We think these six priorities and each of their corresponding actions—most of which are derived from existing Metro strategic plans (cited when relevant)—should be the focus of the next Metro government:
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.
Conduct a study of speed limits in high crash areas collectors and arterials and make speed limit reduction recommendations based on maximizing safety to the Traffic and Parking Commission and TDOT by the end of 2020. (From WalkNBike)
Dedicate at least $1.5 Million in annual funding for the design and construction of street safety improvements and crosswalks, with a priority on intersections in neighborhoods of color and low-income neighborhoods. (from Impossible Crossing Petition) Commit to addressing top 10 pedestrian crash locations by end of 2020, and top 30 by end of 2023. (from Moving Music City)
Work to create, fund, and adequately staff a Department of Transportation in order to better deliver on innovative, safe street designs. In the short term this should include expanding the staff capacity of Metro Public Works, specifically by adding a Transportation Safety position. (from Nashville Next)
Complete an action plan to reduce deaths and disabling injuries by the end of 2020, to be updated every two years using new crash data, and set an intermediate Metro-wide goal to have fewer than ten pedestrian and bike fatalities per year in Nashville Metro by 2025. (From WalkNBike)
Provide lighted bus shelters and benches at all bus stops serving at least 25 daily WeGo riders by the end of 2023. (from nMotion)
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.
(From Nashville Next) Build a culture of trust and transparency in Metro Planning, Public Works, and WeGo public outreach by:
Proactively creating opportunities for community members to provide input on Metro’s work on an ongoing basis
Proactively seeking out community input on major projects by meeting community members when and where is most convenient for them, and
Reporting back to community members on what feedback was accepted, incorporated with changes, or rejected—and why.
Foster trust by framing community conversations honestly—presenting pros, cons, and trade-offs for planned and/or proposed projects in each affected community.
By the end of Summer 2020 Metro Planning, Public Works, Parks, and WeGo have published agency-wide community outreach and public engagement strategic plans. These plans make clear how public meetings will inform each agency’s specific projects and how that outreach and engagement will factor into their day-to-day work more generally. Starting with WeGo’s “Better Bus” project, these plans also articulate agencies’ commitments to seeking out robust input from hard-to-reach communities, including low-income communities and communities of color.
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.
Implement comprehensive rapid service, including both transit signal priority and bus stop access and amenity improvements, on two more high-ridership pikes by 2023. WeGo’s top-five ridership routes have 15-minute or better frequencies from 7am-9pm by 2023, regardless of whether dedicated funding has been secured. (from nMotion)
Implement updated WeGo bus service network in 2020—including up-to-date route and schedule information at all bus stops—after following through on the Mayor’s Office’s pledge that “Public dialog and input will be integral to the undertaking”. (from nMotion)
Provide access to employment for low-income night shift workers, for example via subsidized taxi and ride-hailing rides as implemented in Pinellas County, FL or by adding night owl shuttles.
Audit all existing bus stops using WeGo’s forthcoming bus stop design guidelines and prioritize improvements based on ridership and with a focus on serving low-income riders and riders of color. (from nMotion)
After implementing new electronic fare payment system and a fare capping policy in 2019, pilot all-door boarding on all of WeGo’s BRT lite and/or high frequency routes in 2020 and evaluate potential for system-wide adoption. (from nMotion)
Adopt design guidelines to include driver safety features in all future bus procurements.
 nMotion Strategic Plan, “Develop a Frequent Transit Network”, Chapter 3, Page 12; Moving Music City Action Agenda, “Give transit priority”, Chapter 2, Section 5; and “Build out the frequent-transit network in 2018 and beyond”, Chapter 2, Section 1
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.
Fund sidewalks program with at least $30M annually starting in 2020. (From WalkNBike)
Protect and strengthen sidewalk bill to ensure developers are paying their fair share in sidewalk construction.
Expand greenway network by 53 miles by end of 2027 and ensure network is kept in good repair, as recommended in Plan to Play.
Reform Metro rules and regulations to require developers to either cover sidewalks or provide alternative routes during construction projects by the end of 2020. (From WalkNBike)
Complete 50 percent of the 91 miles of low-stress bikeways identified in WalkNBike’s Priority Bikeway Network by the end of 2023. (From WalkNBike)
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.
Work to achieve walking and biking mode share goals set by WalkNBike by 2023: 2.12 percent of commute trips by bicycle and 4 percent by foot. (From WalkNBike)
Following research and stakeholder outreach to inform the specifics, explore the adoption of a citywide transportation demand management (TDM) policy and/or reforms to the traffic impact study process in 2021 (from Moving Music City). These policies and/or reforms should be designed to mitigate negative transportation impacts of new developments, rezoned parcels, and renovations requiring building permits, drawing on examples from other cities that give developers flexibility to choose the approach best suited to their project.
Reprioritize downtown streetspace to safely, quickly, and reliably move people. Fully build out WalkNBike downtown bike network by the end of 2022. (from WalkNBike) Implement dedicated lanes and transit priority improvements downtown that are aligned with nMotion’s “Blue H” and sufficient to improve bus on-time performance to at least 85 percent and average speeds of at least 10mph within downtown Nashville by the end of 2023. (from nMotion)
Develop a strategy and corresponding policy to manage Nashville’s curb space that prioritizes walking, biking, public transit, and freight by the end of 2022.
Double number of companies participating in the WeGo Easy Ride program (as of April 2019) by the end of 2020. (from Moving Music City)
Develop a policy by the end of 2020 that gives specific priority to non-automobile travel during special events and road closures, and refrain from closing walking, bicycling and transit routes that would otherwise be closed to car traffic.
Redesign parking requirements to incentivize non-automobile travel, including by instituting parking maximums for developments downtown, removing development bonus height provisions for additional parking in the Downtown Code, and removing minimums in mixed use zoning, high capacity corridors and T3-T6 centers.
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.
Build trust and improve current fiscal transparency by reporting annually, in plain English, how and where transportation investments are being spent, starting in Fiscal Year 2019.
Find a short-term dedicated revenue source to fund improvements in bus frequency and longer hours of service by 2021, to give Nashville residents the chance to experience the benefits of greater investment.
Secure dedicated transportation funding (Nashville Next) by the end of 2022 either via Davidson County referendum or another dedicated funding mechanism, designed to support a plan formed on the basis of proactive community input and with advance support from a diverse coalition of stakeholders.