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yeah we are on the same page.  

 

However, I hear A TON of people complain about the price tag. I have heard people say it's ridiculous, and they suggest building an elevated train so the cars are not disturbed... How expensive would an elevated rail be?? 

 

It just amazes me that we can build a minor league stadium, with help with the state on a whim. We can give the show "Nashville" $8MM in incentives on a whim. Let when we discuss anything mass transit, representatives from chattanooga and Lord knows where then start to complain....

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maybe the mayor should have proposed an $800 million light rail, then when people pushed back on price, he could have said "well I have this alternative, for half the price we could actually have two lines. how does that sound"?

boom, then he gets not one but 2 transit lines and people are happy he listened to public sentiment and compromised

 

wait, no people would still complain.   but i feel like more people would be on board since so many peple seem to be more ok with rail than buses

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maybe the mayor should have proposed an $800 million light rail, then when people pushed back on price, he could have said "well I have this alternative, for half the price we could actually have two lines. how does that sound"?

boom, then he gets not one but 2 transit lines and people are happy he listened to public sentiment and compromised

 

wait, no people would still complain.   but i feel like more people would be on board since so many peple seem to be more ok with rail than buses

 

I think that would've been a possibility without the MCC getting built. Unfortunately, because of the multiple notable civic projects Dean has embarked upon, the first place people are looking is at the city's wallet.

 

Just read the Tennessean comments section sometime....

 

"City spends $10 million on ________"

 

"THAT MONEY COULD HAVE GONE TO PAY TEACHERS MORE!!! THIS CITY NEVER THINKS ABOUT EDUCATION OR THE FUTURE!!!"

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Still gotta believe that Dean and the Amp backers would not have met with nearly as much opposition if they had proposed a BRT loop around downtown, as I've described in previous posts. As far as valid arguments go (when you just look on points without speculative benefits) the people who oppose reducing lanes along West End have the upper hand (in my humble opinion). Everyone knows that West End is the most important East-West artery in town, and it picks up short and long commuter traffic.  The presumed impact would (consequently) affect an enormous amount of people who wouldn't even consider using it. Plus, when trying to build a market for mass transit in a city like Nashville, I can't help but think a loop is a better "first step" that is convenient to more people who are ready to use it, as opposed to a point-to-point such as that proposed from Lower Broadway to St. Thomas West.  Obviously, I am no expert in this subject, but I have tried to look at this proposal multiple different ways.  I keep coming back to that loop.  Then a whole system can be built upon it. 

Edited by MLBrumby
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The Amp update from last night said that designers are looking at having just 1 dedicated lane in the Murphy intersection. Given that St. Thomas CEO said Rail was the first choice, had to settle for BRT, and now are making all these compromises, I am going to be really mad if we don't get this. 

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I just got back from Cleveland, Ohio, where I spent a few nights at a hotel on Euclid Avenue where the Health Line BRT runs.

 

BRT_zpsf9598df4.jpg

 

I made several trips and have a few observations;

 

  • Euclid Avenue is maybe the primary artery in Cleveland as it goes from the downtown square at the base of the historic, 55 story Terminal Building, through the wonderful Theater District, past the Cleveland Clinic (the Cities largest hospital complex) all the way out to the Cultural area where prestigious Case-Western Reserve University and the Art, Natural History and performing arts center . It is much like the proposed West End corridor in some respects.
  • It was well used at all hours of the day. In fact in the afternoon rush, it was as crowded as a NY or London subway.
  • Getting a ticket was easy enough, but it wonder how it is enforced. You buy your ticket at the platform then get on the BRT when it stops. Unless there is something to read the card in your pocket, I don't know how it is enforced. When I got on after the ballgame after 10:00, the driver told us we had to come forward and swipe our pass through the reader next to the front. But I guess there must be an honor system to some extent. I wonder how much money is lost on free rides?
  • Inside it has the feel of a subway or light rail. Outside it is a bus, but doesn't register as the typical bus, as it pulls up to the platform and the doors open wide. You can stand with adequate comfort as the starts and stops are well controlled.
  • It is hard to tell what the next stop is. You can't see signs like you can in a subway and the PA system announcing the next stop is either not working or not loud and clear. They need a scrolling sign to keep strangers informed as to what is coming up.
  • The bus lanes and platforms are a lot more narrow than I thought they would be. Euclid Avenue is barely 5 lanes wide and is throttled down to one through lane in some sections. There are, however, quite a few parallel roads that traffic can use during rush hours.
  • They staggered the platforms at some stops (I can't figure out why) so one handles eastbound boarding and the other handles westbound boarding.
  • The bus moved along fairly briskly with just a few delays for congestion and poorly time traffic signals. As you can see in the picture, the traffic signals have special indications for the BRT so they won't be confused by vehicle drivers.

