Metro Council Moves to Ban Decorative Rope Lighting On Major Roads | Nashville Public Radio

Metro Council Moves to Ban Decorative Rope Lighting On Major Roads

Nov 20, 2017

Rope lights line the windows of gas stations and minimarkets throughout Nashville— but one Metro Councilwoman wants them taken down, and says they could distract drivers.

A bill to ban the decorations is inching closer to approval.

The El Pueblito Supermercado in Antioch looks like any other market during the day. But at night, its red walls and candy cane-striped awnings come alive with brilliant blue and white rope lights.

It’s a dizzying sight — which is why Councilwoman Tanaka Vercher says the lights must go.

“At night, when you’re coming off I-24 and are directly approaching the stoplight, you have this big glare and it impedes your visibility at night.”

El Pueblito Super Mercado at night.
Credit El Pueblito Super Mercado / Via Facebook

Vercher’s bill would affect mostly small businesses along major thoroughfares like Murfreesboro Pike and Nolensville Road, where storefronts are often lit day and night by the colorful lights.

Vercher told WPLN this summer that her primary motivation for the bill is safety — she worries that egregious rope light displays on busy streets could cause accidents. But the message that the lights send to passerby is also a concern for Vercher.

“We’re trying to minimize that ‘Vegas appeal’ within such close proximity to neighborhoods," she said.

Notably left out of the new proposal is downtown: businesses along Lower Broadway will not have to take down their rope lights. Private residences with rope light displays are also spared.

The bill met no opposition at the public hearing and will receive a third and final vote at the upcoming hearing on Tuesday.