Scenario 3: Modest Improvements

Modest Improvements would make existing services more robust and make transit more convenient and attractive in areas that are already served. The transit system would have little to no impact on future development patterns. Ridership gains would only be expected to increase along with population growth.

Regional Potential Transit Improvements: Click to Enlarge
MTA Scneario 3
Davidson County Potential Transit Improvements: Click to Enlarge



  1. Rebecca Katz says

    This scenario is the only one among the three that does not include plans for a BRT with dedicated lanes along West End Avenue and other routes. Therefore, I support it, because I believe BRT, particularly along West End, is not a viable option without so much disruption and such a high cost that it fails the cost/benefit test.

    Nashvillians engaged in a HUGE battle over the Amp a few years ago in part because the city government, chamber of commerce and “committee of insiders” recruited to sell this plan to Nashvillians accentuated the positives and ignored the negatives, which were significant:

    – 3 interstate overpasses that can only be widened for BRT at significant cost (so the end result is that cars loss a lane at already congested intersections to accommodate buses);
    – Need to expand width of roads west of 440 to accommodate would require eminent domain in an expensive residential area (the choice is either expand the roadway to provide dedicated lanes to buses or provide car traffic with only 1 lane in either direction);
    – The traffic delays due to lengthy construction of dedicated BRT lanes would take years of BRT service to break even.

    Another issue is that BRT promoters claim that BRT is “more comfortable” and desirable without pointing out that at least half of the capacity of BRT buses is for standing passengers. One major advantage of riding a bus–as proposed in this scenario–is that you can read–not possible if you’re standing.

    Truthfully, I’d like to see an amalgam of these 3 scenarios that prioritizes feasible projects over those, like full BRT along West End Avenue (it’s also proposed along Hillsboro in Scenario 1–a great idea and badly needed, but where the hell are they going to put it?) over those where BRT is likely to create more traffic problems than it resolves for the local residents who must use the major arteries every day to reach locations not easily accessible via public transit even when the entire master plan is finished.

    I’d like to see an honest assessment of the negatives as well as the positives of Scenarios 1 and 2, so that we can make well-informed decisions. With transit, Nashville is like a cancer patient that’s been offered a heavy-dose regimen of radiation, chemotherapy and major surgery without a corresponding analysis of whether these treatments are going to cure the disease and whether their cost to quality of life is too great to consider them.

  2. says

    These are my initial comments pending the release of all of the supporting reports.

    I voted Scenario 2 best with 4 stars but in the secondary survey I supported modifications to Scenario 3 as the ideal alternative. It is a better place to start because Scenario 3 made “Improvements” instead of introducing fatal flaws as nMotion overreached on Scenarios 2 and 3.

    I like RapidBus: it doesn’t take up a whole lane, goes pretty fast and can turn the lights green. I only wish MTA could send one out to Goodlettsville but they can’t, not even for $5.4 billion. People in Goodlettsville go two places: Downtown and Rivergate. Even if MTA could send a bus to Goodlettsville for $10 billion it would turn around and go back to Downtown since to do otherwise would violate two transit dogmas: 1. Everybody only goes Downtown and 2. Loops are bad. The nMotion process is supposed to purge transit thinking of #1 and #2 is not applicable in this case (because it is not trying to be a one-way collector).

    Ditto for southern Davidson County: toss out dogma #1 and let the RapidBus bring some people from Nolensville Pike to Hickory Hollow in one fluid motion. Would it kill anyone to send a RapidBus to Bellevue? Oh, half of them want to go to Vandy/West End? There’s a route for that. See the document linked to my name above and the map at–COU.kc23KZ3N_q_4

    Here is how to make Scenario 3 into a great transit system:

    Light Rail to Gallatin, Murfreesboro and Franklin but not what is in Scenario 1. Light Rail document says speeds up to 65mph, I want 80mph! Stops every 4-5 miles. Compelling! It probably means highway median access since CSX right of way appears to be unavailable. Is nMotion serious about blasting a train down the middle of Gallatin Pike and Nolensville Pike at 65mph?? I’ll bet that they are thinking about putting stops close together too. From the report: Most riders prefer faster service.

    Streetcar to downtown: There appears to be ample evidence for Streetcars as a development incentive (with rezoning). There is also plenty of evidence that streetcars are slow, 7mph, and DO NOT do much for tourism development. So, you wouldn’t put a streetcar in your heavily traveled arterial, where development has already occurred, and into your historic tourism district. Streetcars carry your car-free workforce from high density living to high density office and commercial. I think that two streetcars routes on Church/Woodland Streets and on 3rd Ave from the fairgrounds to Metro Center can make sense. Again, see the map at–COU.kc23KZ3N_q_4

    So, the elements of my preferred transit system: Express Bus on the shoulder, fast Light Rail, Rapid Bus in three big loops and through Downtown, other frequent local and crosstown service, downtown circulators, and collectors serving the RapidBus routes, local points of interest and transit oriented development districts.

    Please, please, please people: take your analysis/experience into the second survey and tell nMotion which ideas are most worthwhile. I invite you to read the report with my conclusions by clicking on my name above.

    Roy Wellington