Nashville Mayor Proposes Comprehensive Transportation Overhaul

Mayor O’Connell reveals maps for major transportation improvements in Nashville.

Today, Mayor Freddie O’Connell of Nashville introduced a series of updated concept maps designed to give residents a fresh perspective on the transformative potential of targeted transportation funding. This initiative, stemming from discussions at the Technical Advisory Committee meeting on March 6, outlines a vision for major infrastructure enhancements across the city. The “Choose How You Move” concept maps delineate plans for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on key routes, a Frequent Service Network, expanded sidewalks, smart traffic signals, and additional local and express public transit services.

These proposed improvements are part of a broader effort by Mayor O’Connell to modernize Nashville’s transportation system, addressing critical areas like sidewalk construction, signal optimization, public transit expansion, and overall safety. With the aim of creating a more accessible, efficient, and safe city for all modes of travel, the mayor’s office is actively seeking input from the public, Metro Council, advisory committees, and drawing on feedback from over 70 previous transportation plans.

A standout feature of the proposed plan is the construction of up to 86 additional miles of sidewalks, connecting busy neighborhoods to major corridors and enhancing pedestrian and cyclist safety. The plan also envisions the upgrade of around 600 traffic signals to improve flow and reduce congestion, facilitated by a new traffic management center set to launch this fall.

Furthermore, the introduction of 38 miles of BRT lanes on key roads such as Dickerson, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, and Nolensville Roads is set to revolutionize public transit in Nashville. This move towards BRT, a system that combines the capacity and speed of light rail with the flexibility of buses, represents a significant leap forward for the city, which currently lacks such infrastructure.

The transportation plan also includes strategies for service enhancement, targeting increased ridership areas with new routes and expansions. This includes considerations for reduced fares for lower-income individuals and additional land for community use at transit centers and park-and-rides.

Lisa Sherman Luna, Executive Director of the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition and member of the Community Advisory Committee, underscored the importance of inclusive planning, noting the reliance of immigrant communities on public transportation and the need for a system that serves all Nashvillians equitably.

Safety is a key pillar of the proposed transportation overhaul, with comprehensive street improvements aimed at achieving the goals of Vision Zero – eliminating all traffic fatalities and serious injuries. Mayor O’Connell’s commitment to a safer, more connected Nashville is further evidenced by the expansion of the Green and Complete Streets policy, reinforcing the city’s dedication to multimodal, accessible, and equitable transportation.

The next steps for the “Choose How You Move” plan include a Community Advisory Committee meeting on March 20, with a joint committee session to follow. A Community Engagement Plan, developed with input from the committee, will be presented, paving the way for informational sessions across Davidson County this spring. As Nashville looks to its future, Mayor O’Connell’s transportation initiative promises a city that is safer, more connected, and better equipped to meet the needs of its diverse population.

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