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About Shuzilla

  • Birthday 10/27/1966

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    Architecture, Economics, Geology/gemology

Shuzilla's Achievements


Whistle-Stop (3/14)



  1. There's been a plan to widen Woodmont, at least from Harding to Hillsboro Rd, for 50 years. The people opposing that, mostly having bought into the area after plans were made known, are getting old. When that road is widened, it needs to incorporate some consideration for mass transit. That cuts the battles from two to one. Meantime, normal buses can run this route and can go through neighborhoods that are at most times devoid of vehicular traffic for more direct access to specific points. Of course the roads in these areas are so far behind needs it's hard to find a street that isn't being used as a cut-through during rush hours.
  2. "If you want to understand where my Socialism comes from it is that. American Capitalism is strictly about profit, not the common good. Yes, I am all for a large healthy skyline. I am all for profitable businesses, albeit not at the expense of the human species." As has been stated, Nashville has a fleet of busses and the BRT route already has bus service. How is the species suffering without BRT? The cost, including inevitable overruns, will be a quarter of a billion dollars, and ridership cannot pay for it alone. So a source of tax money has to be found, and it will come out of the funding for those things we expect from government - police, firefighting, transportation infrastructure, etc. NashvilleBound earlier qouted an article that correctly noted the lack of inter-suburban public transit, so those people don't work it into their daily routine. So here's my BRT plan for a more practical implementation: An East-West route should go through the southern suburbs, roughly along Briley Parkway - Woodmont - White Bridge Road. Why? Reason 1: Get middle class using busses to get where they want to go. Such a route goes through many fairly dense neigborhoods full of retirees and housewives who don't go downtown regularly but spend a lot of money. It also runs through many huge shopping and business areas - Nashville West, Belle Meade, Green Hills, One Hunderd Oaks, and even the airport as an eastern terminus and whatever gets built in Bells Bend as a western terminus. There are tens of thousands of people living withing a half mile of that route, and thousands more can fit. Reason 2: Increase density along BRT route. That's one reason for building it to begin with. There has been densification in the Belle Meade area with the addition recently of several huge developments. Green Hills is likewise getting busier. 100 Oaks has huge potential. And, of course, a May-Town-like entity is possible across the river from Nashville West. And if you've been watching the neighborhoods along Woodmont you've seen home after home pulled down to put four or more units in its place. This area of town is growing but due to circulation is facing growing pains. Reliable public transportation along this route would assist and even accelerate growth, most of which would be densification in the form of more homes per lot, more condominiums, and more officees/workpaces in the commercial nodes. Reason 3: No existing service. This proposal places BRT in a decades-old transportation pattern of people moving east-west through the southern part of the city in their daily and weekly routines. This is where people who don't want to live in the urban core want to live. Public transportation enables people, say, in the retired teacher's tower in Green Hills, to go almost anywhere they normally would drive. It would allow other such homes for retirees who want to remain independent, people that the suburbs are filled with but not necessarily who you want living downtown, to live yards from the BRT where they can get to the grocery store and the hospital. Reason 4: Won't have nearly the negative impact on rush-hour traffic as the proposed route because it runs perpedicular to commuter routes, not down commuter lanes.
