2023 Mayoral Candidate:
1. What is your vision for multimodal transportation and mobility, including public transit in Nashville?
Multimodal transportation and public transit are literally connected. Transit is meaningless if we can't access it. Nashville is way behind in implementing both. My first elected job was in St. Paul, MN (my husband was finishing his JD/MBA, so I moved there to live with him for a couple of years), where I served on the district council during the design of a light rail route to the airport. In Nashville, I have attended the Transit Alliance's leadership academy, served on the South Corridor task force for the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC), and as mayor of Oak Hill I established a multi-modal task force. We worked with Nashville Civic Design Center to design and apply for a grant to install a multi-modal route along Franklin Pike connecting Nashville to Brentwood, with a connector to Radnor Lake (this would have connected to Percy Warner as well because Forest Hills was working on a connector).
As a senator I've passed legislation to have the Tennessee Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) study passenger rail opportunities in our state. I currently serve on the Senate Transportation Committee where we just passed the largest transportation bill in the history of our state. Getting into the weeds with these processes has taught me a lot about the challenges our city faces, the importance of working with the public, and engaging community stakeholders.
Nashville needs to move past studying this issue, implement what we've learned, and aggressively get the ball rolling on projects that will move us towards useful transit and multi-modal connectivity. GNRC's Regional Transportation Plan serves as an excellent foundation for identifying and funding an initial plan. As mayor, I will establish a task force (inclusive of GNRC, CM-T, WeGo, Walk/Bike Nashville, and other community stakeholders) to expedite the process of prioritizing and installing multi-modal route connectivity in our city, while working towards regional solutions. The task force will have a clear directive to consider bold options—such as moving Radnor Yard to Wilson County, and light rail transit (LRT) on major highway corridors and to the airport from downtown—as well as scalable investments like bus-on-shoulder operations.
2. What is your plan for multimodal transportation and mobility improvements, including public transit, in the first 100 days of your administration?
Our state just passed the biggest transportation plan in our history. We have the funding to seriously address a lot of transportation and mobility improvements. The Metro Planning Commission has been an effective aggregator for projects. We will work with the Transportation Policy Board to expedite and prioritize multi-modal project rollouts and will also work with WeGo and CM-T to make sure that we're prioritizing both municipal and regional efficiencies.
3. What is your strategy or approach for funding the multimodal transportation, mobility, and public transit infrastructure in your vision above?
We haven't taken full advantage of the federal funds available to us. I have been and will continue to work with the federal government, Amtrak, and our state government, to make sure that we are taking advantage of every opportunity to fund these projects in Nashville.
4. How will you work with community organizations, advocates, and neighborhoods to shape and build support for your vision?
Nashville is an historically red-lined city, and to this day we have issues that significantly impact equity and accessibility in our community. The St. Paul airport LRT project was routed through neighborhoods that were financially struggling when I was there, and on a recent visit I was amazed by how much the corridor had changed since its installation. The connectivity dramatically improved the neighborhoods along the route, and I believe that expanded and improved transit options will similarly benefit our residents and neighborhoods.
5. When making transportation decisions, how will you balance the needs of our diverse neighborhoods and people, respecting context, history, and identity?
Are we building a city to visit? Or a city to live in? This is the theme of my campaign. For too long municipal governance has been oriented towards outside developers. My administration will be focused on Nashville's diverse neighborhoods and on protecting our shared history, buildings, sights, and landmarks. As we're making plans to literally connect our neighborhoods it's important that we do so with a vision for improving quality of life for ALL Nashvillians, with a particular focus on our most underserved areas. We need to open more seats at the table for this conversation.
6. Given Nashville’s history of inequitable transportation investment, how will you keep these investments equitable?
Successful public policy requires an interconnected, continuously adaptive approach. Equitable solutions for Nashville's transit issues, our public education system, our city's affordability, accessibility & inclusion, public safety, workforce & economic development issues, are all related. Determining priority locations for transportation investment must be informed by Nashville residents' most urgent needs. We need to focus on the infrastructure that will spur local investment in all quadrants of our county. My philosophy is that we all do better when we all do better.
7. Rank the following:
Transit Priority Corridors - Bus Only Lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, etc on identified corridors like Murfreesboro Pike
Neighborhood Mobility Hubs - decentralize the transit system by adding more transit/mobility hubs around the city (i.e., Hillsboro & North Nashville Transit Centers)
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
Crosstown Routes - support existing crosstown routes and add more where it makes sense to increase one-seat rides
Transit Oriented Development, TIFs, etc.
Protected Bike Lanes - (Mobility Lanes)
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
Traffic Calming - speed humps, bulb-outs, trees, roundabouts, etc.
Traffic Enforcement - focused on speeding and reckless driving
8. Explain your rankings (optional).