CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Clarksville City Council will hear an update on the Northwest Corridor Study during its regular meeting on Thursday.
The study — initiated by the Regional Transit Authority of Middle Tennessee — is intended to consider options available for travel between Clarksville and Nashville.
To that end, the study is looking at transportation improvements along the northwest corridor to Nashville, and look to address the anticipated growth in population and traffic along Interstate 24.
According to the study, some recent population projections indicate the region could see an influx of an additional 1 million people by 2040.
One aspect of the study has been to have active discussion and participation with stakeholders, as well as strong public engagement.
On Thursday, members of Two Rivers Company, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and revitalizing the downtown and riverfront areas of Clarksville, heard a presentation on the study.
“One size doesn’t fit all, so whatever is right for you, as long as it’s more dense and more intense than what you have, it’ll work,” said Shawn Dikes of Parsons Brinckerhoff, an engineering and planning consulting firm working in partnership with the RTA.
Dikes noted that his firm is working to determine which transit options would work best for the region, as well as which options would see the most use by customers.
The study explores not only the transportation improvement options available — including express buses, tolled express lanes, bus rapid transit (BRT), light rail transit, commuter rail and bus-on-shoulder, which would allow some buses to travel along the shoulder of a highway at low speeds during congestion periods — but also which routes would support commuters between Clarksville and Nashville.
Transit corridors initially considered in the study included Interstate 24, state Highway 12, the CSX/R.J. Corman railroad, the Nashville and Western railroad line and US 41A South.
Dikes said transit customers overall want their travel options to be simple, dependable, permanent, convenient and have a competitive travel time.
And from the public input received on the Northwest Corridor Study, researchers determined that participants and stakeholders are most concerned with the availability and width of railway right-of-ways, potential conflicts with freight rail traffic, potential noise and other environmental impacts and the funding levels for these projects.
Judging by information gathered to this point, consultants were able to determine that BRT and express bus service would be possible for the I-24, Highway 12 and 41A corridors, Dikes said.
Bus-on-shoulder and tolled express lanes would only work for I-24.
Dikes added that public input also indicated a slight favor for commuter rail over bus service.
Of the two railway corridors considered, however, only one was likely to be able to support commuter rail at this time — the Nashville and Western.
The CSX/R.J. Corman line already is a very busy commercial railway corridor, and therefore generally unlikely to be given much consideration to being able to support passenger traffic, Dikes said.
Potential locations for transit stations in Clarksville for the available options would include the I-24 park and ride location for the express bus, BRT and bus-on-shoulder service along that corridor, and a Golf Club Lane location for the Highway 12 and 41A express bus and BRT routes.
For commuter rail, there’s a potential for three service stations, including a close-to-downtown station at Crossland Avenue and Second Street, a Golf Club Lane location, and an Ashland City Road location that could tie into Clarksville Transit bus service.
The next steps will be to develop and evaluate more transit alternatives, as well as the technical analysis, such as determining information on travel demand and cost estimates, Dikes said.
As more information becomes available, Dikes said researches would be able to eliminate more options and discover which ones would work best for the region and the customers, meaning they’ll be able to come up with “a locally preferred alternative or alternatives” for transportation.
The Clarksville City Council will hear the northwest corridor presentation at its regular session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, in council chambers.