More on Parking In The Park


A follow up to our Friday edition story about parking and traffic at Overton Park.

The coming of bike lanes and on street parking on the south side of North Parkway bordering the Memphis Zoo could be the real game changer for some kind of parking garage at the zoo.

“I think that the zoo and the conservancy and probably the city all agree that a parking garage makes the most sense as a permanent solution to that greensward overflow parking,” Tina Sullivan of the Overton Park Conservancy told us. “But a 500-space parking garage may not be the solution.”

Some on our on line comments about the story have included some concerns about a massive landscape changing parking garage.

Sullivan also said the bike lanes and on street parking on North Parkway might be the catalyst for a new route for cyclist to enter the park as well as a new zoo entrance.

We should note here that the zoo is not an area in the park that is operated or maintained by the conservancy.

“If the garage project goes forward at that location then a new entrance there makes perfect sense. We would also enhance the park entrance at that location,” Sullivan said, adding that there is a long term conservancy plan to do that with or without the garage that is in the zoo’s master plan but awaiting funding.

So, in about two months, the conservancy should have a report back from consultants on the flow of traffic of all kinds in the park and some ideas about how to make the best use of existing space. The conservancy is talking with neighbors in the area outside the park who see plenty of parking on their streets as well.

And the Memphis Police Department will continue to police some critical no parking areas that can look very inviting when you’ve circled more than a few times and no one is budging from the legal parking.

“Once a couple of cars line up in a tow away zone, you can just give it up. Everyone’s gong to park there because they think they are going to get away with it,” Sullivan said.

“Our goal isn’t to tow all of the cars away and be as rigid as possible. Our goal is public safety. We have to make sure roads are clear enough for emergency personnel to get through if needed.”