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  #41  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 1:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tascalisa View Post
This is a huge loss, not just for Nashville, but for other Southern cities that need and deserve proper transit networks. Cities like Memphis, Birmingham, and Jacksonville, need to see an example set by a city like Nashville. This was an opportunity for 1) Nashville to construct a first class transit system, and 2) show other Southern cities that public transit works.

First, I feel a huge loss for Nashville that this didn't pass... second, I legitimately feel like efforts for solid public transit systems in The South to a solid hit. I'm sure there are plenty in Davidson County that feel that they won, but we all know everyone was just too stupid to realize how great of an opportunity the city had.
Why would Nashville set an example for other Southern cities when Atlanta failed to do so? Atlanta has one of only 9 true rapid transit systems in the US, and it's been in place for 40 years.

The gist of it is this: you need outsiders to build a transit culture in a city that doesn't have one, and you need tremendous growth to bring in that volume of outsiders. Lifers in a city like Birmingham, Memphis, etc will never support radical changes because they're too used to seeing the city from behind a windshield. Of the Southern cities without rail systems, Nashville is the only one seeing enough growth to potentially support a rail system in the future.

But, when you get a ton of transplants in your city, suddenly it becomes too cosmopolitan and folks in smaller, slower-growing cities roll their eyes; "we don't want to be like Atlanta!" they say.

There's also Texas (is it part of the South, for the purposes of this discussion?). Texas has two large cities with extensive and growing rail systems, and a third city (Austin) with tremendous Nashville-esque growth and the potential for building a transit culture, if only their first attempt at rail didn't suck so hard.
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Last edited by ardecila; May 3, 2018 at 1:33 AM.
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  #42  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 5:52 PM
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Most of MARTA's stations outside of the downtown are in less-than-ideal locations, especially the east/west line. That's why it has failed to spur TOD's.

The Nashville system was better conceived. A similar downtown subway concept but suburban lines in the existing radial suburban avenues.
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  #43  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 7:26 PM
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Why do people think a $9 billion rail plan for Nashville makes sense? It sounds kinda absurd and guaranteed to have piss-poor ridership.
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  #44  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 8:05 PM
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Why do people think a $9 billion rail plan for Nashville makes sense? It sounds kinda absurd and guaranteed to have piss-poor ridership.
Because Gallatin, Charlotte, etc. were going to be remade as hi-density corridors. Also, it is impossible to get across downtown Nashville in an orderly fashion. The streets are super-narrow and it's basically gridlock right now.
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  #45  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 8:20 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Because Gallatin, Charlotte, etc. were going to be remade as hi-density corridors. Also, it is impossible to get across downtown Nashville in an orderly fashion. The streets are super-narrow and it's basically gridlock right now.
Why would be they be remade as high density corridors? And why would they not be high density corridors absent this vote?

And putting aside your dubious assertion that Nashville has super narrow streets and it's presently impossible to get across downtown Nashville, what does light rail have to do with any of that?

You could hardly find a city on earth more poorly suited to this plan than Nashville. It would have likely been an epic boondoggle. You have tiny core, miniscule transit orientation, few sidewalks and little urbanity. It seems this whole proposal was driven by "a big city needs to have a rail system" mindset.
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  #46  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 8:47 PM
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For 5.2 billion of transit spending at European cost levels you could have several brand new driverless underground heavy rail metro lines. Nothing like what was proposed here... the horrible US transit infrastructure cost structure bites again!
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  #47  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 10:12 PM
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[QUOTE=Crawford;8176015]

And putting aside your dubious assertion that Nashville has super narrow streets and it's presently impossible to get across downtown Nashville, what does light rail have to do with any of that?
QUOTE]

Downtown Nashville and Sobro have narrow streets. That's a fact, not a dubious assertion. The narrow streets that stretch across downtown and Sobro must cross Broadway, which is choked with pedestrians, pedal wagons, bachelorette party buses, etc.

The only way for public transportation to traverse the forest of skyscrapers and Broadway chaos is via a tunnel. The cost of the tunnel + 3 underground stations was much of the total cost of this plan. The cost of doing it as light rail is only incrementally higher than doing it as a bus-only tunnel.
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  #48  
Old Posted May 3, 2018, 11:15 PM
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^Which raises the question of whether to propose a plan at lower cost that built the light rail to the edge of downtown and build the tunnel in a later funding scheme after proof of ridership, demand and success had been established.

