I was wondering when this story was going to show up. Given that this project started almost a year ago, the Tennessean seems to be playing catch-up at a very late stage. Reporter Nancy DeVille sort of portrays some of the frustrations Salemtown residents have expressed with TDOT:
[The $7.5 million construction project that is widening the Rosa Parks Boulevard bridge over I-65] has stripped away rows of trees that residents say once served as a buffer between the gentrifying neighborhood and the interstate. That will leave only a chain-link fence between the homes and the traffic on I-65.
The constant highway noise has ... several Salemtown neighbors buzzing about possible sound barriers.
However, the Tennessean does not dig very far down into this matter, which gives TDOT an opening. TDOT's work has disrupted and impinged upon the quality of life here in Salemtown. That work helps an interstate that sliced up historic Jefferson Street neighborhoods a long time ago. But rather than show any interest in giving something back for at least the inconvenience, TDOT passes the buck back to us:
[TDOT's BJ Doughty] recommends Salemtown residents begin initial noise wall discussions with their council member. Councilwoman Erica Gilmore, who represents the area, says she plans to work with neighbors on ideas for noise reduction
This line of newspaper reporting is deceptive, and it lacks any historical awareness of the ways the neighborhoods have identified sound barriers as part of their expectations for their community. Salemtown's neighborhood association had a business meeting with candidates for state office last August at which time we raised concerns that TDOT's Rosa Parks make-over include efforts to abate the noise. Council Member Gilmore was at that meeting and acknowledged our concerns. Nancy DeVille's reporting not only makes no mention of that, but her story indicates that no progress has been made on any solution with TDOT in the last 8 months.
Moreover, there is no indication in the Tennessean story that Ms. DeVille took a look at earlier community plans, like the one from 2002 in which residents clearly identified "noise walls and heavy foliage" as necessary for the I-65 interface. In the 2010 North Nashville Community Plan, Metro planners acknowledged the neighborhoods' wishes for "enhancements" along I-65, including "sound walls, buffering and landscaping" (p. 50)
So, TDOT's passing of the buck to Salemtown is bogus. It is shameful and frankly insulting that the Tennessean ignores the context and the facts (and the ways some of us have hammered away on this for years) that might help their reporter help the bureaucrats to see that.