Nashville is launching its first department focused solely on transportation. The agency will be responsible for a variety of road-related issues — such as improving the bus service, reducing traffic congestion and creating more sidewalks, bikeways and greenways.
“We are a 21st-century city but we may be running a little bit on 20th-century infrastructure,” Mayor John Cooper said on Wednesday. “We have to keep that updated to have the future that we should.”
Last year, Nashville set a record high in pedestrian deaths with 39 lives lost. Cooper said creating safer streets for pedestrians will be the department’s first job.
Cooper’s senior advisor on transportation and infrastructure, Faye DiMassimo, will act as the department’s interim director. She will help oversee the upcoming Traffic Management Center to revamp the city’s traffic signal system.
Creating this department was one of the promises that Cooper campaigned on. It’s part of his $1.6 billion plan to modernize Nashville’s transportation system. The city has committed over $30 million in its budget to kickstart the new agency.