They should come back in two years with a proposal to build one light rail line on the busiest corridor and let the proof be in the pudding. Once the public does or does not see the benefit, the decision could be made to further pursue expansion in line with the failed referendum plan.
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  #49  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 2:26 AM
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^Which raises the question of whether to propose a plan at lower cost that built the light rail to the edge of downtown and build the tunnel in a later funding scheme after proof of ridership, demand and success had been established.

They should come back in two years with a proposal to build one light rail line on the busiest corridor and let the proof be in the pudding. Once the public does or does not see the benefit, the decision could be made to further pursue expansion in line with the failed referendum plan.

Yeah, maybe Washington, DC should have built the Red Line subway to the edge of the downtown as proof of ridership. Like just from Bethesda to Dupont Circle.

Maybe instead of having interstate highways radiate in six directions from Nashville, they should have just built one stretch from the edge of downtown to a random spot 5 miles away. Instead, they built 100+ miles all at once.

No vote. No tax increase. It just happened.
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  #50  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 2:34 AM
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If I didn't know any better I'd say you were ridiculing my comment. I don't think it's comparable at all to those sensational hypotheticals. I think the plan should have passed. But in the absence of that occurring, a piecemeal approach should at least be discussed as a possible path forward.
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  #51  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 3:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
If I didn't know any better I'd say you were ridiculing my comment. I don't think it's comparable at all to those sensational hypotheticals. I think the plan should have passed. But in the absence of that occurring, a piecemeal approach should at least be discussed as a possible path forward.
Make a very specific proposal, not a vague one.
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  #52  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 3:29 AM
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My dad has been a part of Nashville's business elite for over 20 years. He told me 10 years ago that they were studying an elevated system. Then tunnel boring technology improved and it was proven that a subway system could be dug through Nashville's super-hard rock (harder than New York's).

His main complaint about this proposed system? It wasn't big enough. But it was as big as could be done under current conditions -- that being a Republican-dominated state that refuses to contribute state money to transit.

So that means localities are on their own -- just them and whatever federal grants they can get. If federal funding returned to 1970s levels and Tennessee raised its gas tax then Nashville could get the comprehensive system that it needs, which would be the 2018 plan + a subway under West End/21st., which would add several billion to the cost.
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  #53  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 1:52 PM
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It was a difficult push from the start. In retrospect, I think a lot of people saw the defeat coming from a distance and support became cautious and somewhat tepid near the end.

I don't know what plan B is, but there is now discussion about building commuter rail to Clarksville (pop. 150,000, MSA near 300,000) forty five miles away. The right-of-way for a long abandoned RR line is still available and provides an immediate reduction in costs for building such a line. I think it will get state support also.

Last edited by MidTenn1; May 4, 2018 at 2:03 PM.
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  #54  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 2:00 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Yeah, maybe Washington, DC should have built the Red Line subway to the edge of the downtown as proof of ridership. Like just from Bethesda to Dupont Circle.
DC is highly centralized and has like 700k federal employees, all who are tax-incentivized to ride Metro, so couldn't be more different than Nashville.

Why not compare to Tokyo while you're at it?

I get it. SSP is pro-transit regardless of facts. But you could hardly find a city on the planet less suited to rail transit than Nashville. It has no plausible ingredients for decent ridership.

Rail advocates hurt the overall cause when they advocate for rail in places that clearly don't need it. Nashville has already seen this with its ridiculous commuter rail system, which carries a whole 1,000 passengers. Such advocacy delegitimizes the need for rail in places that actually need it.
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  #55  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 3:02 PM
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For relatively low cost, Nashville should take their highest estimated transit ridership corridor and do a 1 year run of a temporary BRT lite plan.

This can be done with just some traffic alterations, paint and some extra buses/drivers.

On the route, paint the right hand lane to denote it as a bus lane with right lane turning only. Back this up with some enforcement at key intersections.

Run buses every 10 to 15 minutes along the route. Give the buses the ability to hold signals green longer so they can make the light to make the route faster.

Compare ridership along the route from before and after the change. If ridership is up enough, you can keep the route permanently with plans to make it center running BRT with longer range plans to upgrade to LRT as ridership and area zoning increases.

It is possible that 1 route at a time could be done for between $5 and $7 Million a year.

All it takes is showing people what quick and reliable transit can do for their lives to begin a push towards a transit infused culture.

