A Mobility Policy for Working Families
Traffic is the number one issue I hear about on the campaign trail. The people of Nashville deserve a vision and a plan that accounts for continued growth and makes it easier for families to live and thrive. So far, we have failed to make the infrastructure improvements necessary to ensure that all residents can easily move throughout our city. To make progress, Metro government should enact short-term innovative solutions and technologies, while also working with residents and regional stakeholders to develop a long-term transportation plan. A regional consensus is essential to address our transit challenges and to prepare Nashville for the future.
Establish an Office of Mobility
To manage our city’s large-scale transit improvements, I will establish an Office of Mobility within the Mayor’s Office. Staff will be tasked with monitoring and executing traffic and transit management, and oversee a revenue-generating referendum within my first term. This office will work with the Departments of Public Works and Planning to increase efficiency, transparency, cross-departmental communication, and accountability when it comes to transportation-related policy decisions. The vision of this office will be to promote a more multi-modal future for Nashville while ensuring both transit equity and pedestrian safety.
Invest in Short-Term Traffic Fixes
To address our traffic challenges, Nashville needs to invest in short-term, cost-effective solutions. This includes traffic lights that are correctly synchronized and timed, implementing transit management technology on all major thoroughfares, and redesigning existing roadways so that pedestrians, cars, and buses can safely coexist. Alleviating traffic also includes solving our parking problem. Metro needs to retain all revenue, and invest in smart parking technology to upgrade meters and develop tools that will make it easier to find and pay for parking. That includes stepping up enforcement of parking violations so that Metro can collect any outstanding fines which will then be reinvested in our transportation system. Our current parking infrastructure is decades out-of-date, and it’s time to build a system fit for a 21st-century city.
We also need to maximize the use of multimodal transportation options already available by implementing tools for wayfinding, transit location tracking, fare payments, and trip planning with real-time information about public and private options. The Mayor’s Office should lead efforts to establish public-private partnerships to integrate this data and create web and mobile apps for residents and visitors.
One of the most important fixes, however, is increasing WeGo service. Thousands of residents rely on our city’s bus system, and we’ve ignored this issue for too long. We need 24-hour services lines that each every part of Davidson County, and we need to decentralize bus routes so that riders don’t have to go through Downtown to cross the city. We need to look at implementing rapid service and transit signal priority, improving bus stop access, and develop a new electronic fare payment system. It’s time we can WeGo an option for all working families in Nashville.
Make Our Neighborhoods Safer
We also need to make our neighborhoods safer for all pedestrians. To do this, we can reduce speed limits and implement more traffic calming measures such as roundabouts and speed bumps. These are relatively simple solutions, yet they’ve been reserved for affluent areas while the rest of Nashville suffers. This is especially true when it comes to pedestrian infrastructure. If we’re serious about becoming a safer city, we need to ensure that every neighborhood has useable sidewalks and protected bike lanes. We need to fund sidewalks with at least $30 million annually and complete the majority of the 91 miles of the priority bikeway network by 2023. It’s also essential that we implement the Vision Zero plan and complete the Impossible Crossings projects to eliminate fatalities and injuries.
Develop a Long-Term, Regional Solution
Short-term fixes to alleviate traffic are essential. But to truly solve our transportation challenges, we need to finally develop a long-term transportation infrastructure plan that will improve the quality of life of all residents. Within my first 100 days as mayor, I will create the Office of Mobility, and task them with developing a plan that will assert our position as a progressive, global city. This includes listening to residents to better understand the unique needs of every neighborhood, as well as working with surrounding counties to build a system that will connect every community in Middle Tennessee. To get buy-in from county leaders, the state, and the federal government, Nashville needs to lead from the local level. This will require an equitable and data-driven transit plan, a dedicated source of funding secured through a voter referendum, and a mayor who will always fight to do what’s right for working families.
This is a working document based on feedback from thousands of residents across Nashville. Have an idea? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.