John Ray Clemmons, Nashville mayoral candidate

Commentary by John Ray Clemmons

Mayor Briley has once again proposed to sell public property for a one-time budgetary gain. The March 4, 2019 memo from Mayor David Briley and a subsequent March 11, 2019 presentation to the Metro Traffic and Parking Commission outline his clear intent to outsource public parking in Nashville. Part of Briley’s outsourcing proposal includes extending enforcement to 10pm, ending free Sunday parking, and increasing fines. I strongly oppose this private parking monopoly proposal and the sale of land to fill one-time budget gaps.

Copying failed policies from Chicago is not the way to run our city. Signing on the dotted line to outsource the only affordable parking options in this town would be a raw deal for Nashville residents. We cannot allow this mayor to create a private parking monopoly, take pennies on the dollar for expected parking revenue, and hinder our city’s urban planning options for three decades.

Agreeing to accept $30 million in exchange for an estimated $350 million dollar enterprise would amount to a breach of this mayor’s fiscal duty to taxpayers. This is especially true given the serious financial needs of our public schools, affordable housing crisis, and antiquated infrastructure systems – above and below ground.

We need a 21st-century transportation infrastructure system that works for all of our residents.

Any such parking privatization proposal would not only allow a private company to control vital parts of our roadways, but it could also effectively limit our ability to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, enact short-term traffic solutions, protect our environment, and build a forward-thinking mass transit system. `

My administration would retain ownership of and increase affordable public parking options, modernize our parking system by adopting tech-based dynamic pricing for parking meters, implement timed lights and traffic synchronization, and improve safety by installing new, clearly designated crosswalks, bike lanes, and sidewalks.

Nashville deserves a leader who will work to solve problems, not someone who seeks to create new ones. This decision is set to be made on April 23 by the Metro Traffic and Parking Commission, and I urge my fellow Nashvillians to reject this proposal and this administration’s repeated attacks on the character of our city. It’s time for a fresh start.