposal... This would be transformative for the Nashville region.
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2018, 5:00 PM
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Yeah Megan Barry was by far the biggest leader of this push for transit, so I also hope her scandal and resignation doesn’t kill this initiative.

It’s a shame, because this proposal gets a lot of things right.
-it focuses on inner neighborhoods where developers can theoretically build lots of infill that supports ridership, instead of sprawling out to distant autopia suburbs like Dallas’ system or Minneapolis, St Louis, Denver.
-planners and officials seem ready to authorize dense development around stations
-rail corridors stick to major arterials, where businesses and sidewalks (usually) already exist
-subway in downtown anticipates strong downtown growth and avoids the slow travel speeds of Portland’s system

I would basically describe this as combining the best aspects of Seattle’s system (downtown rail/bus tunnel) and Houston’s (serves the heart of neighborhoods, not freeway or freight rail corridors). I don’t see much focus on park and ride, which is refreshing - the intended users of the system are existing bus riders, plus the residents of new infill developments who will mostly walk to stations.
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Last edited by ardecila; Mar 9, 2018 at 5:11 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2018, 5:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ardecila View Post
Yeah Megan Barry was by far the biggest leader of this push for transit, so I also hope her scandal and resignation doesn’t kill this initiative.

It’s a shame, because this proposal gets a lot of things right.
-it focuses on inner neighborhoods where developers can theoretically build lots of infill that supports ridership, instead of sprawling out to distant autopia suburbs like Dallas’ system or Minneapolis, St Louis, Denver.
-planners and officials seem ready to authorize dense development around stations
-rail corridors stick to major arterials, where businesses and sidewalks (usually) already exist
-subway in downtown anticipates strong downtown growth and avoids the slow travel speeds of Portland’s system

I would basically describe this as combining the best aspects of Seattle’s system (downtown rail/bus tunnel) and Houston’s (serves the heart of neighborhoods, not freeway or freight rail corridors). I don’t see much focus on park and ride, which is refreshing - the intended users of the system are existing bus riders, plus the residents of new infill developments who will mostly walk to stations.
If this was approved, I think it would a tremendous effect on the folks from down here in Birmingham who travel to Nashville frequently. Seeing proper transit in a town they like so much could turn some into transit fans. This would go a long way toward changing attitudes toward transit in The South.
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Old Posted Mar 9, 2018, 9:18 PM
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The new mayor, Briley, has been a very outspoken champion for the plan so I think we can have confidence it's in good hands. Now it's just up to the people, and lord has the last two years made me question my confidence but hopefully they will choose the future and not the past.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2018, 12:05 AM
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The TENNESSEAN recently (February 25) released polling regarding the referendum. The polling was apparently done at the height of the Mayor's scandal controversy which was revealed on January 31. From a March 4th article....highlights mine....

Quote:
The new poll, released Sunday exclusively to The Tennessean, found that 42 percent of registered voters support the plan compared with 28 percent who said they oppose it. The phone survey, taken between Feb. 8 and 19, was a sample of 723 registered voters with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.6 percentage points.

But the same poll suggests the contentious campaign is still wide open.

Thirty percent of people said they still don’t know enough to say how they will vote.

Meanwhile, how many people will head to the polls for the May 1 election — typically a low turnout election with races for judges and clerks — remains a big question.
The poll seems fairly credible indicating the opposition will need to persuade 77% of the undecided voters to kill the referendum. That's a tall mountain to climb, and I would suspect the undecided would not be motivated to go to the polls regardless of their ultimate choice.

So my call is an extrapolation of the current decideds giving a 60% to 40% win for the transit plan.

Last edited by MidTenn1; Mar 10, 2018 at 12:18 AM.
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Old Posted Mar 10, 2018, 12:54 AM
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If the officials behind the proposal were smart, they'd look at how Doug Jones' campaign for Senate was able to get out the vote in the Birmingham area, specifically Jefferson County. About the same population. Jefferson County has a larger minority population, but Davidson's is large enough that energizing it could really push a strong voter turnout.

Seems like a strong voter turnout will indicate a likely approval. Some folks gotta start workin' the masses!
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Old Posted Mar 11, 2018, 7:02 PM
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A card depicting the Nashville proposed underground section of the light rail line through downtown as compared to the Seattle existing line.



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Old Posted Mar 11, 2018, 7:30 PM
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That second Seattle photo is a Downtown tunnel where buses and trains share the same lane (buses will leave soon). It was built as a bus tunnel originally, then retrofitted for rail. That's why it looks like street pavement. The stations are three lanes wide so a bus can theoretically break down and not be in the way. The first photo is part of a rail-only extension that opened a couple years ago.

