Mayor Karl Dean this morning threw his weight behind recommendations from consulting firm Parson Brinckerhoff to go with bus rapid transit over streetcars for the busy West End/downtown corridor. The cost of building out a two-lane line through East Nashville's Five Points area would be $136 million, less than half that of a similar streetcar plan.
Metro installed a light BRT system on East Nashville’s Gallatin Avenue in 2009. Under consideration for Broadway-West End is a more sophisticated BRT version in which buses would occupy lanes exclusively.
Paul Skoutelas, transit market director of Parsons Brinckerhoff, said consultants explored four options for the east-west corridor: doing nothing, light rail, a streetcar and BRT. He said consultants emphasized finding an option that could begin operating within a short timeframe.
Two steering committees will be formed. A Technical Advisory Committee is to include representatives of MTA, the Metro Planning Department, the Nashville Area Metro Planning Organization, Metro Public Works Department and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. A Corridor Steering Committee is to include local businesses, organizations and other stakeholders.
“The Hamilton Springs proposal is a great example of community and economic development around mass transit,” noted Michael Skipper, director of the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is responsible for planning and prioritizing projects for federal funds. “Hamilton Springs has the opportunity to be a trendsetter for the region in delivering a more sustainable way of living for a growing number of Middle Tennesseans - without asking them to sacrifice affordability, convenience, or prosperity.If recommended by the commission next week, the project is scheduled to go to the Lebanon City Council on Feb. 1 for first reading.