To Amp or Not Amp?
Driving through the East and West neighborhoods of Nashville, green and red signs are displayed in yards, in hopes that the voices of locals will be heard. Some of the yard signs reading “Stop AMP,” while others read “AMP yes!” all of which indicate just how politically divided Nashvillians are on the topic of bringing Amp, the proposed $174 million bus rapid-transit system to the city.
The AMP project is a 7.1-mile bus rapid transit line that will connect East and West Nashville. The urban streetcar will run from Five Points in East Nashville to the Saint Thomas Hospital area in West Nashville, and will make an estimated 1.3 million trips a year.
With Nashville’s continued growth in population and jobs, the city is in high demand for transportation solutions, but not all citizens can agree that the AMP is the right one.
Some citizens feel that city officials have not taken into consideration the public input on the project, and that information given at local meetings has been very unclear.
Although residents have opposing opinions of the AMP project, there are many benefits the AMP can bring to the city. According to Nashville Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the AMP combines the quality of rail transit with the cost-effectiveness of rapid buses. With city residents having the option to ride the AMP, it could free up traffic on the roads, and leave Nashville less congested. Another perk to the AMP is the transit line will travel faster than a car stuck in traffic, stop along the route at traffic stations, and passengers will know their exact arrival time.
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean continues to support the Amp project. He stated, “I don’t think anyone would disagree that we have traffic issues. We need to be taking actions now, because what’s going to happen on West End is going to be gridlock not just in 20 years but in a matter of a few years.”
On December 11th the Metropolitan Planning Organization approved $4 million in funding for the Amp, which will be matched by a $1 million contribution from the MTA. Right now the AMP is in its first stages of design, and over the next few months city officials with be looking for community input to help finalize plans.
I live on West End and am a supporter of The Amp!