Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Let public officials know your opinion on the AMP. Oponents need to attend the public meetings!

This week there are still several opportunities to tell public officials, in Nashville your opinion of the proposed $175 mile bus rapid transit project known as the AMP.

Today's Tennessean had this to say about last night's meeting:

Supportive green shirts outnumbered critical red ones as some 400 people turned out Monday night in East Nashville for the first of four public meetings on a controversial mass transit proposal.
 The crowd at East Park Community Center seemed largely in favor of the 7.1-mile, $174 million bus rapid transit line known as the Amp. The proposal hasn’t secured much of the necessary federal, state or local funding yet, but $7.5 million of design and engineering work is well underway. (link)
I can tell Michael Cass why the proponents out numbered opponents. It is because these meeting were presented  as an opportunity to participate in the "final design," not an opportunity to have as say as to whether or not we should fund the AMP or where the route should be. I envision these meeting to be about what kind of benches and signage and style of garbage cans to have at the individual stops. I envision them to be about how to reflect community character at individual stops. Maybe a chance to advocate for bike racks at the stops; not an opportunity to voice an opinion that this is not a wise use of public funds and it is on the wrong corridor.

Below is  the press release from the MTA about the meetings. The highlighting is mine to call attention to the language used to make this meeting appear that the AMP is a done deal and opponent need not attend.
Next Round of Public Meetings Scheduled for Final Design and Engineering of the Amp

January design charettes to take p lace in four areas of community
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, 5:3 0 p.m., East Park Community Center theater, 600 Woodland Street, 37206
  • Downtown o Tuesday, January 14, 5:00 p.m., Nashville Downtown Partnership, 150 4 th Ave., N., Ste. G - 150, 37219
  • Midtown o Wednesday, January 15, 5:30 p.m., Metropolitan Board of Parks and Re creation, large conference room, 2565 Park Plaza (near Centennial Park) 37203
  • West Nashville o 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 th e 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.
 It is clear from this press release that opponents of the AMP were not welcome at this meeting. This is a meeting for people who have already bought in to the concept. This is presented as a meeting for those already on board. However, if the press is going to present this as a referendum on the AMP, opponents should show up in large number.

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1 comment:

  1. Michael Cass was incorrect when he said proponents outnumbered opponents. That was certainly NOT the case at the two charrette meetings I attended--midtown and West End. Mr. Cass also neglected to mention that a lot of the pro-AMP people are being paid to support the AMP. Those would include Ralph Schutz of the Chamber of Commerce; Mike Schatzlein of St. Thomas Hospital, who is apparently being paid by the hospital to shill for the AMP full-time; people who work for Calvert Street group and for McNeely Piggott & Fox, 2 PR firms promoting the AMP and being paid with your tax dollars to do it; Ed Cole from the AMP Coalition, a pro-AMP group funded by local business interests that stand to benefit in some way from AMP construction; MTA communications and other staffers, and Metro staffers. People from at least two different groups opposing the AMP showed up -- one woman had printed up her own "No AMP" stickers and people from Stop AMP--all Nashvillians who don't think the AMP is a good idea for a lot of reasons. And plenty of people affiliated with neither of these groups who don't want the AMP showed up.

    The Tennessean has been a member of the AMP PR team. Its reporters should be ashamed.