  3. The throwing around of population numbers is as best uneducated, at worst disingenuous. The vast majority of projected population increase will be in surrounding counties. Some of that migration may well be fuled by the "what else can we spend tax money on to make downtown awesome" attitude that steers some people from Nashville suburbs to surrounding suburbs. I don't mind the idea of a BRT at all. But where will the growth in DaveCo be in relation to the BRT? From Belle Meade into town things are fairly well built up. Is one aim of mass transit to densify the surrounding area? That would make a special taxing district a reasonable proposition since the potential is there for redevelopment. But how do you sell a BRT to a skeptical public, most of whom under any scenario will not be using it, that the result of the $100+ Million they are asked to spend is that the Harding-West End-Broadway corridor will look nothing like it does now as well as be unfriendly to cars. The open area in front of Overbrook/St Cecilia/Aquanis might well become apartments or office buildings. The homes along the section between MBA and I-440 might all be replaced with condominiums as well. If not, where will all the growth materialize that will generate the revenue required to fund construction, operation and maintenance of the system? Or, is the thought of public investment actually paying for itself not a serious consideration? So people try to drive into Nashville from surrounding areas, say to work or shop. The routes having BRT are a no-go because the desired density surrounding the BRT has increased local traffic, and yet the left turn lanes are gone, so people in the left (express) lanes are constantly stopping. If you've ever driven down a 4-lane in town with no center turn lane you know how frustrating that can be. Well, you can't just park the car and hop on the BRT without adding expansive parking lots at the terminus. So the net results of slowing automobile traffic along the BRT corridors will be either more traffic on the interstates OR more commerce moving into the suburbs. I repeat myself, but Nashville needs a comprehensive plan to accommodate one million people (roughly a 60% increase from today) to capture most of the growth projected to go out of county, including an exhaustive study of land use and population density. The BRT proposal outside of such a comprehensive plan may well prove to be a spoke without a wheel to attach to.
  4. BnaBreaker, I saw that highway cap project in Columbus last year when I visited the convention center (the building complex in the lower right corner of the first picture). I had no idea it spanned the interstate! Scarcity of land downtown dictates high property values. "Constructing" new land parcels atop highways should produce more valuable real estate than the construction cost. No public money should be necessary.
  5. The old Nashville inter-urban railway once went to Franklin and it or something similar went to Gallatin and I suppose other cities as well. These were private companies in a day without cars. Given how much the satelite cities have grown and how interdependent they are to Nashville, should people cast off their automobiles due to prohibitive operating costs, these railways would pop up seemingly overnight with private money with tens of thousands of daily riders. Automobiles do pay taxes on the gasoline they consume for use in road repair and construction, whether that money is spent properly or not. The automobile is an asset, and the owner takes care of its maintenance, fuel and the initial purchase cost. Government only provides the roads and the policing. With public transportation the cost of the rolling stock, associated infrastructure, maintenance and operation falls onto the public if the ridership won't pay the actual cost of a trip. So consider this. Lets say everyone added to the population of Nashville's MSA (currently 1.8 million or so) from here on out is a new user of public transportation exclusively. Cool, right? Let's assume for a moment that in 25 years we have 900,000 more souls in the MSA and 900,000 MORE users of public transportation. That would be awesome, would it not? The problem is that even under so rosey a senario, there will be as many cars on the road in 25 years as there are now; 1.7 million people would be dependent on the automobile, even if an incredible 900,000 flipped over to mass transit. That means whatever expansion and maintenance needs we face today with our road system we will be facing in 25 years if not acted upon in the interim. Further, there will be continued deterioration giving way to a continued need for maintenance. And, traffic would be as bad as now without any new road projects - worse if lanes of already-congested arteries are given over to BRT or similar. So if 900,000 people see the light and use mass transit, BUT their ticket only pays part of the actual cost of running the transit system (in order to keep it affordable) then the rest would be subsidized with tax money. If that money actually came out of the road construction and maintenance pot ( say there's a $500 annual subsidy per rider totalling $450 Million each year) thinking we could cut back on roads given the huge public ridership, then we would be known as the Pothole City for the horrid condition of our roads and bridges. That's not something a city wants to be known for, either. I don't think we'll ever see 900,000 riders, but what do I know? 100,000 riders would be a number to boast about. But with an additional ridership of "just" 100,000 in 25 years there would still be a substantial expansion of automotive traffic and we will still need expansion of roadways for future automobile traffic and the maintenance that goes with it, setting up an epic battle for funding. Eventually, mass transit must pay for itself or other programs already on shoestring budgets will be expected to suffer. Politically, I don't think mass transit funding will ever be a higher priority than the highway projects already planned to ease current and immediate traffic problems.
