City of Memphis, TN hosts workshop on how to implement its Complete Streets policy

Picture for past workshops page post- Memphis
View of Memphis’ South Main Arts District. Photo by Henry Turley Company via 

In 2013, Memphis passed the nation’s 500th Complete Streets policy. To help move the policy to implementation, Memphis officials and residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on June 18 and 19, 2014 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The workshop aimed to provide the City with tools to not only address the various design elements of Complete Streets, but also to directly communicate the benefits of Complete Streets to the public. Complete Streets are planned, designed, operated and maintained to be safe, comfortable and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, whether they are walking, bicycling, driving, or hopping on public transportation.

“We’re honored to receive this technical assistance from Smart Growth America as we work to make our streets safe and accommodating of all residents, regardless of how they choose to get around,” said City of Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. “This assistance will play a critical role in the development of our Complete Streets Design Manual currently being developed.”

Memphis residents, city officials, transit agency staff, TDOT representatives, Sierra Club members, and local business owners joined the workshop’s first day for an introductory presentation by National Complete Streets Coalition about the design and benefits of Complete Streets. On the second day, members of the committee preparing Memphis’ Complete Streets Guidebook dug deeper into how to implement the city’s own Complete Streets policy. Committee members included staff from the City, health department, and county government, in addition to members of the development community, advocates of persons with disabilities, and members of the Sierra Club. Together they reviewed Memphis’ Complete Streets policy, discussed design criteria and land use considerations, and identified performance measures that will help Memphis achieve its Complete Streets goals.

In January 2014, Memphis was one of 18 communities selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from New Hampshire to California, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.

The program, made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities get the kinds of development they want.

Workshop Materials:

Complete Streets Technical assistance