November 3, 2008
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Nashville MTA Opens ‘Music City Central’
The Metropolitan Transit Authority in Nashville held grand opening ceremonies Oct. 24 for its new downtown transit station, Music City Central with buses beginning to serve the station two days later.
The state-of-the-art, climate-controlled transit station, located in the central business district, replaces the outdoor Transit Mall on Deaderick Street. MTA estimates 20,000 people will travel through the station each weekday.
MCC, with 434,314 square feet of space, has two levels to serve bus riders, offering climate-controlled waiting rooms with comfortable seats, continuous storefront windows and terrazzo flooring in the upper and lower grand entries; a staffed Customer Care Center; ticket vending machines; a doughnut shop; space for a small retail business; and a community meeting room. MTA buses provide service to 24 bus bays.
“We have seen a steady pattern of growth during the past six years,” said Nashville MTA Chief Executive Officer Paul Ballard. “With Music City Central and additional services like the Regional Transportation Authority’s Music City Star [commuter rail line] in existence, we are beginning to see improved regional connectivity for public transportation in this area. That’s the next step in making transit a viable choice for more people.”
MCC also has a strong musical theme that plays out in a variety of ways and elevates the facility beyond a transfer station for bus riders to a downtown tourist destination. The station is located near the former site of a theater that was the second largest in the nation when it opened in 1850 and provided a variety of entertainment options until its demolition in 1957.
The plaza outside Music City Central includes a small concert stage, shaped like the base of a guitar; interspersed throughout the plaza’s concrete flooring and inside are inlays of sheet music depicting familiar Nashville and Tennessee songs, as well as public art sculptures depicting gigantic tuning forks and pairs of drumsticks. In addition, each vehicle parking level is designated by a musical instrument and artwork from three area elementary schools.
The MCC project received 80 percent federal funding, with the remainder from state and local sources.