Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.
Nashville Weighs Big Plans for Transit
One year after a proposal for an expanded mass transit system for metropolitan Nashville divided the city, Nashville transit officials have presented for public discussion three possible alternatives for improved and expanded transit service through 2040, The Tennessean reports.
The alternatives range from an ambitious plan to add streetcar and light-rail lines, 11 new crosstown bus routes, a commuter rail line to Clarksville and 12 new express bus services, including “freeway BRT” along the shoulders of regional highways, to a much more modest plan that would expand the “BRT-lite” service already operating in three corridors, add freeway express buses and expand local bus services. The price tags for the three alternatives, from the top tier to the bottom, are $5.4 billion, $2.4 billion and $840 million.
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry wants the public to weigh in on the three alternatives before Nashville’s Metro Transit Authority recommends a final expansion plan in the late spring or early summer. MTA Executive Director Steve Bland said he believes the city should “go bigger and bolder” by incorporating at least some elements of the most ambitious proposal in whatever final plan emerges. Several other MTA board members backed this view, saying that increasing traffic congestion in the Nashville area makes bold solutions necessary.
Istanbul to Get $10 Billion Canal
The Kanal Istanbul, the largest of a raft of transportation projects in Istanbul, will get underway by year’s end. When complete, the canal in Turkey’s largest city will divert maritime traffic from the heavily used Bosporus Strait shipping channel by serving as the new main shipping route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
Istanbul’s canal will bypass the crowded Bosporus. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)
The Railly News reports that Turkish Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication Binali Yıldırım issued a statement signaling that work on the project will get under way soon.
“We will offer a bid price for our Kanal Istanbul Project,” Yıldırım said. “We are planning to start construction work of Kanal Istanbul by the end of the year.”
The project, which according to an earlier report has a price tag of roughly $10 billion, will dig a new canal along the western edge of Istanbul’s European side, turning it into an island between Asia and Europe and creating two new peninsulas in the process. The 43-km (26.7-mile)-long canal will connect the Black Sea and the Marmara Sea, from which ships will proceed to the Mediterranean. A new city of 500,000 is also part of the project, as are a new seaport, a new airport, several bridges, new metro lines and projects to preserve natural resources along the canal’s route. An anticipated 150 to 160 ships per day will use the canal when it enters service; no opening date has been announced.
Paris Considers Tram Extension
The International Railway Journal reports that Paris transport officials have begun the initial public consultation phase for an extension of the Tramway des Maréchaux, a circumferential modern tram around the city’s outer edge.
The Paris tram opened in 2006. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
The extension would take tram line 3b into the city’s 16th arrondissement via one of two possible alignments between the line’s current terminus at Porte d’Asnières and Porte Dauphine, where the extension would connect with RER Line C and Metro Line 2. Along the way, the line would also connect with RER lines C and E and Metro Line 1 at Porte Maillot and Metro Line 3 at Porte de Champerret. The line would also serve the Palais des Congrès and Paris Dauphine University.
The Line 3b extension to Porte d’Asnières is currently under construction and expected to enter service in December 2017.
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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.