  6. I was holding my comments until there was some meat on the bone. Hard to tell if this was May jumping on a spur-of-the-moment opportunity created by the Mayor or if it's the tip of a many-months-of-planning iceburg. And it's hard to judge the dynamics yet; i.e. if Jack may forced the planning commission to act to decide between a smaller May Town or the zoned 600 homes, what would the discussion be centered on then? Or, what if if prior to going to Planning he went to TPTB with two proposals, one proposal for the Bend and an equal proposal for the mythical site between Mt. Juliet and Lebanon near 840's termination, and asked THEM to make a decision. Then which way would critics go, accept sprawl in Davidson Co or let Wilson Co have it? I decided to jump in because of the discussion that downtown is better than an empty field to develop because infrastructure is already there. Fair enough. But the real question is which has the greater capacity, downtown or Bells Bend? And how much capacity does the existing downtown infrastructure actually have? I've read about the dire need for reconstructing antiquated sewer downtown. I've also seen business lost to water main breaks. Recent news reports grade traffic in and out of downtown at rush hour is some of the worst in the nation, spurring on the call for a greater push for mass transit. Those and other issues point to downtown actually having a NEGATIVE infrastructure capacity; that is, what is there is less than required for just the present demand. Look at traffic. Consider there are around 45,000 daily commuters downtown (if someone has a better number please post). If downtown boosters could succeed in getting development downtown that was equal to the old May Town Center proposal in tall, cool office buildings - an additional 30,000 workers - and most of them commuted from the 'burbs (downtown has similar problem to May Town, where will the workers live?) then such development would increase traffic by over 50% from today's uncomfortable levels. There was a lot of discussion about the real and perceived cost to taxpayers of developing Bells Bend. Building in a field makes all expenses bare, since nothing of use is there to begin with. The developer was going to spend their own money to construct a bridge, at least one school, fire station and police precinct station. Even so, people were concerned about all the hidden costs that would be born by taxpayers. However, I contend that, while development in the Bend requires 100% new infrastructure, development of similar magnitude downtown starts from a DEFICIT. Build enough downtown and you must improve or replace infrastructure; there's only so much capacity you can steal from the existing users before it breaks for you and them. Increase commuters and you have to rebuild roads or go all out on mass transit. That all takes taxpayer money. The convention center is primarily, if not exclusively, for the benifit of downtown Nashville business, paid for entirely with taxpayer money. Every business that opens due to increased convention traffic is subsidized in part through taxes they don't have to pay. Sports arenas as well benefit downtown businesses and aren't particularly good investments without that economic benefit. Similarly, restaraunts that are viable because of sports fans are also subsidized by those investments. And just to spruce things up a bit, to make downtown more attractive and thus improve things for downtown businesses, we pay for streetscapes and new traffic signals. Developing downtown won't come without enormous expense, much of it hidden in taxpayer-funded infrastructure projects beyond the development. I'm not arguing against that. I'm arguing that downtown growth isn't particularly cheap on the taxpayers. What good is it to bank on existing infrastructure if you have to replace it or reconstruct it by digging up busy city streets in order to grow it the size such that a May Town is not needed? I'm not arguing that putting 30,000 jobs in Bells Bend is the answer. I'm just asking the folks that believe Jack May should fund a mass transit system for May Town why they didn't require the developer of the Pinnacle to pay for mass transit to get workers from the suburbs without adding cars on the road? Before the Gateway bridge was constructed, did downtown businesses pass the hat amongst themselves to pay for it? I'm not aware of it. How about the fairgrounds - when the ramps off I-65 have to be lengthened and the railroad bridge over Wedgewood has to be widened, will we demand that whoever develops that property also pay for those improvements or just be thankfull they showed interest in Nashville and suck up the peripheral costs? How come nobody but me even gives a rip about the cost of improving access to the fairground property for its development when we know that will be taxpayer funded since it's the Mayor's baby? Where are those critics who are suspicious of May's offering to pay for infrastructure, even miles from his site, on possible taxpayer money going to the fairgrounds deal now that the fairgrounds WILL be developed and infrastructure must be improved for thousands of cars clogging the I-65/Wedgewood intersection at rush hour daily?
