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About AronG

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  1. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    We need an emoji on here for violently hurling.
  2. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    Yeah, if this was politically viable I would definitely prefer it to the current light rail plan (although I'll bet you it would cost way more than $20MM). There's no doubt that it's a better match for Nashville's density. The problem is, people just don't get excited about buses, and it's easy to stir them into a mob over losing lanes on any given road. The Amp was an attempt to take a small first step towards this, and it failed for a reason. It's strange how many of the people now loudly praising dedicated bus lanes participated in killing it. If this thing manages to get past the growing headwinds and pass in May, the most important factor to me is that it will establish a dedicated funding source for transit. It's cleverly designed to put as small a load on locals as possible, and it will yield $110 million/year, rising to $200 million in 2023. Which isn't some extravagant amount considering our budget for FY2018 is $2.2 billion. Much of those resources will go to right of way and engineering for what amounts to two dedicated lanes on all major corridors, designed to minimize impact on existing car lanes. Tracks aren't scheduled to be laid until late in the 15 year timeline. If, 5 years from now, driverless cars are rampaging across the nation, I fully expect an update to the plan that tweaks it to address the new robot mini-buses or whatever. It could be as simple as switching to "trackless trains" ( and establishing rates for 3rd party vehicles to share those lanes. There would be some waste as a result of the change, but not a crippling percentage. If, on the other hand, driverless cars turn out to be an over-hyped dud, we will have a slightly over-specced light rail system, half-paid for by visitors, and new capacity to build much more housing, office, and retail around those lines without dumping ever more traffic onto our over-strained interstates.
  3. God yes. I assume there's a standard spec somewhere that they work off for these and it dearly needs to be updated. Both corner radius and these slip lanes that they allow to stick around are like 20 years out of date. I was amazed to see they did a whole reworking of the sidewalk for that project in Germantown at 2nd and Madison and left a huge pedestrian death trap there.
  4. I will not rest until they commit to preserving the beautiful and historic Tennessean building. The gorgeous 20th century concrete facade is an heirloom to future generations, demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt Nashville's ability to design and construct a flat surface. The authentic and exquisite picture windows, an immaculate example of the "gun-slit-in-a-prison" school of architecture are something we can't get back if we let developers tear them down. How many buildings built today have such a sturdy example of a single, rusty, metal door at a major intersection? Not many, because they don't build them like they used to. #SaveTheTennessean
  5. 505 CST - 545 feet - 45 Floors - U/C

    I feel like some people are missing the whole point of urban condos. If you don't like the idea of other people (even something as horrible as twenty somethings), it's certainly true that 505's prices start to look pretty high. Different strokes for different folks though, and there are at least some people who like being in proximity with other people and enjoy the activity of downtown and are looking for the relatively scarce (in Nashville) ability to walk out your lobby and be withing a few pedestrian-friendly blocks of many diverse restaurants, entertainment, and work places. I have a friend in 1212 and it's a great building with the gulch at your fingertips, but it's just not sewed into urban fabric the way 505 is. Everything starts 2 or 3 blocks away, and the neighborhood is still halfway (or less?) into the transition from warehouses and parking lots to high rises. The streets are wider, with more lanes than downtown, and a subset of drivers still gun it like they're on a highway and it's on pedestrians to look out for themselves. The views at 505 may be better, but I feel like their biggest differentiator is that they're actually downtown. 1212 is more "downtown".
  6. This thing is shaping up nicely, but man, I can't believe we're still so bad at pedestrian crossings. It's not rocket science, and it's like we go to 90% of the expense to get something 30% as good. If you want people to be comfortable crossing 5 lanes of traffic, you give them a safe spot halfway across. That way they can focus on one-way traffic with each crossing. Here, they went to the majority of the expense, building a divider curb, but then they ended it just before it provided the most value. If they extended it just a few feet further it would both provide a refuge for crossing pedestrians and ensure that cars turning in and out don't get in a hurry and cut off the corner when they're most likely to be paying attention to other cars instead of walkers. I see these types of things all over the new developments downtown, and they make a big difference on whether streets feel pedestrian hostile or pedestrian friendly.
  7. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    My point is that it's one thing to say I want smaller government, less debt, etc. If that's your goal you should be equally happy with an across-the-board cut, a giant slash to the military, and so on. It's another thing completely to say I want to cut funding for the particular government services that I don't like. That just begs the questions: which ones do you like and why? This being their second go-round funding anti-transit PR campaigns in Nashville, it's pretty clear that the Koch brothers feel strongly about not wanting government-funded transit here. But why does transit in particular call down their resources? They don't display the same passion in fighting funding for, say, road projects. What is their vision for cities? I guess no one knows but them, but I wish they would spend a tiny bit as much effort propagating an alternative vision as they do tearing down the ones that others have brought forward. For my money, I assume they really don't care about building good cities and would just as soon let Nashville strangle in traffic, pushing development out to the suburbs. But maybe I'm just bitter.
  8. The Transportation and Mass Transit Megathread

