Friday, May 15, 2009

The nail in May Town Center's coffin

Enclave commenter DG read the entire 115 pages of the May Town Center traffic impact study, which came out this morning, and he sees a mortal wound in the original MTC proposal:
Read through the whole thing. I think it's the nail in the coffin of MTC as proposed. Either the thing is way scaled down, which destroys its justification as a Cool Springs within Metro's borders, OR somebody is going to have to spend hundreds of millions and get community approval on a new bridge, massive infrastructure improvements, and a public transit plan that ties it into MTA. Who is paying for that? Not the Mays, at least not without taking most, or all, of their profit away.

The dismissal of the image of happy bike commuters pedaling through a nature preserve on their way to high tech jobs is one of the funniest pieces of the new study. Pedestrian/bicycle commute would have ZERO impact on traffic.


  1. No one has said that May Town Center was going to be the esasiest proposal attempted. Most jumped on the idea the bridge would be the stumbling block. That scare generated myth has been disspelled.
    There is also no doubt that a green space will be forever present in the Bend alongside mixed use living space. It is also acceptable that up to 20-30% of workers in May Town Center will reside there, also.
    We also need to remember that May Town Center will create 1000's of support personnel jobs that will generate millions of dollars of spending power for Nashvillians.

    Why it is difficult to use all of this speculative power to react to the negative and not focus on the positive seems opposed to the new and younger generation Nashville is seeing. I would think this group would be more of a "I can do it " attitude, than a "I can't do do it" mentality.

  2. Anonymous -- do you get paid to toe the MTC line or are there people really gullible enough to believe this nonsense, much less believe anyone else is gullible enough to believe it?

    There is primarily doubt about the impact of MTC and green space in the entire Bell's Bend area. My money is on 20 years until every inch is paved.

    Your speculations about the boon of of MTC is an ungrounded and uncritical sales pitch.

    If I can be so presumptuous as to say so, the younger generation of Nashvillians is, frankly, sick of charlatans and talking heads promising something they can't deliver, "for the good of the community" which is in actuality just a naked money grab at the expensive of that community.

  3. There is no mortal wound in this study. And I can't understand the perpetual downplaying by the opponents of the chances of this proposal succeeding. You can't get folks to step up and do the work required to stop a development when they're constantly led to believe that it's not going to happen.

    Having said that, I am for this development.

    This latest study finds two major problems with the earlier traffic study done by the May Town developer. First, they based their study on future work planned by TDOT to surrounding highways; work that's on a to-do list but not yet funded. The new study suggests looking at the impact of increased traffic on these roads (Briley, Charlotte, White Bridge) if those scheduled improvements are NOT done. That senario would limit the amount of traffic that can even get to the bridge.

    The second major problem is that the traffic signals one encounters upn reaching May Town create a bigger bottleneck than the bridge, and thus would be the limiting factor.

    The first problem could be solved by accelerated funding of those projects through some lobbying. After all, those improvements are already planned to be paid for by the state.

    The second problem requires a plan to allow drivers to enter and exit the town without having to stop at only one light. That's a simple engineering problem.

    This development will have to have a second bridge to fully build out it's "Senario one." That bridge must carry cyclists and mass transit options to get the traffic numbers down to maximums on the first bridge. However, I don't think that bridge will be required under the developer's self-imposed 35,000 max cars on the first bridge. That means either Senario One needs to be scaled back or the developer needs to pay for a second, smaller bridge fifteen years down the road (if the success of this development warrants it).

  4. "The first problem could be solved by accelerated funding of those projects through some lobbying. After all, those improvements are already planned to be paid for by the state."

    David, those projects upon which MTC's traffic planning depends were in the 2005 long range transportation planning study, and cost $160.1 million in 2005 dollars. The horizon for the plan was 25 years, and three of the five projects were scheduled for 2025 at earliest.

    In the meantime, tax revenues have plummeted and projects have been deferred.

    The projects that would allow MTC's traffic proposal to be even minimally effective may not ever be funded, and even if funding were found, are not scheduled until well after MTC is built.

    The May Town proposal relies on a commitment of a massive amount of taxpayer dollars AND a significant change to public spending priorities. The fact that it wasn't addressed in the May Town proposal can hardly been seen as an oversight.

    So the Mays can make a huge profit on their investment, taxpayers are expected to fork over a lot of money. With inflation, the five transportation projects along would cost two hundred million dollars by next year.

    I do not believe that any local official would seriously consider that level of public spending to benefit a tiny class of real estate speculators.

  5. "I do not believe that any local official would seriously consider that level of public spending to benefit a tiny class of real estate speculators."

    As you stated, these projects are part of a 2005 long range plan. They were not proposed in anticipation of May Town center, which was proposed in 2008. Whatever need planners saw for these projects in 2005 still exists.

    If the current time line is 2025 without MTC, then it's reasonable to expect an approved MTC could move that time horizon forward, especially if the developers succeed in convincing the powers that be that increased tax revenue coming from the development would help cover costs.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the TDOT for a moment. The senario at hand is that work already in the 2025 plan will acommodate MTC traffic when finished, and a necessary bridge is already going to be funded privately.

    The alternative is that this growth occurs in other counties over the next 20 years and you (TDOT) have to build interstate ramps in what are now empty fields (a la McEwen in Williamson County), AND you still have to do the improvements to Briley Pkwy, I-40, Charlotte and White Bridge.

    It makes good sense for the state to commit money to the projects already planned around MTC and then corral growth into those areas served by the improved infrastructure.