Mayor Proposes Redesign Of Amp Project Without Dedicated Lanes

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Mayor Proposes Redesign Of Amp Project Without Dedicated Lanes

CREATED Apr 2, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has announced a revised proposal for the Amp service that would eliminate dedicated bus lanes in some sections of the proposed route.

Dean said Tuesday that he has asked the Amp Project proposal team to examine redesigning the project without dedicated lanes from I-440 to White Bridge Road, and near the I-40 overpass downtown. 

The Amp is the 7.1-mile rapid bus line service that Mayor Dean is proposing to run from West End Avenue to the Five Points area of East Nashville. The proposal has faced serious opposition from some Nashvillians and state lawmakers who say it will cause more traffic congestion.

Dean also announced a plan to create a 20-member Citizens Advisory Committee to get feedback and provide input.

"Based on the project team's advice and my own desire to create an environment of compromise and collaboration, I am directing the Amp project team to consider these design changes, most significantly for the western-most portion to operate similarly to the ‘BRT lite' system operating on Gallatin and Murfreesboro roads," Mayor Dean said. "I also will be convening a Citizens Advisory Committee to help facilitate a two-way conversation with the project team and the neighborhoods most greatly impacted by this project. I expect this group, which will inevitably include both supporters of the project and dissenting voices, to work together to make the Amp the best possible transit solution for Nashville."

The project team expects to have updated design plans by the fall.

Car dealership owner, Lee Beaman, is a longtime opponent of the Amp project. His dealership is right next to one of the sections of the route that would lose dedicated bus lanes. Beaman said the Mayor's new proposal still wouldn't solve the traffic problem.

"As long as there's going to be dedicated lanes anywhere along the route, that means there's going to be choke points that will back up traffic along most of the route," said Beaman.

In March, the Federal Transit Administration along with the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Nashville's Amp had been selected for $27 million in funding in President Obama's proposed FY 2015 budget, the first installment of $75 million in federal funds for the project. Last year, the Metro Council voted overwhelmingly to support a capital spending plan to provide $7.5 million to begin final engineering and design of the Amp.

A statement from Mike Schatzlein, chairman of The Amp Coalition and president and CEO of St. Thomas Health, was released Tuesday afternoon:

"The goal of the Coalition has always been to help educate the community about the benefits of The Amp as the first step in a mass transit system for Middle Tennessee. The Amp is the right approach to help us manage the growth and development we know is coming, the best 'first step.'"

"We know, however, there are many factors that must be worked through to make this project successful, and those require constant communication and education. We applaud the Mayor's decision to create a Citizens Advisory Committee to study this project, which could allow our community to come together in support of a regional rapid transit strategy. The Amp Coalition looks forward to continuing to engage and communicate with the community and region about the urgent need for transit."