    This is just Davidson county. Tough to argue that's their real reason when they don't lobby against the police, fire, building codes, etc.
  9. This would be a great quality of life improvement; right now the best thing is the parks. Cumberland Park and the splash pad thing at the Bicentennial park are both enough to entertain my kids for hours (climbing walls, playground, rope web, etc.). Ascend is nice, but there aren't quite enough residential developments around so I think it hasn't hit critical mass. They should add a permanent food truck area. There or the hall of fame park. From the NBJ article:
  10. The sidewalk does. That render shows a dedicated bike lane, which would be new (I think? I've only gone that way a couple of times to pinewood social and it's been a while). It's usable now, don't get me wrong, my only point is that sometimes a little effort on the margins would make our bike facilities twice as usable.
  11. Looks pretty nice. It's definitely time for metro to start winding down these huge parking garage subsidies though. They may have been necessary 10 years ago, but there are ample alternatives to driving downtown and parking now. We should let the market handle this, and put that $17 million towards something more useful. If developers want to include lots of parking for suburban commuters, let them factor that into their business plan. Also, I love this bike lane and I hope it gets connected into the network in a useful way. Nashville has done a decent job of getting a few protected bike lanes (Davidson, 11th Ave, 16/17th) in place over the last 10 years, but sometimes it seems like no effort was made to tie them in in a usable way. For example there's a sort-of-separated lane on KVB that seemed like it was going to be a useful east-west route, but it literally runs into a curb at the roundabout instead of putting some thought into, say, combing it with the pedestrian crosswalk. With a little effort this one could go under KVB and then tie into the bike lane, instead of just dumping off into the sidewalks at Ascend.
  12. Nashville Bits and Pieces

    Yeah this is fascinating stuff. Even before autonomous cars get here, shrinking parking demand is already hitting airports ( There are going to be some fascinating decades of adjustment if and when the true thing hits. I guess the old concept of the hip, inexpensive warehouse loft apartment is going to be replaced in the late 2020s by hip, inexpensive converted parking garage apartments. Going to be harder to make them hip with low ceilings and slightly-tilted floors though. Google is running cars in Phoenix with no-one in the driver seat, and they just ordered "thousands" of autonomous cars (; this is starting to look pretty imminent. The cities that get out in front of it are going to look like geniuses in 10 years. Why don't we already have dedicated curb drop-off spots? They should be sprinkled on every block so ride-sharers and delivery vans don't stop in traffic and/or block bike lanes. We can charge a yearly license to use them and pay for the implementation. We should also encourage developers to start ramping down the amount of parking they provide. And take measures to encourage people to use shared services (e.g. uber pool, lyft line) instead of single-person-per-car ones.
  13. Cambria Suites Hotel|255 Room|19 Stories|200 feet

    This is a great photo, but I must confess an unpopular opinion: I don't like the rope lighting thing on downtown buildings. It looks gaudy and it ruins the elegant geometric beauty of the actual building, lit subtly by its interior light. There's something magical about the engineering of a modern high-rise, and the awareness that each glowing window represents a human space. The neon outline thing stomps all over that and instead brings to mind a college dorm room or a seedy car dealership. Thank you, this has been my old man moment.
  14. You might wonder that, and at least part of the answer is: when walmart sold that property they put restrictions into the deed on how it can be used, applicable for 25 years. They stipulate that the property can't be used for: "a grocery store or supermarket", "a discount department store or other discount store", or a pharmacy, among other things. I had no idea this was even a thing you could do, but apparently it is! And it's such a win-win: Walmart (although they got a little less cash for the property) successfully blocked competitors from providing local neighborhood-scale grocery/retail at that one particular location until 2041. SpaceMax got a sweet deal on the property and is able to provide a multi-acre self-storage facility on real estate so prime that it makes no sense at all. And we, the residents of the neighborhood got the ability to drive slightly less far to store our mountains of extra crap that won't fit in our mcmansions!(?) They did add the retail strip in the front though, so that's something.