Titans Game to screw up Thursday afternoon rush hour traffic

With a Tennessee Titans game scheduled for a 7:25 PM kickoff tomorrow at Nissan Stadium, authorities have decided to seal off some downtown streets and bridges at 4 PM.  The Woodland Street bridge will close at that time to everybody but pedestrians and shuttle buses (and, one presumes, bikes).  MTA buses that normally use that bridge are instead being redirected to the James Robertson Pkwy and Jefferson St bridges.

Additionally, the Korean Veterans bridge will close to car traffic heading into East Nashville as the game nears its end.  There are other MTA routes that will be on detour for (apparently) all day Thursday, but it’s not clear from the city’s press release what other streets will be closed.

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MTA keeps its promise to fix bus station bathroom

Two months ago, Music City Riders United (MCRU) posted a photo of the men’s bathroom at Music City Central, the downtown bus station.  The photo equated the vandalized restroom to the bathrooms at the old state prison, showing the missing stalls in both bathrooms.  The transit riders’ advocacy group’s photo caught the attention of MTA board members and a few local media outlets, and the MTA promised swift action.

Within a few weeks, Lamont Walters noticed that the MTA was putting up some temporary stalls in the men’s restroom:

Today, I went by and saw that the transit agency had completed its work, installing permanent stalls, hand soap dispensers, and new hot air hand dryers:

Men's bathroom at Music City Central

MCRU also reports that the MTA has promised cleaner bathrooms for both women and men.

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nMotion is now the official transit plan

nMotion, the far-reaching plan to expand transit throughout both Davidson County and its neighbors, has been adopted by the boards of both the MTA (local) and RTA (regional) boards.  The members of these boards both voted unanimously to go with the plan after a month of public input that saw almost a thousand comments come in.

“The adoption of this plan is the first step in building a meaningful and equitable public transit network that addresses the anticipated growth in Nashville and Middle Tennessee over the next 25 years,” said MTA Board Chair Gail Williams. “The plan identifies specific strategic actions Nashville and the region needs to take to begin working on the growing traffic and congestion. It is a historic day for public transit and the citizens in our community. Additionally my thanks to the many members of the community that engaged in this process to improve transit for all.”

In the near term, the MTA and RTA will begin simplifying their services through such steps as improved fare payment systems and a unified brand.

Earlier: MTA and RTA aim to increase ridership 430% with ambitious nMotion planNew Ideas for Transit: Right Now

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Clement Landport dealt final death blow

Earlier this week, Mayor Barry announced that she had inked a preliminary deal to sell the Clement Landport, an ill-fated transit project in SoBro.

The site of the landport, adjacent to Demonbreun St, Cummins Station, and CSX railroad tracks, will be sold to the owner of Cummins Station.  The land deal is just one part of a bigger agreement to create the necessary easements for a new pedestrian bridge over the tracks and to provide a capital infusion to the MTA.

The land was originally acquired by the MTA in 1995 with some help from then-Congressman Bob Clement.  They had grand plans for it: a multi-modal transit station, with bus bays, commuter rail (from the adjacent CSX tracks), light rail connections, and car parking were all part of the scheme.  Only two of those things ever came to that site (busses and cars), and only one of them really ever did well there (the cars).  The CSX tracks were too busy with freight traffic to accommodate any passenger trains, and Nashville is yet to see any light rail (at least, since it was torn up some decades ago).

In 1998, MTA opened the structure at Clement Landport.  The top level, which connected to the old Demonbreun St bridge, included bus bays, a ticket office, and a waiting shelter.  Ramps led down below to parking.  At one time, up to 15 different routes utilized the station.  But when, a few years later, the Demonbreun St bridge was declared structurally unsound and torn down to be replaced, the Clement Landport was left orphaned: the bridge had been the only way to access the landport structure.  The bridge was rebuilt in a few years, however, and the landport reconnected.  It still never did very well, and the buses stopped using the landport in 2012.

“The (commuter) trains have to come.  If they don’t, I’m not sure the landport will have much value,” former MTA CEO Paul Ballard told The Tennessean in 2005.

Now, the entire structure — top and bottom — is used for parking.  And the MTA knows it’s sitting on a valuable, underutilized piece of real estate: $8.4 million for the 3 acres.

Even as late as last fall, the MTA was still thinking about resurrecting the landport as a second downtown transit hub.  Even the new 25-year strategic transit plan, nMotion, intends to build a second bus station in the southern part of downtown.  But with this sale in process, it seems that the Clement Landport will not be the site of that bus hub.

In the deal worked out by Barry, the city government would purchase the land from the MTA, give the state and the city their 10% interests in the property, then sell it to the owner of Cummins Station for $7.56 million.  The bridge wouldn’t actually be built on the site of the landport, though.  Instead, it would have a landing on another part of Cummins Station’s property, for which the city will pay them $2.662 million.

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MNPS’ transportation woes continue, this time with MTA bus passes

A lot of high schoolers at Metro Nashville Public Schools are having trouble getting their free MTA bus pass this school year, The Tennessean is reporting.  Through the city’s StrIDe program, public high school students in the county can use their school ID badges as bus passes.  But with the switchover to a new student information platform this year, a lot of students are having trouble getting those badges.

On top of those problems, many students (of all ages) in the system aren’t assigned to a regular school bus route yet — because of the adoption problems with the same computer system.

Earlier: Some MNPS students don’t have a bus route, even though the school year has already started

On the plus side, the school system’s spokesman says they’re on track to issue those ID cards a month earlier than last year:

Many students who attend an out-of-zone school, such as magnet school students, depend on MTA buses to get to school on a daily basis.  Joe Bass said that some students are being given temporary MTA passes to tide them over till the problem is resolved.  They expect all students to be issued school IDs by August 26.

Meanwhile, all of the school bus routing issues should have been resolved by August 13, the district reports.

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Nashville traffic a hot mess, putting people’s tempers to the test

Today Metro Schools started back, clogging up the streets, especially around schools:

And to make matters worse, there was a fatal crash on I-40 this morning. The single-vehicle crash, which gave the driver fatal injuries, reduced the inbound side to a single lane near White Bridge Pike for the morning rush hour.  Traffic is backed up at least 8 miles.

And what backs up cars also backs up the buses.  My own bus got delayed in traffic around an elementary school this morning.  Another bus driver said that many buses are running behind schedule because of the school traffic and I-40 accident.

Drivers are none too happy about the delays:

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Shooting at central bus station

One teenager was critically injured, while three others received minor injuries, by a gunman at Music City Central just before 4:00 this afternoon. The shooting happened on the escalator. Two suspects are now reported to be in police custody.

A nearby citizen told WSMV that he saw an estimated 25 emergency vehicles arrive at the scene.

This is sure to affect the evening commute home for most bus commuters who use the central station, but the only alert put out by the MTA was, “Customers may experience some delays to our services due to an emergency at Music City Central.”

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