Friday, December 7, 2012

MidSouth Complete Streets Progressing

Complete Streets are roadways designed to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and public transit users of all ages and abilities.

Here in Memphis, we like to focus the conversation on a few core principles; among them, economic growth and fiscal responsibility.  From time to time on this blog, in addition to making posts specific to our outreach and advocacy efforts, we may post articles that relate to the goals identified by our Complete Streets Policy Development Team.  Today a column was published in The Detroit News discussing the city of Detroit's impending bankruptcy. 

We don't mean to equate Memphis with Detroit, for a variety of reasons, and we certainly are not suggesting that if only Detroit had a perfect Complete Streets policy in place, disaster would have been averted.  We do believe, however, that Complete Streets is critical to correcting public balance sheets, because - broadly speaking - a Complete Streets policy that allows for the development of a more people-friendly city will also create a place that is more economically vibrant and fiscally healthy as well.  Today, Memphis has roughly as much public space as private space, most of it in the form of roadways dedicated to moving cars.  Public space does not generate revenue, but is supposed to serve and augment the economic activities and value of the private space that pays for it (aka, property taxes).  But how are we supposed to pay for the increasing ratio of public space we have, in addition to the necessary public services we need to function, when the amount of public space meets -or, in the future, potentially exceeds - the amount of private space?  That's one major factor contributing to budget crunch in cities all across the country, not just Memphis and Shelby County.  Complete Streets allows for the  creation of streets and an overall transportation network that serves more users, better with the same or less public space.

We're glad to be finally able to use this forum to provide updates on our progress, outreach, and advocacy.  As always, please reach out to us, and if you'd like to schedule a presentation, email Wes Riddle at or

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