Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ding! Dong! The AMP is [officially] dead!

I have been arguing from jump that the east-west connector proposal (involving bus rapid transit) should be dead on arrival because it deliberately excluded sections of Nashville, like North Nashville, that needed it more than the hotels on West End did. The Amp plan was a case of class and ethnic prejudice that once more mustered public revenues and infrastructure in support of wealthier, whiter communities at the expense of others.

Early on I was simply ignored and no bus rapid transit supporters responded to my concerns.

When they started responding to me, it was to make the case that the transit authority had considered all modes of travel (conveniently leaving out that not all corridors had been considered).

When the arguments that the Amp was a case of transit inequity started gaining traction across the city, Ampsters in what now appears to be a peel-off move, insisted that West End was merely the spine of a region-wide transit plan that would also bring BRT to corridors elsewhere beyond the east-west corridor. All of the sudden they began vaguely predicting future northward legs.

Today the Metro Transit Authority officially proclaimed the Amp dead. And MTA's new executive admitted what many of us had known all along, namely that the Amp was never designed to spread beyond east and west Nashville. These are CEO Steve Bland's exact, pertinent words on the Amp today:

Frankly, it would have been difficult to replicate in other corridors.

Nope. We were not the fools some made us out to be.


  1. I agree with your points on why the Amp should have been dead on arrival.
    Unfortunately, the MTA Board still has not voted to kill the Amp (or, even to Cease Design Work). Officially the feds are still evaluating a BRT in Dedicated Lanes until the MTA Board passes a different "Alternative". The public awaits an upcoming 30 day Public Comment period for the NEPA review (for a BRT in Dedicated Lanes, on Broadway West End) that will happen at some point before August 2015. The MTA has never understood the FTA process, and has relied too much on the MPO (which has agreements to distribute fed transit money through the Metro Planning Commission...done on the Consent Agenda). The Feds will likely fail the MTA NEPA review due to the lack of Design work - but that is their call!

    Here is the 1.22.2015 MTA board meeting, where the MTA CEO recommended the MTA Board take No Action that day on the Amp (among other things).
    MTA Reform, Anyone?
    -Margo Chambers

  2. The Amp plan was one centered on federal funding. Federal funding would only go to high-density corridors. There is only one potential high density corridor in Nashville, and that is the one the Amp was to run on (and the one that was conveniently rezoned a few years ago to allow more density).

    This is wrong: "The Amp plan was a case of class and ethnic prejudice " and it assigns malice where greed, fame, or monument-building are the real culprits.

    In this case, the color green was more important the distinction between black and white or rich and poor.

    1. Prejudice does not only manifest in premeditated ill will (malice). It also takes the forms of benign neglect and resource concentration. Hence, it also occurs with greed, fame, or monument-building.