The John P. Holt Brentwood Library will be hosting one of three community meetings in the area to provide for public input on the recently released South Corridor Transportation Study.
The Brentwood meeting, scheduled for Thursday, May 2 from 5:30-8 p.m., will give citizens the opportunity to engage with the officials who have produced the study. It is meant to help turn recent transportation plans into shovel-ready projects that can modernize area roadways and address growing traffic congestion and safety concerns.
“From a Brentwood perspective, obviously I think there’s some skepticism about whether transit really ever is viable in Brentwood,” Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar said. “But in reality…if there’s ever any type of regional transit program in Middle Tennessee, I think you can guarantee that somewhere along the line, they’ll be something running from downtown Nashville to Cool Springs to Franklin, which comes through Brentwood. So, one way or the other, if there ever is a transit program, Brentwood will be impacted. That’s why we felt it was important that we at least participate in the study and have a seat at the table during these discussions.”
Part of the issue, Bednar said, simply is that Brentwood land use patterns are not conducive to transit usage by Brentwood residents.
While many may be resistant to the idea of a regional transit option, Bednar said if a mass transit system were created that would potentially take commuter cars off Brentwood roads, it could pose benefits to Brentwood residents, even if they did not use it themselves.
“If it takes cars off the road that would otherwise be in Brentwood, there’s still a benefit to the community potentially,” Bednar said. “But again, I think there’s a lot of valid skepticism about if and when something will ever happen.”
Because the purpose of the meetings is simply to gather input on a long-range planning study, Bednar said the community meetings are the time and place for residents to air that skepticism.
“I think it’s important that [people participate], given that [traffic and congestion] is a major issue for our area,” Bednar said. “Even if that participation is that you don’t think transit is an option in Brentwood, I think that also needs to be heard by the study consultants.”
“Whether you’re for something or against something, this is the opportunity to come out and share those views,” Bednar said.
Meetings are also scheduled this week at the Williamson County Public Library in Franklin on Tuesday, Memorial Building in Columbia on Monday and the Brentwood Library on Thursday. A meeting will be held Monday, May 6, in Nashville at the Adventure Science Center.
“Attendees can expect an open-house style meeting,” Michelle Lacewell, deputy director for the Greater Nashville Regional Council, said. “They can come and go as schedule allows, explore the stations that interest them the most and learn the purpose of the South Corridor Study. They will learn how the study relates to previous and ongoing planning activities and have an opportunity to document existing issues or concerns with traffic, roadways, plans, and anything else they would like to add.”
A group of regional planning organizations officially kicked off the study in early April seeking to improve transit between Maury County and downtown Nashville, but they have been preparing for the public rollout of the study for months.
During the past year, the GNRC, WeGo Public Transit and The Tennessee Department of Transportation have been meeting with city and community leaders in Williamson County and Maury County to determine what the South Corridor Study would look like.
Ultimately, the study will engage residents and business owners along the fast-growing corridor connecting communities in Davidson, Williamson and Maury counties to refine the recommendations from regional planning efforts and to identify projects that can compete for funding. The study will evaluate a variety of options along Interstate 65, US Highway 31/State Route 6 (Franklin Road), and the CSX railway. The corridor includes rapidly developing neighborhoods like Cool Springs, Nashville’s Wedgwood Houston, The Gulch and others.