Monday, December 16, 2013

MTA, Amp Coalition Announce Public Meetings

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 12:00 PM

After the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced last week that it will hold a series of public meetings next month to begin a "public input process" for the final design and engineering phase of The Amp, word comes today that The Amp Coalition will hold a tele-town hall on the project Wednesday night.

The Amp is Mayor Karl Dean's proposed $175 million bus rapid transit line that would run from the St. Thomas Hospital area on the west side to Five Points in East Nashville. Metro is seeking $75 million from the federal government for the project, but won't get an answer until next year. So far, state officials have not seemed eager to chip in the $35 million Metro wants from them.

The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, however, did vote last week to approve $4 million in funding for the project.

Details on the MTA's public meetings, and the coalition's tele-town hall, after the jump:

From the MTA's release:

In mid-January, the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) will kick off a public input process for the final design and engineering phase of the Amp, Nashville’s proposed bus rapid transit system.

MTA will hold four initial public design sessions in January to solicit community input and a second round of meetings in March to discuss how the input has been incorporated into the project.
Project manager Mark Sturtevant said the charette-style sessions will include members of the new project team, assembled in October to work on the final phase of design.

“Community input is crucial as we move into the final stage of design,” said Sturtevant. “We are now at the phase in which we want to dig in and answer detailed questions about the system, so we can ensure it serves its primary purpose — to alleviate growing traffic congestion along the city’s densest corridor.”
Dates, times, and locations for the January design sessions are listed below:

* East Nashville
* Monday, January 13, 5:30 p.m., East Park Community Center theater, 600 Woodland Street, 37206
* Downtown
* Tuesday, January 14, 5:00 p.m., Nashville Downtown Partnership, 150 4th Ave., N., Ste. G-150, 37219
* Midtown
* Wednesday, January 15, 5:30 p.m., Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation, large conference room, 2565 Park Plaza (near Centennial Park) 37203
* West Nashville
* Thursday, January 16, 5:30 p.m., Montgomery Bell Academy, Paschall Theater, 4100 Harding Rd., 37205

The sessions will include a project overview and small group breakout sessions with displays and preliminary plans available for those discussions. The purpose of these sessions is to incorporate the community suggestions that uniquely represent each neighborhood impacted by the Amp.

Each charette will focus on the portion of the route in which the meeting is held — for instance, the East Nashville session will focus on design details for the East section of the route — but the meetings are all open to residents from every part of Nashville.

Speakers include project managers from CDM Smith and Volkert, Inc., the two consulting and engineering firms engaged for the Amp’s final stage of design, and from MTA. CDM Smith is the firm that designed Cleveland’s Health Line, the bus rapid transit system on which the Amp is partially modeled.

Bob Polk, Volkert project manager, said the initial portion of design and engineering work enabled MTA to successfully apply to the FTA’s Smart Starts program, but comprises only about 30 percent of the total work necessary in the design and engineering process.

“The input we gather through these design meetings will enable us to make adjustments to all aspects of the project, from route to stations, as necessary in order to make this project the best possible for Nashville and this specific corridor,” said Polk. “Once those changes are incorporated, we’ll come back to the public again to present the revised plan.”

Specific dates for the second round of community input meetings to be held in March will be announced later.

And from the coalition, on the tele-town hall:

On Wednesday, Dec. 18, at 6 p.m., the Amp Coalition will host an educational Telephone-Town Hall meeting to provide an overview of The Amp project to date and share information about how residents can get involved, including the upcoming public meetings scheduled from January 13—16. The call will serve as an opportunity for residents to learn more about the status of the project.

The call will go out to thousands of randomly selected registered voters across Nashville; but to guarantee a spot, callers may pre-register by completing the form on the Amp Coalition website: http://ampyes.org/tele-town-hall-meeting/. The deadline to pre-register is 12 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 18. The Tele-Town Hall will also be live-streamed from the coalition’s website.

Media may also call in to a listen-only line at (832) 225-5885, ext. 23390#. At the conclusion of the call, media are invited to stay on the line and ask questions to the participating members of the Amp Coalition.

WHO: Nashville Mayor Karl Dean
Dr. Mike Schatzlein, Amp Coalition chairman
Ralph Schulz, Amp Coalition vice chairman
Bert Mathews, chairman of TAMT Inc.
Ed Cole, executive director of the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee
Mark Sturtevant, Amp project director for the Nashville Metropolitan Transit Authority

WHEN: Wednesday, Dec. 18
6 p.m.

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