Transit listening tour uses public input to prioritize upgrades

Nashville 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The roadshow to come up with a transit plan stopped in Donelson, Thursday, for the second stop of Mayor John Cooper’s listening tour. 

People shared their opinions and requests, through fake money. 

Modern, inclusive and most importantly useful, that’s the goal for the city’s future transportation plan, one which serves everyone in Nashville. 

“We’re very, very congested,” resident, Shelia Foster said. “It’s a crisis as far as we are concerned.” 

It was another healthy showing for a process that appears to be hands-on, focused and direct. 

“(It’s) to allow us to gain more insight and input into what citizens want to see and a transportation plan that will connect Nashville,” said senior transportation adviser, Faye DiMassimo. “We provide the activity where you’ve got a resource limitation, a certain amount of money for the public to spend on certain project types.”   

“Thinking about how we need to prioritize our money, is a critical part of it, I think,” said Nashvillian Nora Kern.  

The activity’s concept was simple. Everyone started with $20 to fund what they deemed the most pressing transit need. Attendees deposited money to ‘pay’ for safer transportation, bikeways, sidewalks, and better bus lines, among other things.    

Organizers are also asking the public what it would take to use public transit over personal cars.  

“Most people are accustomed to driving their own cars and they’re like why would I take public transit when I can drive myself,” asked council member, Joy Styles. “But those are the same people asking, why do I have to drive an hour to get to work? They go hand in hand.”  

To date, through the activity, the mayor’s office says the public is prioritizing improved mass transit, maintenance on current infrastructure and sidewalks.  

Nine more listening session are scheduled through the end of February. 

Cooper plans to release a full transportation plan by the end of September. 

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