Dean, transit officials give update on East-West connector, defend West End route

Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:32pm
041113 AMP BRT topper.jpg


Metro transit officials provided an update on the East-West Connector project Thursday afternoon, presenting travel time analysis, updated ridership projections and an official name for the proposed bus rapid transit service.

The current timeline for the project shows service beginning in 2016.

In a meeting at downtown’s Music City Central, with Mayor Karl Dean and several Metro Council members in attendance, Jim McAteer, director of planning for the Metro Transit Authority, presented a summary of the project’s second phase, focused on preliminary engineering and design.

McAteer reiterated the rationale behind the decision to use the West End corridor as the route for the project — a decision that has been questioned in recent months by community activists and council members in North Nashville as well as along Charlotte Avenue — emphasizing that the central artery serves as Nashville’s “Main Street.”

The summary also highlighted BRT’s projected impact on traffic and travel times along the corridor. Projections included in the report showed that, in 10 years, an individual using BRT to travel from Saint Thomas Hospital to Bridgestone Arena would arrive about twice as fast as someone travelling by car.

Officials expect a ridership of more than 1.6 million in the first year of operation, based on ridership forecasts, and said that number is projected to grow to 2.5 million by 2022.

Consultants from Nashville-based marketing communications agency GS&F were also on hand to unveil the proposed name for the service: The Amp. The name, according to a MTA release, is “intended to suggest forward movement and appeal to riders and non-riders.”

“The name is good,” Dean told reporters after the presentation. “It suggests energy, it has a Music City tie. I like the name.”

As for where local funds for The Amp will come from, Dean didn’t offer any specifics.

“That’s something we’ll get to when we get to it,” he said. “But I do think this is the type of investment that the city needs to make. We’re looking for somewhere around [43] percent, or that area, from the federal government. We’re looking for an investment from the state. And I think the city needs to participate and have skin in the game, which we will.”

The project is expected to cost an estimated $174 million, made up of federal, state and local funds. Metro is seeking $75 million from the federal government, or about 43 percent of the cost, but Dean said he couldn’t say when the city would apply for those funds, as the federal government is not yet ready to receive applications.

The city is also seeking 20 percent of the funds from the state, and 3 percent from the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization. Metro would have to come up with the remaining 34 percent.

Asked about the frustrations of community members and elected officials in North Nashville and along Charlotte Avenue, who have expressed concern that they’re being left out of the project and its potential benefits, Dean said the West End corridor is the one most likely to draw federal dollars.

“You also need to be in an area where there’s a density there, in terms of people living there that can support it,” he said. “And in terms of the ridership, this is the corridor that the federal government will support. Federal funding to this is essential. As we say, it’s about [43] percent. So you have to do it along a corridor that the federal government’s going to be supportive of.”

Dean did say, however, that he would “love to see” the city “take a hard look” at bringing a BRT lite service, like those on Gallatin Pike and Murfreesboro Pike, to Charlotte Avenue “sometime in the near future.”


21 Comments on this post:

By: Loner on 4/12/13 at 5:27

Again, we have a red state begging for millions from Uncle Sam....I thought that Tennessee was thinking about secession again....these friggin' beggar states are like leeches on the body politic...sucking the nothing in return, other than whiny complaints.

So, who's going to ride these buses? Who's getting the kickbacks on this sweetheart deal? Looks like another boondoggle, in the embryonic stage.

By: Loner on 4/12/13 at 5:29

I do like the name:'s an acronym.....Another Mismanaged Project.

By: Rocket99 on 4/12/13 at 7:16

I totally disagree with the thought that the West End corridor is the best choice. Personally, I believe the Charlotte route all the way out to the Wal Mart/River Road area is a better choice. West End is the easy choice because it will take a lot less work to get it up and running and also easier to showcase. Most of the people who live in the general West End area will not ride the bus because it's not the status symbol they seek.

Not sure if it's still true but, at one time, the best bus service in Nashville was to the Belle Meade area and that was due to the fact that the old money in that area wanted a good way for their "help" to be able to get there to work in the houses.

By: gid on 4/12/13 at 7:37

This will fail. Dean will pay for it by raising our property taxes....again.

By: JRM on 4/12/13 at 8:14

Loner, one correction to your comments that insinuate a hypocritical situation by a red's actually a "blue" mayor of a red state wanting help from all the above. The red state of Tennessee isn't making the request for federal dollars for this project based on the story details.

The majority of people that ride this proposed transportation would be people that live near it and ride it to work or to anywhere else on the line. The massive numbers of people that commute to the West End corridor to work will simply not ride it becuase there is no reason to - unless you're going to lunch or something. There are not enough residents to justify such a crazy expensive project. Nashville should just make the current bus lines a better project and push them to the public.

