A coalition of downtown business leaders is again calling on the Metro Transportation Licensing Commission to restrict party vehicles that operate downtown.

During a news conference on Broadway organized by Safe Fun Nashville in 99-degree heat on Wednesday afternoon, business leaders called on the Transportation Licensing Commission to adopt final rules on party vehicles during its meeting Thursday and then strictly enforce them.

“Will they listen to the will of the downtown neighborhood of over 50,000 residents and over 78,000 downtown workers? Will they listen to the businesses, the schools and the churches?” said Jim Schmitz, a Safe Fun Nashville co-organizer. “Please approve enforceable regulations to bring this disruption of entertainment vehicles that disrupt the lives of businesses, schools and worship houses.”

The entertainment vehicle industry has come under fire in the last year, since a tourist fell from a party bus and was injured last summer. Metro Council members adopted sweeping safety regulations for the industry last fall and gave the commission authority to issue permits, approve routes and regulate drivers, insurance, noise levels and safety measures on board. The council also banned alcohol on board any unenclosed party vehicles — a measure operators said would drive many in the industry out of business.

Last month, the commission adopted draft regulations for the industry, but it delayed a vote on vehicle enclosures until it could create a separate provision dealing with tour buses.

On Wednesday, Leesa LeClaire, president and CEO of the Greater Nashville Hospitality Industry, said locals and visitors have shared that they are less comfortable visiting downtown, in part due to the environment created by party vehicles.

“We are pro-tourism and pro-business. We want to see all Nashville continue to prosper,” LeClaire said. “But we believe that some of the entertainment that is present on our streets has really created an environment that does not reflect that positive impact of travel and tourism.”

Mayor John Cooper has previously called on the commission to “regulate the party,” asking commissioners not to approve licenses for any more vehicles that are not enclosed.

“The longer we wait, the more complex and severe these issues become,” LeClaire said. “The current environment is not a long strategy for continued success and must be addressed as quickly as possible.”

The Transportation Licensing Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday.

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