Your stations should be much easier to build than ours. One platform vs. our two in the Downtown stations, the lack of a third lane in the stations, one set of stairs/escalators/elevators instead of two per station, and presumably shorter stations...ours are 400' long, while the train in your first post might fit a 200' station (or maybe they're planning for longer trains, which is probably a good idea as the city grows?).
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Old Posted Mar 11, 2018, 9:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tascalisa View Post
If the officials behind the proposal were smart, they'd look at how Doug Jones' campaign for Senate was able to get out the vote in the Birmingham area, specifically Jefferson County. About the same population. Jefferson County has a larger minority population, but Davidson's is large enough that energizing it could really push a strong voter turnout.

Seems like a strong voter turnout will indicate a likely approval. Some folks gotta start workin' the masses!
Doug Jones won for obvious reasons(so obvious I don't have to mention it), it wasn't because of some special way he went about his campaign or its turnout operation.
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2018, 3:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
That second Seattle photo is a Downtown tunnel where buses and trains share the same lane (buses will leave soon).
...... The first photo is part of a rail-only extension that opened a couple years ago.
Thanks for the clarification, mhays. We will have short sections where electric buses will share the tunnel to drop of passengers directly, but most of the mile long tunnel will be two tubes.

And ardecila, you are right about mixing rail and traffic (and pedestrians) on the two-lane Fifth Avenue street downtown. It would have been a cluster foul-up of historical proportions.

tascalisa, I hope the plan is an inspiration to other southern cities on the cusp of rapid growth like Birmingham and Memphis. The pro-transit people have raised $1.4 million for ads and groundwork and seem well set and centrally organized, with the full force of the City behind them, to push this referendum through.

The opposition does not seem as well structured to put up a fight although some significant money has flowed in and some ads are being run.
I like the plans chances. But as we have all learned, don't celebrate until the votes have been counted.
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Old Posted Mar 12, 2018, 4:13 PM
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I'm really impressed by this and very much hope it passes. The subway is such a great selling point. Comparing this to Nashville's now-canceled Amp BRT plan makes me think of Daniel Burnham's "make no small plans" quote.
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2018, 12:19 AM
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Here is an implementation schedule...

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Old Posted Mar 14, 2018, 7:46 PM
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^so planning is officially underway for light rail? Or not yet?
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Old Posted Mar 14, 2018, 10:12 PM
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I suppose the work done so far in the form of general route selection in preparation for the referendum constitutes as planning. Certainly not the "engineering" phase.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2018, 3:11 PM
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Well, it's on.....the election, that is.

There are exactly two weeks to go (May 1st) before the referendum to approve the tax increase to fund the transit plan is concluded and votes are counted. Early voting is strong and said to be double what was expected. But no new polling has been released, so there is no indication of which side has the momentum.

Both sides of the debate are well funded and have been running a lot of ads. The arguments against generally state the plan has no money for road improvements or interstate widening and the pro-transit backers state the plan will provide jobs. There is not much 'science' being discussed either way. The anti-plan proponents rely primarily on outside, 'dark money' as the proponents of the plan have accused. So, the campaign has gotten a little nasty with Koch Brothers (anti-plan funders) firing back at those accusations.

Still, I am optimistic about the plans passage as early polls showed a significant edge for the plan. The problem with early polls is that sometimes they reflect an early coalescence of supporters around one candidate or cause and leaves little room for additional growth.

It's all about the turnout, though. And there is no news about any details regarding who is voting. So, it's anybody's guess as to who will prevail.


Last edited by MidTenn1; Apr 19, 2018 at 1:24 PM.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2018, 3:37 PM
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^ thanks so much for the update and of course keep us posted -- its a remarkable and transformative plan.
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Old Posted Apr 17, 2018, 5:09 PM
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Momentum is building across North America for cities to modernize their transit systems. Cities that don't do so, will eventually economically behind. There is growing demand amongst the younger generation to not be as car dependant as in the past.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2018, 1:04 AM
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This is a very well-designed plan -- as someone commented above, combines the best of the Houston and Seattle systems. This thing is actually going to reshape Nashville around walkable transit corridors, not just serve suburban park-and-rides.

Also, I expect that after this passes there will be a push to fund a subway under Broadway/West End. Will connect the Vanderbilt area with Downtown and possibly continue under the river to the stadium and then link up with the planned line on Gallitin. That would open up the parking lots surrounding the stadium to downtown-type development.

In fact, if the city owns that, they could fund such a system in large part by auctioning off parking lot parcels at very high prices.
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