Shifting Gears, Tennessee Lawmakers May Target Amp’s Center-Lane Design

Current designs put the Amp's dedicated lanes down the middle of the road, with an area in between for people buying tickets and waiting to board.  That would not be allowed under the latest Senate proposal. (Image via Nashville MTA)

Current designs put the Amp’s dedicated lanes down the middle of the road, with an area in between for people buying tickets and waiting to board. That would not be allowed under the latest Senate proposal. (Image via Nashville MTA)

Tennessee lawmakers in both Senate and House committees Wednesday eased off blocking a dedicated bus lane across downtown Nashville, but  the legislature could still toss a wrench into Metro’s plans for the bus project, known as the Amp.

The Senate language would stop the Amp from loading or unloading passengers from the center lane, potentially forcing Metro officials to retool their designs, as well as their slick promotional animations.

The reasoning from Amp opponent Rick Williams is that barring use of the center lane would be safer: “People are texting more now.  People are not paying attention, they’ll come up to a redlight, they won’t see it and they’ll hit somebody, and we’re just concerned about it being in the center of the road.”  Williams also said the move keeps things simple for cars turning left into shops and restaurants along West End, where many oppose the Amp.

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s Ralph Schulz, who backs the bus project, stopped short of saying the center-lane requirement could be a deal-breaker, but argued such design considerations are best left up to experts.

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