Monday, March 11, 2013

Westerholm advocates uneven, unequal growth

Retorting to those who have criticized the location of bus rapid transit along affluent West End without consideration of slower growth corridors like Charlotte, CM Peter Westerholm tears a page out of the Karl Dean playbook and pastes it in the Tennessean:

I agree that infrastructure like transit can be a great driver for new development, which is needed not only on Charlotte, but also on several major corridors leading into Nashville, including from the north and south.

Transit, however, is not just an economic development tool; it connects people to work, to housing, and to entertainment and recreation. Successful systems work when people already have a reason to ride. Cleveland’s BRT system worked so well precisely because “it connects downtown to major employers.” West End has the major employers, the restaurants, the hotels, the attractions, the parks that people want and need to access.

I knew all along that Hizzoner's West End BRT proposal was intended to serve the wealthy institutions along the western corridor like Vanderbilt, the hospitals, and the hotels/tourism industry. Nice to see a council "progressive" finally concede that there is little "mass" in the transit proposal, since it was never intended to serve the masses. It is a Darwinian transit policy bent to the least vulnerable in the Nashville caste system. It leaves North Nashville in the dust of Davidson County's economic disparities.

I guess we can see that Peter Westerholm will likely never be confused with a renegade left-wing populist on the Metro Council. Liberal elitism advocates a more conservative, trickle-down method of growth, which is exactly what Mr. Westerholm opines.


  1. I can't speak for the avenues North/South, but Charlotte Avenue, with access to underserved populations, plenty of open space for new development and/or parking, and great access to downtown is a real loser here. BRT will fail on West End and future lines will be tabled for decades.

    On West End, there will be 100 cars park-and-ride at Elmington and nothing else will change except the loss of 2 lanes of traffic. Parking farther down West End has not been indentified (because all the land is developed up to White Bridge).

    Take some time to drive West End during rush hour. Yes, it can be bad in places. But, it can be empty, too. From 5:00 to 6:30 pm., between 440 and St. Thomas, West End going outbound will be empty - really empty, like 1 or two cars in 2 lanes of traffic for 1/2-mile. I've wanted to stand in the middle of the road and take a picture and send it to whoever coordinates traffic lights.


  2. You forget to mention the East-siders who might use BRT to get to Springwater to get wasted on PBR. Or the downtowners who ride to J. Alexanders. Better, and cheaper, than getting a cab. I see the BRT line as being most beneficial to the people who live and work near the line. I happen to live and work near the line, and will be using it regularly. Many destinations are near West End/Broadway/Woodland, not Charlotte or a North/South route. Better to build where the destinations already exist, as well as the built-in user base. Also, Westerholm may be liberal, but I don't consider him elitist. You must know him better than I do!

  3. At the very least Charlotte should be next in line for a BRT Lite route.
    Really, instead of this very expensive BRT, we should quickly add BRT Lite lines to as many routes as possible: West End, Nolensville Rd, Dickerson Pk, Jefferson St and more.