It's no secret that Nashville has an AWFUL traffic problem, and while there's numerous factors to blame - influx of new people, lack of mass transit, etc. - one Nashville Metro Councilwoman has a different idea as to why traffic in downtown is so terrible.
Too much free parking.
Metro Councilwoman Angie Henderson says employers offering free parking is contributing to the congestion from commuter traffic.
"Some 84% of people who work downtown, drive downtown alone. If you have free parking at your employment, you are almost guaranteed to make that trip alone," she says.
Henderson, along with a Metro initiative called Nashville Connector, is working with large employers downtown to incentivize employers to carpool, bike to work, or use transit options like the bus or rideshare programs.
I'm not usually one for sharing my opinion on things...but this one sort of irks me.
"Free parking" isn't a problem, it's a symptom of a bigger problem. I would LOVE to walk or bike to work, but I live in Spring Hill - 32 miles from my job on Music Row. And while I love Spring Hill and wouldn't trade that for the world, do you know the MAIN reason I live in Spring Hill? Because housing costs closer to downtown have gotten so out of control that it's difficult if not impossible to find a house for my family that we can afford on a single income. So we live in the suburbs.
Okay, so what about buses or trains to work? Again...would LOVE to do this, but as we all know the lack of mass transit from Williamson, Rutherford, and Wilson County into downtown makes that a pipe dream.
So we drive.
Whether or not the parking at my work was free is inconsequential. I'd drive to work, by myself, every day, and just suck up the cost of parking if I had to. Because I don't have another option. So I'm grateful that my employer DOES have free parking and that's one less thing I have to worry about.
Councilwoman Henderson - don't fix the free parking problem. Fix the roads problem, and the transit problem, and the housing cost problem, and I'll bet the parking will fix itself.