 

Overall, I didn't feel like I was riding a bus. It was definitely a rapid transit  experience. 

Edited by PHofKS
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That sure is one massive traffic jam in that photo! Ha...all jokes aside, thank you for the detailed first hand account. I think it is fairly clear that BRT (real BRT) would be a big success in Nashville. If only we could let go of our collective fears about it.

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That sure is one massive traffic jam in that photo! Ha...all jokes aside, thank you for the detailed first hand account. I think it is fairly clear that BRT (real BRT) would be a big success in Nashville. If only we could let go of our collective fears about it.

 

I think there are two parts to the opposition to the Amp -- there's the fear crowd, and there's the concerned crowd.

 

The fear crowd are the ones worried about any spending project, are decidedly anti-public transit, and are the ones that say things like "we don't need this in Nashville, we don't want to become like New York City" and really dislike/fear growth and change.

 

The concerned crowd is more detail oriented and either don't understand the ramifications of dedicated lane transit, or something doesn't add up for them. I do think there are legitimate concerns out there, and they can range from whether the right route is being considered, or if it will truly be serving the citizens that would need it or use it the most. The important distinction is that this group includes people that are not anti-growth or anti-transit.

 

 

I do think Nashvillians could get behind rapid transit (BRT or LRT), but I don't know whether or not it will be the Amp. I haven't heard anything pro or con lately. It might take a little time, though. I think Dean's misstep was trying to push this through in the middle of a number of other big spending projects...many of those centered around downtown. If Dean fails, I think it will take a mayor that is willing to make transit a primary initiative, rather than one of many.

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A few people I talked to about the BRT system, really like it. They were apparently skeptical at first, but now that they have seen it work, they think it is great. It was a very small sample, certainly, but it shows that sometimes, people have to see it work before they accept it.

 

 

Some generic rambles....Cleveland is a surprising city in a lot of ways. Even with stagnant population growth, it seems to be a successful, thriving city. They are building new Civic buildings that would dwarf Nashville's City-hall and Birch Building complex. They just built a new convention center,too,which may host the Republican Convention in 2016. I was very surprised at how much vitality the City showed when compared to my preconceptions about northern rust-belt cities.

 

And the ballpark was great, although attendance has been very low for the last few years. The regular fan next to me joked that maybe they would move to Nashville in the next decade when the lease is up. From his mouth to God's ears!

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Some generic rambles....Cleveland is a surprising city in a lot of ways. Even with stagnant population growth, it seems to be a successful, thriving city. They are building new Civic buildings that would dwarf Nashville's City-hall and Birch Building complex. They just built a new convention center,too,which may host the Republican Convention in 2016. I was very surprised at how much vitality the City showed when compared to my preconceptions about northern rust-belt cities.

I agree.  Many of the "rust belt" cities have too much to really let the "economic downturn" to hurt them in the long run.  Especially in Ohio, there are many aerospace and science based world class companies and facilities.

 

Among the Case-Western, Cleveland Clinic, and other notable Cleveland "landmarks," there is the NASA Glenn Center as well.  I'm sure there are many more I do not know about or realize.  I've really been educated at what is out there while looking for a job or trying to put places (NASA Glenn) with geographical locations (Cleveland, OH) when doing research.  Sometimes we hear about place and just do not realize where they actually are located.  Or we do not even know some places exist!  For example, I probably wouldn't be aware of the Cleveland Clinic except for the "healthmart battle" a few years ago.  Or Case-Western, I forgot who it was, but someone I met a few years ago said they went there.  When they said that they also said I probably never heard of it or knew it was in Cleveland.  I assume it is the same with others and Nashville, such as Vanderbilt.

 

Sorry, random blurb, back on topic.

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I just got back from Cleveland, Ohio, where I spent a few nights at a hotel on Euclid Avenue where the Health Line BRT runs.