  7. I don't know if anyone at the Scene knows their true intentions, but the MTC team seems to be familiar enough with the process that this is a reasonable conclusion. I'm still intrigued with the Wilson County rumor. Don't be surprised to see TG, if he gets his second chance, walk in with two additional plans, one for a subdivision in Bells Bend laid out per current zoning and another plan showing May Town in Wilson Co., and say to the commission members,"Choose." Upzoning is the essence of this decision. Not downtown competition. Not loss of farmland. Not bridges, which have a separate process to navigate. BTW, congrats on your 1000th post!
  8. Someone's already organizing opposition to "maytowning" the fairgrounds: http://www.scribd.com/doc/17677922/TN-State-Fairgrounds Whocouldanode?
  9. This links to a July 23 letter from Giantarra to the Metro Planning Commission requesting their agenda item be deferred due to the absence of two commissioners and Rick Bernhardt from Thursday's meeting. He's asking 14 days notice that this will be on the agenda. This seems to explain the sudden request. http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/pdfs/subarea3..._Ltr_072309.pdf I still like the Wilson Co. relocation scuttlebutt, though.
  10. Note that an on-line commentor claims to have been told by Giantarra personally that the partners may be moving MTC to Wilson County. Probably just BS, but then again... Look at page 4 of the staff report recommending approval of May Town: http://www.nashville.gov/mpc/pdfs/meetings/2009/090625sr.pdf. The projected growth through 2035 of the entire MSA, an additional 900,000 people, is heavily to the east and southeast of Davidson, according to the population projection map. While Bells Bend will remain on the far west edge of over two million people, rural west Wilson will be pretty damn close to the geocenter of the population by that time. The airport would be easier to access from there as well. A May Town within the I-40, I-840 and Percy Priest Lake triangle would be centrally located (by 2035), have excellent connectivity to other growth areas and have ample room to grow. Given that all the tens of millions of dollars in gifts/demands made for allowing an MTC in Davidson has dwarfed the actual land purchase in the Bend, I can believe that Jack May might conclude it would be cheaper to start over in a county that would want to have his development and is already expecting that growth, such as Wilson. Even opponents have said "good plan, wrong location." It would be quite ironic that the very report written for the planning commission in support of MTC ended up leading the applicants away from Nashville to a location more advantageous for a 2031 completion date.
  11. I don't think they own the majority of the land, but if they opt to build within current zoning then any other property owner can join in or have a parallel development. Remember, this started with Zeitlins, then the Mays brought some land in, so now others could throw in a few thousand more acres and push a subdivision through as the majority's will. My guess is that an alliance has formed among the large land holders (thanks, Sen. Henry). I suspect that one large, planned subdivision would be preferred by the planning commission to many scattered and disjoined developments. And as one commissioner remarked, if the existing infrastructure does not support existing zoning then there would be taxpayer money involved in upgrades. It was only because the Mays were wanting to upzone did they have to pay for the infrastructure that allowed for the upzoning.
  12. Look, you come in here with all the answers, holding a prejudice against me (as highlighted in bold letters above), without refreshing yourself on the topic that's been ongoing for sixteen months. You did not come here to discuss and debate - I posted a proposal just before yours and asked for opinions, and you ignored it to take your victory lap. You accused me of being angry when I was as deadpan as could be. You contradicted your own development theory with the Medical Mart, but don't want to discuss that. And, to my deep frustration, you refuse to answer to the environmental cost of this development going to adjacent counties, paving many times the greenfields even as it takes opportunity out of county, while saying as a long line of opponents have that the environment is your central tennant. It's the Great Wall of Cognitive Dissonance, Charlie Brown. Talking to opponents about destroyed greenfield elsewhere as a cost of saving it here is like talking to a wall. Nashville is a city, in which for some crazy reason we are trying to put farmland. The counties that surround us WERE farmland, until Nashville spilled out into them. May Town could be a turning point for denser development closer to the CDB, saving multiples the greenfield elsewhere by condensing our aggregate developed footprint. Where am I wrong?
