by Steven Hale
OK, actually Mayor Karl Dean's proposed bus rapid transit project will not include tracks, but rather buses occupying designated transit lanes. There is apparent disagreement though about whether the proposed route for the project — down West End Avenue to Broadway, and eventually over the river to East Nashville — is locked in.
From this week's issue of The City Paper:
But without a designated source of local funding, Holleman said, what could be a significant factor when it comes to determining which corridor would be best is missing. Until that is determined, who’s to know whether Charlotte should be used as the initial route, as part of a BRT expansion at a later date, or as part of the initial plan along with the West End corridor? Holleman insisted he just wants residents to have a chance to meet with the relevant officials to discuss what BRT on Charlotte, whatever the circumstances may be. It’s a discussion he said he believes can still be had.
“My understanding is that where we left it is, that there was going to be further discussion about funding, as well as logistics for the route, and that we were going to resume community meetings sometime this spring,” he said. “It was not my understanding that a final decision had been made.”
Of course, the route has been altered since the MTA board adopted its plan. Late last year, following discussions between business owners and transit officials, the downtown portion of the route was modified in order to avoid the ever-busy honky-tonk district on Lower Broadway. If that suggests the route in general is up for discussion, that’s not how officials involved with the project see it.
Ed Cole, executive director of the Transit Alliance, is one of the people Holleman has reached out to about organizing a public meeting on the matter. Cole told The City Paper that such a meeting should not revisit the earlier decision about the BRT route.
“In my judgment, and this is me — in that discussion, surely we could talk about why the decision to use West End and Broadway was made,” he said. “But the real goal I would hope of a meeting like that is to say, OK let’s see what we can do to put Charlotte on the priority sheet for a next phase of the project.”
McAteer concurred, saying that alternative routes such as Charlotte or Demonbreun Street were considered during the course of the study that led to the Alternatives Analysis.
“It’s not at a point where it could go down an entirely different road,” he said, when asked about the status of the route. “If you’re hearing that Charlotte could be an option, we’re past that. We got past that probably back in 2008 or something for the first BRT.”
The mayor's office would not comment on the record about the matter. Read the whole story here.