The Dickson City Council likely will have two sites to consider during their September meeting for a future, permanent Dickson-Nashville express bus pick-up and drop-off site.
City planners expect to present the council Sept. 8 with finalized cost estimates for a second possible RTA Park & Ride site on a tract of land bordered by Highway 46 and Pomona and Black roads.
The council delayed a vote during their Aug. 3 meeting for another Park & Ride site at 110 Livestock Road, forwarded to the council after a recent municipal finance and management meeting.
During the Aug. 3 council meeting, City Administrator Rydell Wesson reported Vice Mayor Mike Legg contacted him after the finance meeting and asked city officials to “revisit a site that we had previously worked on.”
Legg confirmed after the meeting being a partner in the ownership of the Pomona site; and reported that site initially was considered as part of a grant application for the Park & Ride project.
“Someone submitted and found this property on Livestock Road,” Legg said, “and I just asked about the other property since it was the initial selection and which the grant was based.”
Bobby and Jackie Hogin own the Livestock Road site.
Wesson explained after the meeting that planners used “a corner of that total tract” of the property at the Pomona site when applying for a state grant. Planners however, underestimated property pricing in that area, he added.
“When we were awarded the grant and reviewed some of the documentation, we realized property sales were a lot higher in that area, and that land was not available at that time in that place,” Wesson said. “We moved off and started reviewing a lot of different areas.”
Legg told The Herald he and his partners bought the Pomona site property in late 2014, but they “knew nothing” about its potential as a Park & Ride site.
Wesson noted during the Aug. 3 meeting that planners “put (the Pomona site) back in pipe;” and RTA officials were scheduled to assess the site last week, “to make sure that the buses can enter and exit that site as well.”
That assessment was not available as of press time.
Legg told The Herald he will not vote on or discuss the Park & Ride site at the council meeting; and wasn’t sure if his partners want to sell the property.
Wesson explained RTA favored a site where the mass transit buses can enter the highway from an intersection with a stop light.
Mayor Don Weiss reported during the Aug. 3 meeting that “the only reason (RTA) would even look” at the Livestock Road site was due to its inclusion in the Traffic System Management project.
“That’s going to be a lighted intersection,” Weiss said.
The TSM project consists of intersection and traffic light improvements stretching along Highway 46 from Highway 70 to Interstate 40.
Wesson explained Alexander Drive and Livestock Road will be realigned as part of the TSM, and become a “signalized” intersection. A TDOT safety grant will “improve” the railroad crossing there too, he added, with new crossing lights and arms installed.
Livestock Road site
Wesson told the council Aug. 3 that he had finalized “numbers” for the potential Park & Ride site on Livestock Road.
Wesson reported a previously unconsidered 20-foot easement on the west side of the Livestock Road property, which will accommodate about 30 more parking spaces; and raise that site’s total parking to approximately 90 spaces.
“That site has a 20-foot easement to the west for the parking that we were unaware of,” Wesson said. “We’ve incorporated that 20-foot easement and what you have now is another row of parking, so that site has two parking sizes.”
Wesson explained “interior” parking sizes will consist of 9-by-18-foot spaces, and “exterior” parking sizes will be 10-by-20-foot spaces.
Wesson reported the property size, amount of parking, and construction costs for the Pomona and Livestock roads sites were almost identical.
“Again this site size-wise, parking-wise, estimation of construction, they’re pretty much mirrored,” he said.
Weiss acknowledged “a little bit of concern” for the traffic on Black Road with the Pomona site, “because everything across the street from that is residential.”
The cost to develop either site is projected to be around $100,000, Wesson confirmed after the meeting, and the Livestock Road property would sell for about $275,000.
Legg did not know the appraised market value for the Pomona site.
Site development would include grading, paving and striping the parking areas, Wesson noted.
“We’d like to see some type of pavilion erected, like you see at an airport location or any other location, where 20-30 people could walk to or get under if need be,” he added.
The city and county received a $294,000 TDOT grant, which can be used to purchase either property.
Wesson explained the grant requires a 5-percent match from the city and county.
Wesson expected to present the city council with a draft contract between the city and county for development of either Park & Ride site by the council’s Sept. 8 meeting.
“We need to draft a contract between the city and the county,” Wesson said during the August meeting. “This is a purchase that while using grant funds, at the end of the day the city and county will own the property.”
Wesson told The Herald the city “can financially handle” the site’s development “without any problem at all, as far as our portion.”
Wesson speculated – “and just thinking out loud” – if a site was approved in September, and the city/county contract passed by October, the project could be finished within 90-120 days, weather permitting.
“Weather will become a factor,” he said. “If that becomes a factor, it will push us to spring. I sure would hope it’s up and operational by spring.”
Wesson did not expect to provide the council with a preference for either site.
“If they’re mirrored and they’re identical and the cost is the same, we simply present them to the council,” Wesson told the council.
The county commission must approve the site and plan too, he added, but “it appears that they’re going to let the city of Dickson take the lead on this.”
The Regional Transportation Authority of Middle Tennessee began a Dickson-Nashville daily commuter bus route in January, picking up and depositing passengers at a temporary site in the Walmart parking lot on Beasley Drive.
The first bus departs from Walmart weekdays at 5:55 a.m. and arrives at Music City Central in downtown Nashville at 6:45 a.m. A second bus leaves Dickson weekdays at 6:30 a.m. and arrives in Nashville at 7:25 a.m.
Return trips in the afternoon depart from MCC weekdays at 4:10 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. and arrive in Dickson at 5:05 p.m. and 5:50 p.m., respectively.
Each ride costs $4 and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The buses accommodate up to 54 passengers per bus.