Thursday, October 21, 2010

Best use?

A number of interesting points were raised in today's Commercial Appeal article about moving the General Services maintenance area out of Overton Park.

It's great to see Mayor Wharton and CAO George Little affirming their commitment to legal protection for Overton Park's old growth forest. It's also great to see support for viewing the Greensward as a fully developed space for people, which it is, rather than as vacant land.

But the idea of spending unknown amounts of money to demolish all of the workshops, garages, greenhouses, offices, a fuel station, and other buildings in the maintenance area... in order to build a parking lot for the Memphis Zoo? That idea needs a lot of work.

The Memphis Zoo is proposing to shuttle their visitors, using the zoo's large diesel trams, via interior park roadways that have been closed to motorized traffic since the early 1990s. These roadways are heavily used by park visitors as safe and peaceful routes to walk, run, and bike. Motorized traffic does not belong on the interior roads of Overton Park.

We all agree that the Memphis Zoo needs a better way to handle overflow parking. The zoo currently controls nine acres of paved parking in Overton Park. Wouldn't it be much easier and cheaper, and more sustainable, to convert a few acres of an existing lot into a multi-level garage?

Or even simpler, the Memphis Zoo could provide traffic control on busy weekends and encourage visitors to make better use of the plentiful street parking in Evergreen.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In the News

The Memphis Daily News printed an article about the Memphis Zoo's future plans this week, and they also did a great editorial about Overton Park as a whole. This is our favorite part:

"If there are no plans for wildlife in the Chickasaw Bluff exhibit that would require barriers, the existing fence around the 17 acres should come down and if necessary be replaced with something that preserves a seamless view if not access from the rest of the wooded area.

Memphians use the park for different reasons. They are not competing reasons, just different. Today’s visitor to the zoo was yesterday’s jogger and is tomorrow’s art student."