For some reassurance, look no further than Salt Lake City (my City). We originally turned down a plan to build a Light Rail network in the late 80's early 90's. But the local leaders knew it was something that was needed and eventually were able to get our initial line built (with the help of the Feds). This was 1999, since then we have added 6 Light Rail extensions, 90 miles of Commuter Rail, and we will have 2 BRT routes (1 opens in August of this year).

The State has seen the need for transit so much so that this Legislative session, they finally legalized the use of State funds for Mass Transit. In total, it took 19 years of gradually increasing steps to get more people to realize the necessity of transit.

It is a slow process but all it takes is 1 good project to get the ball rolling.
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  #56  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 4:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Makid View Post
For relatively low cost, Nashville should take their highest estimated transit ridership corridor and do a 1 year run of a temporary BRT lite plan.

This can be done with just some traffic alterations, paint and some extra buses/drivers.

On the route, paint the right hand lane to denote it as a bus lane with right lane turning only. Back this up with some enforcement at key intersections.

Run buses every 10 to 15 minutes along the route. Give the buses the ability to hold signals green longer so they can make the light to make the route faster.

Compare ridership along the route from before and after the change. If ridership is up enough, you can keep the route permanently with plans to make it center running BRT with longer range plans to upgrade to LRT as ridership and area zoning increases.

It is possible that 1 route at a time could be done for between $5 and $7 Million a year.

All it takes is showing people what quick and reliable transit can do for their lives to begin a push towards a transit infused culture.

For some reassurance, look no further than Salt Lake City (my City). We originally turned down a plan to build a Light Rail network in the late 80's early 90's. But the local leaders knew it was something that was needed and eventually were able to get our initial line built (with the help of the Feds). This was 1999, since then we have added 6 Light Rail extensions, 90 miles of Commuter Rail, and we will have 2 BRT routes (1 opens in August of this year).

The State has seen the need for transit so much so that this Legislative session, they finally legalized the use of State funds for Mass Transit. In total, it took 19 years of gradually increasing steps to get more people to realize the necessity of transit.

It is a slow process but all it takes is 1 good project to get the ball rolling.
For a city of 2,000,000 people, I can't imagine their not being good quality transit system.

I tell you that my cousin visited Salt Lake City during the Olympic year, and she loved the LRT system even though she is a country girl and never uses transit here.

Our city (Ottawa) with a population of less than 1.5M opens the first phase of a similar plan as the Nashville proposal with a downtown subway and surface lines going towards the suburbs. Mind you there is a transit culture in this city so one less hurdle to jump.

It also started with a trial project that served one of the local universities and was an immediate hit with the student body. So, trial or demonstration projects have merit if properly selected and almost certain to succeed. You do not want a demonstration project that is a total failure.

Now our politicians are jumping all over each other, as Phase 2 and 3 are being planned. The anticipation of the opening of Phase 1 in November is very apparent and why everybody can't wait for Phase 2 and 3, the sooner the better.

Our plan will cost a similar $5B, even more including Phase 3. The politicians just announced another 3.4 km extension to be included in Phase 2 and this goes to the outer reaches of the suburbs. People see building traffic congestion and want an alternative.

So much is the build up for the Phase 1 opening, that our sister city across the river has now approved LRT in principle as well, when they had been resistant to it in the past.

I think that it has been the experience in Salt Lake City that the public quickly gets on board and sees the benefits very quickly and generates momentum.

I find it odd that a replacement would possibly be a commuter rail project. It seems to me that this is a complementary project rather than a replacement.

What needs to take place is an urban demonstration project where success is most likely.

What has to be considered is that LRT is a city building project. It will change the dynamics of how the city develops. It will change the downtown area by making it more easy to access. Downtown will become important again.
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  #57  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 4:23 PM
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No one is going to ride a half ass BRT line and drivers will be pissed about losing a traffic lane. Lose - lose
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  #58  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 4:45 PM
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No one is going to ride a half ass BRT line and drivers will be pissed about losing a traffic lane. Lose - lose
This proves it can work. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HealthLine
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  #59  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 5:06 PM
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Cleveland isn't Nashville tho (they have a heavy rail line and other transit infrastructure)
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  #60  
Old Posted May 4, 2018, 5:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Makid View Post
For relatively low cost, Nashville should take their highest estimated transit ridership corridor and do a 1 year run of a temporary BRT lite plan.
I agree with this. If there truly is an underserved transit market in Nashville, this would be a pretty good indicator. If it's a success, then an upgrade to light rail is plausible, and might receive voter approval.
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