Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Nashville Department of Transportation leaders believe a new automated parking program will ease congestion in downtown Nashville

By meerna Jun12,2024

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — If you’ve driven through downtown Nashville, you’ve probably encountered problems with double parking or unloading deliveries for trucks. Now the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT) wants to start a pilot program that it says has helped reduce traffic in other cities.

NDOT leaders said they hope to use technology to automate the way we use curbs on downtown streets. It’s called the Smart Charging Pilot Program. It will enable cameras and vision systems to display real-time parking data, the types of vehicles using the curb, how long they are parked and peak times. It works thanks to a technology called Automotus.

This is important software because NDOT officials say commercial parking accounts for 50% of downtown curbside activity. This in turn leads to double parking and potential safety hazards. New technology can help alleviate this.

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Some who live and work downtown spoke to News 2 and said something needs to change.

“Especially in the city. Parking is limited, especially on the streets, as garages can be expensive. If the truck takes up a lot of space, it can be frustrating,” said Nashville resident Truiett Robinson.

“From a safety standpoint, it makes it a lot more difficult to navigate and get into the wrong lane,” said Rob Graham, who commutes downtown every day.

Transport leaders say the aim is to increase the efficiency of deliveries and turnover, reduce double parking and congestion, and introduce parking fees through an automated system that collects fees every minute using passes on the vehicle.

News 2 asked NDOT questions about the implementation of the program (responses in italics):

  • What stage is the Smart Loading program currently in? What’s next in the approval process?

The next step in the approval process is to update existing Traffic and Parking Commission (TPC) regulations in relation to curb load zone management. The revised policy will be presented to the TPC for consideration in July. The updated regulation will also include proposed locations for the deployment of curb management systems. NDOT hopes to begin implementing the needed infrastructure by the end of the summer.

  • How long will it take to implement the program/what is the timeline?

Once the location is approved by TPC, it will take approximately 2 months to implement the program.

  • How can implementing such a program help make the streets safer?

This program will improve street safety by helping to reduce congestion and conflict points by tackling the illegal parking of loading/unloading vehicles on traffic lanes, cycle paths and pedestrian paths.

  • How much will it cost and where will the funds come from?

We are working with Automotus on this pilot implementation, which will be free for Metro.

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Smart loading curbs will be marked on the sidewalk to indicate where the technology is being used. Pilot leaders said it is a flexible approach to meeting community needs that change depending on the time of day. This is a possible change that some believe should happen sooner rather than later.

“I think with the influx of people, we have to adapt to maintain a high standard of living and living conditions,” Graham said.

By meerna

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