  13. All I said was the environmental impact will be huge. Not unlike the paving of Williamson county, achieved AD 1970 to AD 2030, only 60 years. Bells Bend is, of course, much more important than a whole county. Many national environmental groups across the country are gearing up their legal teams for this fight which may end up in the United States Supreme Court of which Sotomayo will preside if confirmed. A fight based on what, exactly? PR and the raw expendature of money by these groups on lawyers, or on actual law? < Serious question. Has not enough land been wasted on increasing our carbon footprint? No. Prove otherwise. Do you really see a need for this type of development 20, 30, 40 years from now? Maybe not, so prudence dictates we'd better get started now. And I've seen just the plan... The future is small locally owned businesses. The campus call center and campus IT departments have moved to China, India, Mexico, and Brazil. You know the future? That's great. I'm still trying to decide, "Deflation or inflation, recession or depression?" Economists all have good points behind their arguments. But I have seen the past 40 years, and I'm witnessing the policy-driven continuation of that past. The Census Bureau estimates 900,000 new people in the 10-county Nashville MSA by 2030, but only about 110,000 of that increase will come to Nashville. We could fit them all comfortably in thirty May Town type developments, taking less than 20,000 acres while locking up thousands more from development. We could fit half of them inside Davidson County. But we won't do any of that because we stumbled when taking the first step. Say goodby to another million acres of greenspace, Sid. How much money are you planning to bet on your vision of the future, Sid? I don't think that developers, after years of discussions with prospective clients, would provide a site for these clients with a $100 Million investment if they weren't convinced they had a decent chance at doing well. And I doubt opponents would accuse the Mays of being greedy if they did not also see the financial windfall coming down the road for these investors. Nota bene' (note well) that the Medical Mart is moving to the Central Business District of downtown Nashville. Downtown is an excellent location, but what will that ultimately cost taxpayers? Probably much more than all of May Town would. And, nota bene', this Sid guy has this theory that the future is in small, locally-owned businesses. The centrallized clustering of medically-related companies in Nashville that attracted the Medical Mart might decentrallize in the coming decades, as might the music industry (how hard is recording music? I mean, really?). Maybe even go to China or India, leaving an empty Medical Mart and a ghost town for Music Row. And arriving thusly at a dead downtown and already having dead suburbs, we should all probably get out now. So maybe we should stop the Medical Mart from getting out of the ground to begin with. That's your own development logic applied to the Medical Mart. You want the city to kill May Town, which is an alternative to our land-hungry development patterns since WWII, but the city has no alternative to offer. None. So, it will be same-old, same-old. And it looks to developers to bring forward alternatives, only to place unsurmountable hurdles in front of their grand visions for public spectacle. So long as the felled tree falls in a Williamson or Sumner county forest, it makes no sound. But a scuttled May Town makes for one hellova firecracker! Williamson county built up the way it did with cheap land and low taxes. Do not think for a moment that Bells Bend is the same situation. No. It's in a much superior position, because it's actually in Nashville, which is a great town. It's location will support $4 Billion in development. $4 Billion in improvements will support a land value of about $1 Billion. Looked at that way, $23 Million for land and $150 Million for improvements to create a billion dollar piece of land is fabulously cheap. All from simply bridging the Cumberland River, as had been discussed for decades. WilCo started as cheap land. As that cheap land was developed, and we lost hundreds of thousands of local farming acres, half-million dollar homes were built. When their land becomes too pricey, land in the next county gets developed. see apattern here? Because their housing stock is woth more on average than Nashville's housing stock, they can have a relatively low tax rate compared to Nashville. If more people living in half-million-dollar homes lived in Nashville, we'd all have a smaller tax burden to share. But they don't, and we have no alternative to bring them back. Our affluent enclaves are stagnant while our empty land is Antioched. We continue to ignore the "environmental destruction" at the fringes because we can do no other. I'd take no comfort in knowing the future, if it could be known. I'm not very positive about it, right about now.
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