 

I made several trips and have a few observations;

  • Euclid Avenue is maybe the primary artery in Cleveland as it goes from the downtown square at the base of the historic, 55 story Terminal Building, through the wonderful Theater District, past the Cleveland Clinic (the Cities largest hospital complex) all the way out to the Cultural area where prestigious Case-Western Reserve University and the Art, Natural History and performing arts center . It is much like the proposed West End corridor in some respects.
  • It was well used at all hours of the day. In fact in the afternoon rush, it was as crowded as a NY or London subway.
  • Getting a ticket was easy enough, but it wonder how it is enforced. You buy your ticket at the platform then get on the BRT when it stops. Unless there is something to read the card in your pocket, I don't know how it is enforced. When I got on after the ballgame after 10:00, the driver told us we had to come forward and swipe our pass through the reader next to the front. But I guess there must be an honor system to some extent. I wonder how much money is lost on free rides?
  • Inside it has the feel of a subway or light rail. Outside it is a bus, but doesn't register as the typical bus, as it pulls up to the platform and the doors open wide. You can stand with adequate comfort as the starts and stops are well controlled.
  • It is hard to tell what the next stop is. You can't see signs like you can in a subway and the PA system announcing the next stop is either not working or not loud and clear. They need a scrolling sign to keep strangers informed as to what is coming up.
  • The bus lanes and platforms are a lot more narrow than I thought they would be. Euclid Avenue is barely 5 lanes wide and is throttled down to one through lane in some sections. There are, however, quite a few parallel roads that traffic can use during rush hours.
  • They staggered the platforms at some stops (I can't figure out why) so one handles eastbound boarding and the other handles westbound boarding.
  • The bus moved along fairly briskly with just a few delays for congestion and poorly time traffic signals. As you can see in the picture, the traffic signals have special indications for the BRT so they won't be confused by vehicle drivers.

 

Overall, I didn't feel like I was riding a bus. It was definitely a rapid transit  experience. 

 

Yes, today's Cleveland is a "poster child" depicting that a rust-belt town indeed can undergo a rebound with significant strides.  Sure, it can't be expected to be restored to the heavy-manufacturing lake city that it had been, at least the way it had been through the late 1950s and '60s.

 

Cleveland had its economic issues long before the recessions of 1980, early '90s, 2001, and 2008, while as a whole, heavy mfg. has been lost to "developing" nations.  The extensive array of railroad lines in Cleveland in time began to shrink as a result of mergers and acquisitions during the '70s.  As has often been the case with mergers, particularly in the northeast and the upper mid-eastern US, changes in competition and business models resulted in wholesale cancellation of service by rail to many local industries ─ some large, but mostly small businesses.  This in turn help promote the "vicious circle" of accelerating an already ongoing and rapid collapse of the local economy, basically choking the life out the automobile-, machine-tool- and other steel-processing-related industries of Cleveland,(and similarly in nearby Youngstown, Akron, and Canton, as well as in Detroit, although by additional causes) ─ a disproportionately high amount compared to the national decline as a whole.

 

The time I lived in NE Ohio, during the early '80s, Cleveland, in no uncertain terms, was not my kind of town, although living within 50+ miles of that city, I always could find plenty to do there even then (like being the designated driver for an off-duty Ohio state trooper neighbor and his wife during club hopping on Friday nights).  Cleveland even still had decent downtown department stores back then (Higbee's, in one of the winged buildings attached to the famed Terminal Tower ─ the other wing being a Stouffer's Inn on the Square [now the Renaissance]; and the May Company, on Euclid Ave.).

 

Terminal Tower (formerly Cleveland Union Terminal), that grand 50-something-story monstrosity of a train station built during the 1920's (remaining the US's second tallest building until '67 and still the world's tallest train-station office complex), for many decades had remained as the most prominent landmark on the Cleveland skyline.  Terminal Tower has become the kingpin office structure in what has been renamed as "Tower City Center", a redevelopment venture of mixed use at the famed Public Square begun around 1990.  Now a "harbinger" of the growth clearly evident with that city, the Key Tower (now the tallest in Cleveland), and the BP Tower, along with several other lesser structures built during the past 30 years, have made Cleveland appear to start "catching up", following a hiatus of construction stagnancy for such a material city of its size.

 

The fact that Cleveland-Hopkins Int'l Airport (located southwest on I-480) was the first such US facility to be connected to the city's downtown by rapid transit (in 1968), could have played a major but overlooked role in the "subsistence" of Cleveland on life-support, coinciding with the steep decline of industry of the 1970s and early '80s.  Perhaps of no less impact on the city's recovery is the fact that the city has always afforded rapid-transit interchange at the former Tower (below street level), at least to some of the vital east and west 'burbs (although badly needed to other extents of Cleveland's Outer Belt Freeway (I-480), toward the southeast.  Unfortunately, all intercity rail service at the former grand terminal ended in 1977; current Amtrak service is hosted in a newer, much more modest facility on the lakefront (Lake Erie).

