The Franklin Transit Authority has approved a consultant’s Cool Springs corridor study to ease traffic congestion in one of the city’s highest-growth areas.
The study, conducted by TransSystems, suggested different scenarios by which the city could improve traffic issues in the area of where some of the biggest employers — for instance, Williamson County Medical Center and Nissan have at least thousands of employees, some of whom don’t even live in Williamson County.
“Franklin is different, in that we have a population using the interstate to go to Nashville and also coming to work here in Franklin,” said Dianne Thorne, regional transportation director.
“That’s why this is so needed here. With good growth comes some anticipated consequences.”
The consultants generated at least a few short-term options that could better serve the area, they said. Throughout the next year, the FTA wants to create more ride-sharing and car pool-options to eliminate some of the cars using highways during peak hours.
Thorne also mentioned that the FTA was working to entice some of the corporations to consider these options as a business incentive.
“We have some pretty cool private businesses in this area,” she said. “One of our goals is to partner with these employers and develop some type of reward system. You want them to look at being the best workplace for commuters in the country so they can get local and national recognition.”
According to the report, the first option would add arterial routes along Seaboard Lane and Carothers Parkway. The rerouting would extend to the eastbound and southbound routes.
Multimodal options also called for another the creation of a flex route along Carothers Parkway to directly serve residents and employees east of Interstate 65 with more demand-responsive service.
The third option would generate a large dual-direction loop that would circulate riders throughout the entire study area.
In a more medium wait-time outlook, consultants considered the local multimodal system now in place with express bus network that would better connect Cool Springs with surrounding areas.
Peak hour routes from Nashville, Spring Hill-Columbia, Murfreesboro and Antioch would connect to whichever local transit option was chosen at a new Transit Center east of I-65 in a location to later be determined.
The longest option suggested would convert the express route buses to run all-day and on weekends, instead of just in the peak times. A light rail or bus rapid transit line also might connect Franklin and Nashville.
The report also calls for pedestrian bridges across I-65 to join both sides.
“The area doesn’t increase,” Thorne said. “You have a fixed asset, and you have a lot of people using that asset. We have to protect Franklin’s quality of life. The [consulting group] did a good of establishing the need.”
The entire 105-page report can be found in its entirety on the FTA website. The study will go before the Board of Mayor and Alderman as a courtesy, but FTA board members said it doesn’t require approval from elected officials.
Next steps for the group will mean evaluating potential funding options and the continuation of transit studies pushed by Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson. One of the next transit summit presentations will be in September, but no official date has been set.
The Federal Transit Administration, the State of Tennessee and the City of Franklin all provided information for the study.
Emily West covers Franklin for Home Page Media Group. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter via @emwest22.