2023 Mayoral Candidate:
1. What is your vision for multimodal transportation and mobility, including public transit in Nashville?
To use data-driven and economically sound approaches to align our investment in transit to the current and forecasted needs of Nashville residents.
2. What is your plan for multimodal transportation and mobility improvements, including public transit, in the first 100 days of your administration?
The first 100 days of my administration will be spent in a top-to-bottom review of all aspects of Metro government. We'll work with key stakeholders to guide determinations and create both short term and long term transportation priorities.
Directionally, we are eager to continue to support a full implementation of an adaptive traffic control system (ATCS). This will improve traffic flow across the city based on known traffic patterns and support adjustments to traffic signaling in real-time. ATCS evaluates traffic surges surrounding large events increasing the quality of life for residents.
We will examine real-time costs to businesses and commuters when road closures, construction, or street repairs are conducted during rush hour commuting times and seek to schedule such non-emergency work outside of commuting hours. We will examine how we can use economically sound surge pricing to ensure that the city is appropriately charging developers for the costs of traffic and transit disruptions, particularly during rush hour periods. We will examine regulatory hurdles that may be hindering the private sector from running shuttle systems for employees or patrons.
We will examine ridership data and where buses are running well under capacity we will examine the cost-benefit to implementing alternative options, such as subsidized rideshare (in particular for elderly residents needing increased connectivity to healthcare, recreation, and basic shopping facilities), which has been shown to significantly reduce costs for cities. Buses owned and staffed by Metro employees can then be re-deployed on higher capacity corridors - creating additional benefits for the community.
3. What is your strategy or approach for funding the multimodal transportation, mobility, and public transit infrastructure in your vision above?
Taking a regional approach to this work is paramount, because as Nashville voters have seen time and again - when we take a go-it-alone approach, Nashville loses.
Nashville and the region have spent tens of thousands of hours and millions of dollars writing plans. Such plans, backed by mayors and transportation officials across the region, cite the need for dedicated funding in order to allow Nashville to access state and federal transportation dollars requiring a dedicated local match. To achieve that result will require setting clear progress milestones - aligned to state law and future election dates - and then to effectively backward plan to do the necessary engagement and planning work and, when appropriate, place a transit referendum on the ballot to ensure that voters can make an informed decision related to costs and benefits of dedicated transit funding.
4. How will you work with community organizations, advocates, and neighborhoods to shape and build support for your vision?
To engage the public requires using all available methods - groups such as the collection of entities posing these questions to candidates, neighborhood groups, churches and places of worship, employers, event venues, as well as digital outreach methods such as online forums, social media groups, and two-way multilingual SMS communication platforms.
Trust is earned when problems that are heard are acknowledged and reasonable short term solutions are implemented and long term problems are acknowledged and appropriately prioritized. People stop engaging when they believe you are not listening, or that you are listening with a particular fixed agenda in mind.
We believe that our administration has the unique ability to reset the public's trust and perception of Metro Government as well as the trust of employees within the metro government. Importantly, my experience at the state and federal levels creates a unique opportunity to reset relationships for the city and for the region - in support of achieving better outcomes and better quality of life for our residents.
5. When making transportation decisions, how will you balance the needs of our diverse neighborhoods and people, respecting context, history, and identity?
When we know better we do better. We know that data can better guide our decision making and inform pragmatic approaches to address challenges of congestion and transit.
Data can help us make decisions related to improving traffic congestion so that working families can have more time with their children. Data can help us evaluate the needs of vulnerable residents to access transit options, including non-traditional approaches such as last-mile partnerships with rideshare services in order to increase mobility options to support transit to work, school, or healthcare appointments - while decreasing the overall costs to the system. Data informs our understanding of where there are food deserts requiring greater connectivity to grocery stores. Data can inform our approach to create transportation options for seniors who are no longer able to safely drive to medical appointments, recreation, church or grocery shopping.
6. Given Nashville’s history of inequitable transportation investment, how will you keep these investments equitable?
Transit investment is necessarily present and future looking. Many communities across Nashville have experienced rapid change over the past 10 years and planning must be aligned to the current and future projected population, as well as the needs of our aging population. It will be essential to use data to inform investment decisions based on travel patterns, population demographics, permitting and planning forecasts, and other factors. By meeting people where they are - be it a safe and well-lit lot at the edge of the county to ride a bus for a commute downtown - or a covered bus shelter with connectivity to centers of healthcare, shopping, and employment - we can help improve mobility for our residents.
7. Rank the following:
Pedestrian Infrastructure - Sidewalks, crosswalks, HAWK signals, lighting
Traffic Signalization - coordination of traffic signals to manage the speed of vehicles and efficiency of through traffic
Park and Rides - permanent, safe parking for those riding the bus into downtown
Neighborhood Mobility Hubs - decentralize the transit system by adding more transit/mobility hubs around the city (i.e., Hillsboro & North Nashville Transit Centers)
Traffic Enforcement - focused on speeding and reckless driving
Traffic Calming - speed humps, bulb-outs, trees, roundabouts, etc.
Higher Frequency Bus Routes - bus arrives every 5-10 minutes
Crosstown Routes - support existing crosstown routes and add more where it makes sense to increase one-seat rides
Transit Priority Corridors - Bus Only Lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, etc on identified corridors like Murfreesboro Pike
Regional transit solutions - WeGo Star (commuter rail), other regional commuter/express bus options
Hours of Bus Service - longer hours up to 24/7 service
Protected Bike Lanes - (Mobility Lanes)
Transit Oriented Development, TIFs, etc.
8. Explain your rankings (optional).
According to Moving Forward, Nashville is the only metro in the top 25 MSAs to not have dedicated transit funding. Therefore, on issues of regional transit, the funding must be in place or otherwise we are asking people to believe in something we cannot actually deliver - which will continue to erode the public trust.