 

Except for Chicago, Cleveland was the only major lake city to have had rapid transit (Heavy-Rail [hrT]), which evolved during the mid-'50s, as well as LRT, the modern-day version which transformed from streetcars operated as "interurbans" from the heart to the some of the 'burbs.  This was "way" before Light-Rail was even termed as such, and Clevelanders still as natives refer to their HRT and LRT collectively as "the Rapid".  Because the HealthLine BRT wasn't even in the "concept" stage at that time (at least I don't recollect), I don't know whether or not they consider it to be integrated with the Rapid, even though it all officially is the GCRTA.  Other than the much more recent start-ups in DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Miami of the mid-'70s and mid-'80s, Cleveland maintains the only HRT system between Chicago and the Northeastern cities of Philly, NYC (and the State of NJ), and Boston.  The HealthLine BRT initially had been planned as a new subway branch, but due to the high costs of HRT construction (or even for any underground "tube" transit), the initiative was scaled down to the current implementation as a BRT.

 

Back when Cleveland transit became publicly owned (as the GCRTA), voters actually approved a tax increase (a feat in most municipalities these days), and the oversight of this authority has been such that a large percentage of the RTA's operating expenses to this day has been sustained by this reserve. (times get tough, though, when tax revenues take a dive)  This is not necessarily uncommon in transit districts with existing and recent- start-up RT systems and extensions, where a significant sector of ridership is derived from choice- as well as transit-dependent travelers, and it has been demonstrated repeatedly that with well-conceived RTs, people have tended to "catch on", to the extent that stakeholders have managed to "push" through the passage of subsidized funding for expansion.  I still don't see how NYC can manage to fund construction of its current, in-process rock-boring operations for yet more tunnels for its HRT system, although Montgomery County MD (affluent) voted similarly to put WMATA's Red Line extension from Silver Spring to Glenmont underground, instead of on the surface.  Seattle has voted similarly on its Sound Transit University Link (downtown to UofW).

 

Anyway, thanks for sharing your experience on Cleveland's HealthLine BRT.

____

 

timmay143, I still haven't forgotten my commitment to respond about that South Florida rail thing.  I've determined that, in order to make any kind of written sense of what I have to say about it, I'll need to push about 3 separate posts, for the sake of manageability of the content, and I need to post them one right after another, in order to (try to) keep them contiguous in the sub-topic position.  The points which I have intended to discuss are for clarification, comparison, and opinion (from my own vantage).  I'm just glad that you're not grading me on timeliness. (I'd get an F- for sure!)

 

 

-=rr=-

Edited by rookzie
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This article touches on an excellent public safety angle for mass transit. I'm surprised the pro-Amp camp hasn't brought this up very forcefully at all, especially considering the number of bars along the proposed route: http://www.citylab.com/commute/2014/06/what-if-the-best-way-to-end-drunk-driving-is-to-end-driving/372089/

 

When I did use to drink, prior to some 27 years ago, that's the reason that I always took the MBTA, Wash. Metro, Muni, and BART.  Because I never drove in NYC, except to drive from Nashv'l to Boston via the GW bridge, I always would take the subways and L's to places like Coney Island and 179th St. Queens, while jumping "lit".

 

But the only way that's going to make any difference, is to have a comprehensive system already in place, to make transit accessible and conducive to riding, during and following imbibing sessions.  It also would have to operate on such schedules to accommodate the "owls".  While the AMP may sound like a start, you find most offenders everywhere else "except" the EW corridor.   It's in those "holes" along Nolensville,and Lafayette (once my kind of places) that the offenders are found.

 

-=rr=-

Edited by rookzie

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Hey_Hey made an interesting comment on a future BRT route (which I added to and labeled the 'Blue Line' below) in the Buckingham forum.

 

I copied his comment to this forum to allow my comments to be on topic.

 

 

 

 

This is an area that would be a target for future mass transit/bus routes. I think it would be possible to run a BRT line outbound on 17th and inbound on 16th as well as along Magnolia with a terminus at 21st in Hillsboro Village.  It could then join up with the AMP dedicated lanes near the Music Row Roundabout before crossing the interstate. That would better connect Music Row, Belmont, and Hillsboro Village with East Nashville.

