Nashville Mayor Karl Dean seems ready to make some big concessions in the fight over the city's proposed rapid bus line called the Amp.
Dean said Tuesday that after more than 120 public meetings, it's clear that the Amp has passionate opponents.
"The type of transit project we have proposed is a big change. And some of the concerns that have been raised are very legitimate," he said in a news conference.
For that reason, he'll concede that two sections of the new rapid transit corridor could be re-engineered, which would reduce the amount of dedicated bus lanes from 80 percent of the project to about 50-55 percent.
The section between I-440 and White Bridge Road, instead of having dedicated bus lanes in the middle of West End Avenue, could instead have what Dean calls "Bus Rapid Transit Lite," or rapid transit without dedicated lanes.
The other change affects a section closer to downtown from I-40 to the Broadway/West End split. That area would do away with dedicated bus lanes altogether, and the buses would travel with mixed traffic.
The mayor is setting up a 20-member citizens advisory board, hoping to reach a consensus on the best alternatives.
Some Amp opponents say they're glad the mayor is flexible.
Lee Beaman, who has been one of the project's most outspoken opponents, owns a block of the downtown property that would be removed from the dedicated bus lane plan.
Beaman says he's happy the mayor wants to listen, but he's still concerned.
"As long as there are still dedicated lanes along the route, there will be choke points that will back up traffic along most all of the route," Beaman said.
Beaman says he hasn't been invited to sit on the mayor's advisory panel, but he's open to the idea.
This new plan still has a long way to go. It will require some re-engineering, but that's not expected to add to the cost or the time.
And it would still have to be approved by federal authorities and would have to overcome roadblocks in the state capitol. That's where the Senate voted to block any projects that involve the center lane of traffic.
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