One of the newest and most exciting gateway areas to Donelson is the Donelson Train Station which has seen significant ridership growth in the last 4 years ranging from 15% to 45% annual increases. Located in the center of Donelson Village and connecting with buses to various destinations such as Opryland and the Airport, it is easy to envision a tremendous transit hub growing right before our very eyes. This is truly a 21st century gateway location!
So with this many people travelling thru Donelson Station daily (riders from Nashville, Hermitage, Mt. Juliet, Martha, Lebanon and their guests) what do people see when they enter the Donelson Station Area? When we enter Donelson on Lebanon Road or off Briley Parkway in an autombile we see some great landscaping combined with prominent signage letting folks now they are driving into a special place called Donelson.
What do people see and think when they travel thru Donelson Station?
- Is Donelson Station inviting?
- Is it well maintained and neat?
- It is safe for me and my family?
- Can I walk to Donelson Plaza?
- What other shops are near the Station?
- Can I catch a bus to Opryland or the Airport?
- Garbage and trash and graffiti on the Bridge?
AND How do Donelson residents see, access and utilize this train station?
- Can I walk to catch the Music Star?
- Is there a safe place to keep my bike?
- Is it safe at night to walk Home?
- Do I have quick access to Donelson Station?
- How many trains will travel this line in the future?
- What are the most effective sound & visual barriers
- What kind of materials do the frieight trains carry (hazardous)?
- Is that a park attached to the Station?
- How important are surrounding trees for visual and sound barriers?
- Who manages the train station and surrounding area?
- Who would be stakeholder organizations for the train station?
On request of a Bluefield Avenue Resident contact was made with North Eastern Railway Line in August to request maintenance of the railway line along Donelson Station (that is connected to houses on Bluefield Avenue (that back up to the railway line). The long standing resident had also clarified that North Eastern Railway had been maintaining this area until 2011 when for unknown reasons the maintenance has stopped.
As can be seen the above the growth is literaly growing over the back fence of this property on Bluefield Avenue. Donelson station is approximately 5 houses up from this location.
There had been a growing concern from neighbors all along Bluefield Avenue about the height of the grass, weeds and small trees along the railway line (running from Donelson Road to the Bridge (Lebanon Road) and onto Old Lebanon Road. Specific concern included the safety of children and pets in backyards along the railway line as snakes were spotted (and removed from backyards) over the summer period. Contact was made with Mr. Craig Wade of the Nashville Eastern Railway and he had confirmed that they were responsible for maintaining 50 feet on each side of the railway line and that he would follow up on this request.
Since the intial request and multiple communication with North Eastern Railway over the last 3 months it has not produced any clear follow up but a work crew did attempt to start mowing on the opposite site of the railway line (but did not complete the actual task - it is unclear why the clearing was not completed - although it did look like the equipment was not sufficient in size to tackle the job).
View more photos of the railway line:
The Bridge is one of the greatest examples of why a Gateway Project should be considered here. Thousands of cars go across this bridge every day while hundred's of train travellers go under the bridge. It is a happening place that has been completely neglected for way to long. There are lots of good ideas as to how this could change - obviously a serious cleanup, possibly a greenway under the bridge (giving easy access to Donelson Plaza) and even managed graffiti which is an acceptable form of urban art today.
The reality appears that if we don't do anything we are doomed to imprint a very poor picture of Donelson to our daily rail commuters as well having the potential to attract vagrants and crime in this area.
View more photos of the railway line:
We also noted that property at the Donelson Pike Railway Crossing (just beyond Fify Forward, directly opposite the Donelson - Hermitage Chamber of Commerce and at the back of 120 Donelson Pike Building) is overgrown and non-maintained with trash and debris including old tree limbs. Residents walking from the train station towards Bluefields walk past this overgrown area every day. This would be the ideal area for a Gateway Park (for both train and road travelers)