News & Notes
September 14, 2017
ICYMI: The nation's commuters are ditching public transit, and here's why
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry faces a tough road ahead as she aims to sell her $6 billion mass-transit plan to the city’s voters. Everyone’s favorite thing to hate these days are the increasing traffic jams, and yet nationally, commuters are sticking with their cars more and more.
The cause? Keith Millhouse, a transportation expert based in Southern California, said the nation’s transit slump can be pegged to the sector’s symbiotic relationship to gas prices, although other factors also are at play. A growing economy has put money in pockets, and that empowers more consumers to buy cars. And then there is the factor of time, not to mention the rapid rise in popularity of competitively priced ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, he said.
September 14, 2017
NashBizJrl Editorial: Mass transit doesn't equal 'less gridlock'
I’m for transit. It’s good for business, easing the movement of employees around the region. It’s good for economic development, helping lure newcomers to town. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for quality of life.
It will not fix our traffic jam.
Mayor Megan Barry launched her campaign last weekend to get Nashville voters to pay for transit with a petition drive in Germantown. She’s aiming for a referendum in May 2018, asking voters to increase taxes to help cover the potential $6 billion cost for her regional mass-transit plan. The campaign launched with a pro-transit coalition of 37 organizations called Transit for Nashville, including business powerhouses like the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and several industry associations. The slogan for the group is this: “Less gridlock. More time for what matters.”
That sounds great, but here’s the problem: Transportation experts across the country, including Nashville’s very own, will tell you that mass transit does not remedy traffic congestion.
September 13, 2017
Coalition of nearly 40 groups backs Mayor Barry's transit push
The full lineup of organizations backing Mayor Megan Barry's highly-anticipated transit referendum was revealed at a petition kick-off Saturday.
The coalition, called Transit for Nashville, boasts a roster of nearly 40 organizations throughout the region,m including some usual suspects such as Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, both long-backers of mass transit locally.
September 13, 2017
Leaders finally decide how to widen Columbia Avenue in Franklin
Even after outcry from businesses lined along the highway, Franklin's leaders have decided, by a 5-3 vote, to widen Columbia Avenue to five lanes between Downs Boulevard to the Mack Hatcher Parkway intersection.
August 30, 2017
Transit Coalition Quietly forms to boost Mayor Barry's funding referendum in Nashville
In the four months since Mayor Megan Barry kicked off her push for a referendum next year on funding mass transit in Nashville, she's offered few details about the undertaking or the proposal itself.But behind the scenes, the campaign has quietly started as a group of transit boosters and allies of the mayor organize a coalition to support dedicated funding for transit.
August 29, 2017
Mayor Barry's office explores underground transit for downtown
The city is looking at another option for bringing mass transit to downtown Nashville: go underground.
Mayor Megan Barry's office is exploring what it would take to put light rail underground through downtown, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.
A potential downtown underground light rail system comes at a time when regional mobility is more a conversation piece than ever, with Barry slated to unveil a financing plan this fall that she ultimately hopes to take to voters in a May referendum. One of the biggest issues facing Barry's team as it tackles mass transit is how to move people around downtown more effectively. As the city's impending referendum inches closer, the pressure to solve the downtown riddle is intensifying.
August 28, 2017
Greenways attract Nashville home buyers, developers
As Nashville’s system of greenways grows, it will make the city more walkable and bikeable and become an alternative means of transportation connecting parks, neighborhoods and the transit system, said Mark Deutschmann, founder of Village Real Estate Services and Core Development Services. He also is chair of Urban Land Institute Nashville and board president of Greenways for Nashville. “Walkability allows an opportunity for affordable living, since transportation is typically the number two expense of a household. As the chair of the Urban Land Institute Nashville District Council, we have identified transportation, healthy corridors and affordable living as our top priorities,” he said.
August 28, 2017
Rover public transportation seeks input to enhance system
Rover, the City's public transportation service is seeking public input for a study on how Rover operates and service can be enhanced. The request for public comment coincides with a City of Murfreesboro Transportation Department initiative to conduct a comprehensive study of the Rover transportation service.
"We want to ensure that Rover continues to provide effective and efficient service to riders of the system," said Transportation Director Jim Kerr. "Fully analyzing the system, including whether current resources should be reallocated for maximum public benefit, is one of the main objectives of the operational analysis."
August 25, 2017
Philips to bring 800 new jobs to Nashville area
Philips, a global health technology business based in the Netherlands, will bring 800 high-paying jobs to Middle Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday.
Known for its household consumer products, Philips has a health care technology segment that employs about 71,000 workers in 100 countries. It focuses on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and home care and has several Middle Tennessee health care clients.
Craig Gruchacz, Global Business Services leader for North America at Philips said the company had not yet determined a location for its facilities but is looking at multiple spots in the greater Nashville area.
August 25, 2017
Williamson County 2-4 years from referendum vote on transportation funding, mayor says
Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson said his county will likely need two to four years before it follows Nashville with a referendum vote on funding transportation projects.
The drumbeat for a regional transportation solution grows louder each year, with leaders often describing the congestion problem with a sense of urgency. A $6 billion plan has been endorsed by 28 regional mayors, and Metro Nashville will vote on a funding referendum in May. But for surrounding counties, voting on how to fund any large-scale plan is still years away.