Making Nashville’s Voice Heard
Will 2019 Mayoral and Metro Council Candidates Commit to Investing in Nashville’s Faltering Transportation System?
The Nashville Community Transportation Platform is a collaborative, consensus-based effort driven by a diverse array of independent, Nashville-based non-profit organizations. Our organizations believe that community voices should be at the center of Nashville’s transportation planning and policy-making process. While no group of organizations can claim to represent Metro Nashville’s full diversity, we hope that this Platform provides a starting place for a more inclusive public dialogue about Nashville’s transportation needs and near-term priorities.
PRINCIPLES, PRIORITIES, ACTIONS
The Platform proposes four guiding principles as the foundation for Metro Nashville’s transportation policy, and six Metro-wide priorities broken down into ambitious, specific, and achievable actions. We believe that a Metro government that pursues these actions will deliver the equitable, safe, resilient, and high-quality transportation system that all Nashvillians deserve.
the moment of opportunity
The Mayor and Metro Council of Nashville-Davidson County oversee the Public Works, Planning, and Parks Departments, as well as WeGo Transit (formerly Nashville MTA), agencies that collectively design and manage the vast majority of Metro Nashville’s transportation infrastructure. They also set Metro’s budget. On August 1, 2019, Metro Nashville will elect a Mayor and all 40 Metro Councilmembers, providing an essential opportunity for Nashvillians to weigh in on the future of our county’s transportation system.
We think these four principles should be the foundation for transportation decision-making in Metro Nashville:
Transportation projects should be prioritized in order to create and improve opportunities for people of color and low-income Nashvillians who benefit most from improved access to affordable, high quality transportation options.
The transportation system is already the largest source of pollution in Nashville, and the region’s sustained growth will depend on our ability to prioritize the transportation modes that make the best use of our limited streetspace: walking, biking, and public transit.
Ensuring safety for Nashvillians of all ages should be the highest priority for designs and redesigns of Metro’s streets and transportation infrastructure.
Transportation investments are worth little when they fail to allow people to move quickly and reliably through busy city streets. Nashville’s streets should be designed to prioritize moving and serving people.
We think these six priorities and each of their corresponding actions—most of which are derived from existing Metro strategic plans, which are cited when relevant—should be the focus of the next Metro government:
1. Implementing safe streets/Vision Zero
82 people were killed on Nashville’s streets in 2018 alone, including 23 pedestrians. Redesigning Metro Nashville’s street network with a goal to eliminate these fatalities and all injuries will make all Nashvillians safer.
3. Nashville-wide bus improvements
Nashville’s bus system is Nashville’s public transportation system, and will remain its backbone for decades to come. Metro-wide improvements are necessary to make WeGo’s transit service reliable for existing frequent and occasional riders, and will help build the system’s usefulness in order to attract new and more frequent riders long into the future.
5. Reducing the number of cars downtown
Downtown Nashville is a key artery—and a major bottleneck—for all of Metro’s transportation options. Moving more people into and through a rapidly growing Downtown Nashville will require giving on-street priority to more space-efficient transportation options like walking, biking, and public transit, and giving people and their employers new incentives to choose those space-efficient options.
2. Community-driven planning
Nashville’s community-members will most directly feel the positive and negative consequences of Metro’s transportation decisions. Agencies should proactively seek out impacted communities’ input and trust during those agencies’ planning processes.
4. Expanding the sidewalk and protected bike lane networks
Everyone in Nashville benefits from a more complete sidewalk network, and protected bike lanes are necessary to make biking and new options like scooters accessible and safe for Nashvillians of all ages and comfort levels.
6. Dedicated funding for transportation
Many of this Platform’s actions can be implemented with no additional funding—but even the most vocal opponents of May 2018’s failed transit referendum agreed that Nashville’s transportation system needs new investment to match the region’s continued growth.