VOL. 131 | NO. 13 | Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Overton Park Conservancy Hires Trio of Firms For Park Traffic Study
By Bill Dries
The Overton Park Conservancy has hired a trio of firms led by the design firm Looney Ricks Kiss to recommend solutions to the park’s traffic flow and parking problems.
Working with LRK on the study, agreed to by the conservancy and all of the park’s institutions including the Memphis Zoo, are greenway and trail consultants Alta Planning + Design and engineering consultants Kimley-Horn and Associates.
Alta, based in Durham, N.C., has worked on the Hampline connector trail, Uptown West and most recently the Wolf River Greenway.
The conservancy, with agreement from all of the other park institutions, put out a request for proposal on the study and recommendations in November.
The recommendations from the team are to address the park as a whole and the steps leading up to recommendations begin this month with an examination of current conditions and traffic patterns in and around the park.
The work by the firms will include hearing from the public and interviews with those leading the parks institutions which operate outside the areas of the park governed by the conservancy.
The first public meetings are tentatively set for February.
The Monday, Jan. 18, announcement comes after a busy weekend in the park’s ongoing controversy surrounding overflow parking by the Memphis Zoo on the park greensward.
Around 200 people including a brass band showed up for a protest on the greensward Saturday by the group Get Off Our Lawn. The protest included planting three trees on the north end of the greensward where a week ago the zoo removed 27 trees planted by the conservancy in 2012.
The protest came after the zoo agreed to not remove any more trees at least for now.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is mediating talks between the zoo and conservancy that are to begin this week.
Meanwhile, Memphis City Council members have added a discussion about the park’s greensward to its Tuesday committee sessions with a meeting at 10:15 a.m. at City Hall.