The AMP is a very good start to a much larger regional rapid transit network. It will become the backbone of the system envisioned in the Nashville MPO’s Regional Transit Plan that was unanimously adopted by Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s elected officials in 2010.
The current selected corridor is the obvious choice for a successful BRT project because of the number of destinations, jobs, and people living on the corridor. That density and diversity will be the key to winning the federal grants. We have to build the backbone of the system first before proceeding with the rest of the system.
BRT is the best “bang” for the rapid-transit buck. The proposed AMP project will serve an area almost twice as large as a light-rail or streetcar project would have for the same amount of money, while attracting virtually the same ridership.
BRT projects like the AMP yield extremely good return-on-investment. Cleveland’s 6.8 mile Healthline cost $200 Million to build but generated over $4 Billion in economic development along the corridor. That’s a whopping 1,900% return on investment!
Additionally, the Healthline’s ridership was much better than projected. Their initial projections were similar to the AMP’s, about 1 1/2 million rides per year… the actual numbers for 2009 were 3.9 million rides, and in 2011 the number had increased to 4.5 million rides per year.
The AMP will make it easier to get around town. By connecting the east and west through the heart of downtown, residents and visitors alike will have access to many destinations and attractions and only have to park once instead of 3 or 4 times.
We are already behind our competitor cities like Austin and Charlotte when it comes to building rapid transit. Let’s not wait any longer, now is the time to invest in our future so we can stay competitive.
Some business owners have raised concerns about losing some on-street parking along the corridor. Many of those spaces are only available during off-peak hours. Additionally, in exchange for 2 or 3 on-street parking spaces in front of your business, the AMP will deliver 25,000 potential customers to your front door every week, customers who do not need a parking space.