During this past summer, the volume has been turned down on the public discussion of “rapid transit” and The Amp in Nashville. But the discussion has continued, and the importance of the discussion has become more important than ever. Here are some of the highlights:
1. The need for rapid transit is growing: It seemed as though new real estate developments were announced almost daily during the summer. The density at the geographic center of Middle Tennessee is becoming greater. More people bring with them more cars. Traffic is getting worse, and widening our streets is not an option. We need an alternative to traffic. Click here for more on news about developments along the Amp corridor.
2. NashvilleNext turns attention to our future transit needs: The need for transit was brought home at a NashvilleNext forum in August by Gabe Klein, former transportation chief for Chicago. One thing Klein said that resonated was this: “You won’t grow if you keep relying on cars.” He also made the case that the best kind of transit is rapid transit, and it can’t be rapid if the transit vehicles are stuck in traffic.
3. New leadership at MTA focused on The Amp as part of a larger regional plan: Stephen Bland, the new CEO of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, took the helm of the MTA on Aug. 25. Bland previously served in Pittsburgh, and is very knowledgeable about the role that a rapid transit system can play in a growing city. His first priority is to develop a long-range transit plan for Nashville. That plan will be critical in establishing the proper role for The Amp as the first leg of a new transit system.
4. The Citizens Advisory Committee is working: When Mayor Karl Dean appointed the Citizens Advisory Committee to help with The Amp, he made it clear that the goal of the group was to make the project better. They are doing that. The CAC has spent many hours reviewing plans for the eastern and central sections of The Amp’s route, and their recommendations are being incorporated by the engineering team into the final design. In September, the CAC will review the final, western section of the route. Their meetings have also provided a public forum for those with concerns about the project to make their thoughts known.
We applaud the CAC’s diligence, and we encourage its members to continue their efforts to make The Amp as successful a rapid transit project as possible, understanding that ridership will determine success, and the more rapid The Amp is, the more riders will ride it!