2023 Mayoral Candidate:
1. What is your vision for multimodal transportation and mobility, including public transit in Nashville?
Nashville is behind its peer cities when it comes to public transportation. Since 2010 commute times are up nearly 10%, and many roadways are at or beyond capacity. Our transportation system is currently not working for far too many families.
By providing high capacity corridors and mobility options, we can improve access to jobs and create a more affordable city. And we must focus on safety, which is why I am committed to implementing the Vision Zero strategies. By developing safe and protected bike and pedestrian infrastructure with efficient and frequent transit, we can create a more accessible and affordable Nashville for everyone.
During my time in office, Nashville will construct a dedicated-lane, gold standard BRT system from the airport to downtown via Murfreesboro Pike. We will focus on developing mixed-income housing, retail and employment options at transit stops along the corridor.
2. What is your plan for multimodal transportation and mobility improvements, including public transit, in the first 100 days of your administration?
Nashville has many adopted plans. As Mayor, I will accelerate the implementation of these plans. In addition, I will enact policy changes to encourage new infill housing and accelerate the goals of the Affordable Housing Task Force, nMotion, Vision Zero, and other community-driven plans.
Additionally, in the first month that I am in office, we will announce the outlines of the plan to build the gold standard BRT system between the airport and downtown. By doing so we can begin to build the culture of mass transit for Nashvillians.
3. What is your strategy or approach for funding the multimodal transportation, mobility, and public transit infrastructure in your vision above?
Nashville is the only metro in the top 25 MSAs to not have dedicated transit funding. We must have a dedicated source of funding, though in the short-term, I will prioritize the existing Metro budget to coordinate spending on multimodal corridors and connecting infrastructure.
Metro should be able to receive a significant portion of the funding for the construction of the BRT system from the airport to downtown by using outside sources. Because the 55 Murfreesboro (current bus line) has the highest ridership of any bus line in Nashville, the project is well-positioned to receive 60% - 70% of the funding from the federal government. In addition, the Airport Authority can pay for all of the infrastructure of the project from the airport to the first transit stop, which could be ~15% of the cost of the project. The balance of the cost of this project can be financed with Metro's Capital Spending Plans and Operating Budgets.
For future transit expansions, Nashville will need to adopt a dedicated funding stream as discussed above. I believe that by building momentum for investing in transit infrastructure as discussed above, the city will be better positioned to approve dedicated funding in the near future.
4. How will you work with community organizations, advocates, and neighborhoods to shape and build support for your vision?
I believe we're strongest when everyone has a seat at the table. That is the approach I will take as Mayor - on transit and each of the major challenges facing our city. My administration will proactively reach out to transit advocacy groups, transit opponents, neighborhood associations, Metro Council members, and other community stakeholders in order to develop our transit plan, determine the schedule for approval, and address key community concerns. When people are asked to help craft a plan, they are invested in its success. We will need a broad coalition support in order to adopt an ambitious plan, and proactive communication will help bring together that coalition.
5. When making transportation decisions, how will you balance the needs of our diverse neighborhoods and people, respecting context, history, and identity?
Development has far too often displaced or negatively impacted communities of color. In order to avoid repeating these mistakes we must engage in intensive community engagement. I have done this work in the past while at MDHA and commit that my administration will prioritize this type of engagement. Having an equitable and robust transportation system will have significant benefits for communities that historically have been neglected by our city.
6. Given Nashville’s history of inequitable transportation investment, how will you keep these investments equitable?
I commit to intentionally reaching out to communities in which our city has underinvested historically. I have a proven track record of having done this both in the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development and in launching an ambitious affordable housing plan and moving to MDHA to implement that plan.
In addition, I commit to update Metro's HUB system to ensure that Metro addresses residents' requests with equity and access. We need to do a better job serving everyone in Nashville. We need to conduct regular spot checks to ensure repairs are not focused on wealthier neighborhoods who tend to request more repairs.
7. Rank the following:
Transit Priority Corridors - Bus Only Lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, etc on identified corridors like Murfreesboro Pike
Transit Oriented Development, TIFs, etc.
Crosstown Routes - support existing crosstown routes and add more where it makes sense to increase one-seat rides
Pedestrian Infrastructure - Sidewalks, crosswalks, HAWK signals, lighting
Higher Frequency Bus Routes - bus arrives every 5-10 minutes
Hours of Bus Service - longer hours up to 24/7 service
Regional transit solutions - WeGo Star (commuter rail), other regional commuter/express bus options
Traffic Signalization - coordination of traffic signals to manage the speed of vehicles and efficiency of through traffic
Traffic Calming - speed humps, bulb-outs, trees, roundabouts, etc.
Protected Bike Lanes - (Mobility Lanes)
Traffic Enforcement - focused on speeding and reckless driving
Neighborhood Mobility Hubs - decentralize the transit system by adding more transit/mobility hubs around the city (i.e., Hillsboro & North Nashville Transit Centers)
Park and Rides - permanent, safe parking for those riding the bus into downtown
8. Explain your rankings (optional).
Priorities are based on cost-benefit analysis. I'm very open to items moving up or down the list based on that criteria.