The Metro Nashville Transportation Licensing Commission unanimously voted to restrict when pedal taverns and low-speed vehicles can operate in Music City.
Last Thursday, the commission approved a policy prohibiting pedal taverns, horse carriages, pedicabs and other slow moving vehicles from working between 7 - 9:30 am and 4 - 6:30 pm. The rule will be enforced only from Monday through Friday.
"You add construction and slower moving vehicles to normal traffic, it causes problems and safety issues," Transportation Licensing Commission Director Billy Fields told NewsChannel 5.
About six months ago, Metro city council passed a legislation that allows the TLC to come up with the rule. The commission also relied on a study conducted by the RPM Transportation Consultants using video data collected from three downtown intersections during peak hours.
The study explained that the slow moving vehicles accounted for less than 2% of the regular vehicular traffic at one of the intersections.
However, pedal taverns were found to take significantly longer times to cross intersections and take turns.
Drivers have reached out the city thanking them for the new policy in hopes it will ease congestion. Several shared on the NewsChannel 5 Facebook page expressing approval since downtown traffic is already heavy during peak hours.
"When people are in downtown, they have an expectation of being safe and the expectation of being able to get to work and home in the afternoons," Fields said.
Business such as Joyride Transportation & Tours aren't pleased with the new policy. Partner Grant Rosenblatt said they are forced to rearrange hours, pay and contracts within two weeks.
"It's going to make us rush into a decision and hurt our business," Rosenblatt said. "We do get busy during those hours."
Joyride is already restricted from traveling on roads with speed limits of 40 mph or higher. Rosenblatt feels businesses like his should be exempt since the study did not specify all vehicles.
"We were unfairly lumped on a study that only focused on pedal taverns and horse carriages," Rosenblatt included. "The demand is there and people do need rides and these are peopel fueling the tourism and tax dollars that are improving all of Nashville."
Fields said the commission will take into consideration deadline extension requests from businesses to deal with existing advertising contracts.
"We want them to be here and we're doing all we can and work with them to make it all work," Fields added.
The restriction should take effect at the next commission meeting on November 17th.
Drivers could be suspended if found violating the policy.