 

.The recommended route makes a lot of sense and could be connected to a future 'Green' route that travels from Franklin Road on Wedgewood to 32nd and across the Charlotte Ave connector to return to downtown via Charlotte Pike as shown. Yeah, I know! I'm jumping the gun. We aren't sure the system is actually going to be built. But, it's fun to imagine where this could go from here.

 

BRTMap_zpsbd73075c.jpg

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That is similar to the one I imagined, but made Hayes a dedicated BRT street... and used the Division route, instead of Demonbreun.  Obviously, that would be a starter route from which a whole network could radiate. I just think the linear route down West End proposed from Dean is one that he should abandon (at least for now), for political and logistical reasons.  With a downtown loop established, then another loop could be extended to the east side. 

Edited by MLBrumby

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I'm sure many others received this message, or already knew about it, but I just got an automated voicemail from the AMP Yes Coalition that said that there is a meeting tonight at 6PM at the metro courthouse downtown for a vote to provide flexibility to fund construction of the AMP.  That's how the message was worded.  I'm not entirely sure what all that entails, but it sounds like if you can make it down there, your presence would be important.  I obviously won't be making it since my Leerjet is in the shop, but I thought I'd pass along the info.

 

They gave an email address as well with which you can pass along your thoughts if you can't make it: [email protected]

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I'm sure many others received this message, or already knew about it, but I just got an automated voicemail from the AMP Yes Coalition that said that there is a meeting tonight at 6PM at the metro courthouse downtown for a vote to provide flexibility to fund construction of the AMP.  That's how the message was worded.  I'm not entirely sure what all that entails, but it sounds like if you can make it down there, your presence would be important.  I obviously won't be making it since my Leerjet is in the shop, but I thought I'd pass along the info.

 

They gave an email address as well with which you can pass along your thoughts if you can't make it: [email protected]

There was something in the Tennessean today about how the Mayor left the AMP off of his capital improvement budget "by mistake". And therefore the council has to vote on it as a seperate stand alone vote. Smells pretty fishy to me. Even so I'm not sure if this budget is even a real binding document or just a formality. 

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There was something in the Tennessean today about how the Mayor left the AMP off of his capital improvement budget "by mistake". And therefore the council has to vote on it as a seperate stand alone vote. Smells pretty fishy to me. Even so I'm not sure if this budget is even a real binding document or just a formality. 

The Capital Improvements Budget is not a binding document that requires Metro to pay for certain capital improvement items.  But the line items must appear on the Capital Improvements Budget in order for the Metro Council to authorize payment for those items later.  The Capital Improvements Budget is a five-year forecast of projects that is revised each year as new priorities arise. 

 

That was the hang-up with the Gulch pedestrian bridge last year:  it was not included as a specific line item in the FY14 CIB and the Council Members refused to pay for that item out of the county-wide general road/sidewalk maintenance fund.  So it was added into the CIB this time. 

 

Keep in mind that the CIB is a five-year forecast of capital projects.  Sometimes an item will be planned in one year but not approved/executed until the following year, as is the case with the Hume-Fogg renovation (gym) construction.

 

The Capital Improvements Budget is separate from the Operating Budget, which includes funding for staffing FTEs in various Metro departments, general school funding (not facility improvements/renovations), etc.  Both the Capital Improvements Budget and the Operating Budget must be approved by the Council and signed by the Mayor before the FY ends this month.

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Amp route gets test drive

 

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2014/06/24/amp-route-gets-test-drive/11322867/

 

Of interest - "...Others asked why Woodland Street would connect East Nashville with downtown when James Robertson Parkway would be easier for buses to navigate. The current proposal calls for wider roads at Woodland Street and Fifth Street to accommodate buses’ wider turning radiuses."

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Amp route gets test drive

 

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2014/06/24/amp-route-gets-test-drive/11322867/

 

Of interest - "...Others asked why Woodland Street would connect East Nashville with downtown when James Robertson Parkway would be easier for buses to navigate. The current proposal calls for wider roads at Woodland Street and Fifth Street to accommodate buses’ wider turning radiuses."

Why Woodland over JRP?  Two words:  LP Field.

 

Here's my favorite quote:

 

"Tina Banks, a committee member who lives and works in East Nashville, said the ride showed her how convenient the Amp would make travel for her, but she wishes it would extend farther east."

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Why Woodland over JRP?  Two words:  LP Field.

 

Here's my favorite quote:

 

"Tina Banks, a committee member who lives and works in East Nashville, said the ride showed her how convenient the Amp would make travel for her, but she wishes it would extend farther east."

 

I keep saying it. That route is unbalanced and favors the west side. Extend it to Trinity Lane!

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