By: localboy on 4/12/13 at 9:00

Rocket, let's ask Loner what he thinks of the area around Wal-Mart/River, Loner? ;)

By: NewYorker1 on 4/12/13 at 9:31

OMG! What will I wear to the first day of Amp service? Fendi or Versace?

By: Jughead on 4/12/13 at 9:36

@NewYorker: Just wear what you always wear---and adult diaper with a picture of Michael Moore on your butt.

By: on 4/12/13 at 10:33

$200 MILLION DOLLARS, This is the most unbelievable waste of taxpayer money I've heard since Dean wanted to put an office park on Nolensville Rd @ the Fairgrounds!
$200 MILLION DOLLARS. Divide that up and tell me what that money could be used for that would actually help the people in this city. Schools, infrastructure, low income housing, sidewalks, traffic signals that talk to each other, LED streetlights, I could go on and on. None of those things polish the resume of the ambitious mayor. Of course the transit folks are all for it, it secures their jobs. The planning people think it's a great idea because it's what they get paid to to, plan. The Chamber of Commerce wants more members, the developers & Realtors want to build & sell more houses Millions & millions of people projected to come to Metro in the future, what are we going to do, why we'll be inundated with hoards of people milling around the city streets with no where to go and no way to get there if they did. Oh the misery, the humanity. Here's a question. Why do we want to grow that big. We've said for as long as I can remember "we don't want to be like Atlanta", yet we seem hell bent to continue to try. Why? What's wrong with Nashville trying to improve what we already have instead of trying to be like Seattle, Portland, Austin, Charlotte or any of the other cities that the powers that be are so fond of touting? Why not try to limit our growth to keep our mid-city feel. Keep our taxes low, infill our bare spots, Antioch, Madison, much of North Nashville (the Mayor should have had his butt out at Rivergate to try to stop the bleeding that has resulted in the Indian Lakes area that has grown up in Sumner county) and improve on what is here? I don't understand why there is not more uproar about this incredible wast of money. $200 MILLION dollars, if the Feds and the State have any sense they will deny this type of waste, but I can only dream.

By: Loner on 4/12/13 at 11:32

JRM....Karl Dean is a DINO....with Democrats like that, who needs Republicans? Nearly half of the money for this dubious project is coming from the US Treasury in Washington, DC....the city that red states, like TN, love to loathe.

Wal-Mart/River Road? That's a fine part of town, can get anything you want down there.

If the ridership on these new bus lines is a little on the sketchy side, it may become known as the "Tramp Amp".....just sayin'.

By: Loner on 4/12/13 at 11:37

If the MCC does not work out as advertised, Nashville may not need the Dean doubling down on the risk? I certainly hope that the MCC lives up to those rosy predictions we all heard when it was still in the planning's a crap come eleven!

By: Captain Nemo on 4/12/13 at 12:02

Wow, did one of Jughead's post get deleted?

By: Jughead on 4/12/13 at 12:36


By: NewYorker1 on 4/12/13 at 1:04

Captain Nemo, Methhead is always saying something stupid. Please ignore her.

By: Captain Nemo on 4/12/13 at 1:15

NewYorker1, if it was not for being stupid there would be no Jughead. lol

By: JeffF on 4/12/13 at 1:17

I just have to point out that BRT is better than the trolley fan-boy plans. It is bloated and expensive but at least it is less bloated and less expensive that putting in immovable steel rails and overhead electric lines.

By: sharko20 on 4/13/13 at 7:48

This will turn West End into a two lane road. You will not be able to make left turns except at major intersections. Drive time will increase dramatically.

Once you travel 1/3 of the way to your destination a person will not change mode of transportation. This is taught to engineering students at Vandy. People will not abandon their car and get on the bus. For example, someone coming from Mt. Juliet will not stop at Elmington Park, gather their belongings and get on the bus.

People who live along the route and businesses will be taxed to pay for it. I live along the route and I am opposed to it. A lot of people are against it. Our coalition is growing.

By: catenarykat on 4/13/13 at 9:52

Engineering students? You HAVE to be kidding. Engineers overwhelmingly earn their pay building roads and bridges and infrastructure for cars. They're the public transit experts? P-u-l-ease!

By: sharko20 on 4/13/13 at 11:07

I am not kidding. I know what civil eng. do for a living. Roads and bridges are only one part of the civil world.

By: sharko20 on 4/13/13 at 11:14

I know it's hard for facts to get in the way of a project. My child's professor IS a transportation expert.

By: joe41 on 4/14/13 at 7:25

The bus service needs to be between where the riders live and where they are going and not down "main street"!