The Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority's plan to connect neighborhoods east and west of downtown Nashville with a high capacity transit system is moving closer to becoming a reality.
For the last year, MTA studied ways to link the neighborhoods of Five Points in east Nashville to Harding Pike at White Bridge Road west of town, and found the most cost effective plan would be to use buses with a dedicated lane.
Jim McAteer, MTA's director of planning, compared the system to rail systems in larger metropolitan areas but with "rubber tired vehicles."
He explained, "There will be a limited number of stations, kind of like you would on any rail system, where you can get on and get off and we will target those to the most popular places where people are working or want to go for events."
"You get on, the bus will be in the dedicated lane, it will only stop at those locations, it will be a high level of service on it so a bus every 10 minutes during the peak times. You will not have to wait hardly at all," he said. "We will have real time bus arrival information at the station so you will know when the next bus is due to arrive."
MTA has held public meetings over the last year to solicit public opinion.
Suzanne Bennett and John Orzechowski both work downtown and like the plan.
Bennett said, "It seems like it is going to preempt a lot of problems that will come down the road with traffic congestion."
"I am glad the city is valuing public transportation," Orzechowski added.
The project, still three or four years from completion, will cost an estimated $174 million.
MTA thinks the Broadway/West End Corridor Study will be the cornerstone for economic development by sparking future walk-able designs and developments.
A similar bus rapid transit route runs on Gallatin Pike but it does not have dedicated lanes.