Creating Places: A Citizen Observer's Look at Nashville's Built Environment

Writer's Note: William Williams' interest in the manmade environment dates to 1970, at which point the then-young Williams started a collection of postcards of city skylines. The collection now numbers 1,000-plus cards. Among the writer's specific interests are exterior building design, city district planning, demographics, signage, mixed-use development, mass transit and green/sustainable construction and living. Williams began his Creating Places column with The City Paper in February 2005. The column in its original form was discontinued in September 2008 and reinvented via this blog in November 2008. Creating Places can be found on the home page of the website of The City Paper, at which Williams has worked in various capacities since October 2000.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Creating Places: Austin mulls mass transit

Click here for an interesting read regarding Austin and its efforts to land a modern streetcar.


  1. WW, I am astounded that the powers-that-be in Nashville are looking at BRT, which will be a disaster. Not spending those millions on anything would be a better alternative. First, let's disabuse all of the notion that these hired consultants are objective. Next, it's predictable that adding a dedicated space for buses on West End will make a bad situation with traffic even worse.

    THE ANSWER is to create new dedicated lanes (for BRT) or tracks (for LRT) that encircle the most congested areas of town. For example, in best case scenario the city would plan and build tracks up Church Street westward to Centennial Park... around the park, where it would split out to Charlotte (to White Bridge Rd.) and the other direction along 31st/Wedgewood back through Music Row and ulitmately to Demonbreun, past the Convention Center and across the Gateway Bridge to East Nashville. Duh!!!! And the city did not have to pay me a dime!

  2. Parking spots/lanes currently run along the sides of West End. So, dedicated BRT lines could possibly occupy those lanes. Buses are the best option for now. It is the most cost effective and the least obtrusive for Nashville at this time. Nashville simply does not have the density for light rail or street cars. Perhaps someday we will?

    Honestly, other than "cutsey" asthetics and charm what does light rail or street cars accomplish that a bus does not? If the bus system is packaged, branded, and designed well it could still be a unique experience. And for all you green freaks, they could still be hybrid or electric.

  3. Austin's plan comes out to 78 million per mile and carry only 30,000 per day. That will hardly put a dent in congestion.
    I used to live in San Diego. They have spent 30 years building a trolley system which, though cool and sexy, has not diminished traffic woes.

    Buses are the way to go. More buses, more often on more routes.