Mayor Cooper working with legislators to regulate slow 'transpotainment' vehicles in Tennessee

Posted at 5:18 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 18:26:45-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's almost inevitable. Anyone spending time on Broadway or in downtown Nashville will eventually cross paths with or even be trapped behind one of Music City's many forms of "transpotainment."

Whether it's a pedal tavern, tractor-pulled hot tub, repurposed firetruck, or a tractor-pulled party wagon, these kinds of parties on wheels have become a headache for locals living and working in the area.

Because Tennessee cities do not currently have any authority to regulate these vehicles, Nashville officials have not intervened in the growing trend. However, on Thursday, Mayor John Cooper announced his work with state lawmakers to create a bill that would put the power back in city officials' hands when it comes to slow moving vehicles.

“We want to ensure that everyone who visits Music City has a great time,” said Mayor Cooper. “However, the complete lack of local control over these entertainment vehicles in one of our busiest neighborhoods has created safety concerns and tremendous headaches for both downtown brick-and-mortar businesses, residents, and local commuters. By working with the state, we hope to ensure that downtown Nashville remains a fun, world-class tourist destination while implementing commonsense policies that prevent traffic jams and disturbances to local residents and businesses.”

SB2513, which is sponsored by Senator Steve Dickerson (R - Nashville), would add "transpotainment" to the list of passenger service vehicles municipalities could regulate. Regulation could include:

  1. safety policies for both participants and residents;
  2. the presence of industry vehicles on local roads during peak commute times; and
  3. preventing local business disturbance by loud music during normal hours of operation.

“These vehicles initially added to the character and fun of the city, but with our rapid growth has come the unintended consequences of growing pains,” said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “While no one intends to eliminate this aspect of our entertainment, we need to make sure that downtown remains a great place to live and work, as well as visit.”

“The proposed legislation allows Nashville the opportunity to create reasonable policies to improve safety, mobility and quality of life,” said Tom Turner, President and CEO of Nashville Downtown Partnership. “This will provide a healthier balance for those that live, work and play in downtown Nashville and ensure a more robust and sustainable center city.”

The bill was introduced on February 5 and has been referred to the Senate Transportation and Safety Committee. HB238, sponsored by Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, was crossfiled on February 2, 2020 and has been referred to the Safety & Funding Subcommittee.