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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Maytown: Still. And Yet.

Maytown, the fantasy of a gigantic city-in-a-pasture, an Emerald City producing an endless stream of taxpayer dollars for Metro coffers, is up again before the Planning Commission, and soon before the City Council. There's a new traffic-study-of-the-old-traffic-study--you can read it on the Planning Commission site on underlines what we have been saying about the absurdity of putting a city in a pasture. Especially a pasture with essentially no roads going nearby.

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There is an old saying amongst city planners—or there should be: Cities can only be built where people can get to them, and successful cities only happen where people already are.

The fantasy of a money-generating Maytown—currently accessible by canoe, helicopter, and a tiny road at the end of a 16-mile trip from downtown—is unraveling as folks look a little closer. The new traffic analysis says two bridges would be needed, and adds that no one has calculated the taxpayer costs of interstate expansion, new cloverleafs, road widening, and the extra bridge.

I also liked the one-bridge scenario with a “non-repeating event”—i.e. wreck, traffic jam, or barge running into bridge—forcing Maytown’s projected 40,000 workers to use tiny Old Hickory Boulevard to drive home. That’s one lane heading north the 5 miles to Highway 12. Parked bumper to bumper, this road would accommodate 1320 cars. You do the math—20 feet per car, 5280 feet per mile, 5 miles. Add a repeating event, such as George West on his old Farm-All tractor, or a deer bolting across the road, or a tree falling in an ice-storm. I think you get the picture.

Maybe this is why Maytown needs a 15-story hotel. It certainly is part of the reason why, if we need Maytown, we need it somewhere else.

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