If you haven’t heard, the City of Memphis is embarking on the development of its first comprehensive plan in nearly 40 years. Cities use comprehensive plans to guide growth and development for decades into the future, and the plans can address topics as specific as the location of new parks and libraries to as general as neighborhood health. This new planning effort poses an opportunity for citizens to voice their support for a city where walking and biking are safe, convenient, and realistic forms of transportation.
The last comprehensive plan developed by the City was Memphis 2000, adopted more than a generation ago in 1981 (links to the various chapters of Memphis 2000 are found on this site). At its name suggests, that plan was intended to steer Memphis only to the year 2000, beyond that presumably another or updated plan would take the reins. Sixteen years from the sunset of Memphis 2000 had to pass, however, until a new planning effort would commence. From this absence of a current comprehensive plan enters Memphis 3.0, a blueprint for the city’s third century.
I’ll borrow from memphis3point0.com to further explain what this plan means for the city:
For the first time in four decades, a strategic plan will be developed to outline a new direction for Memphis – intended to create a City of great neighborhoods and to maximize the City’s ability to improve the quality of life for all residents. Core focus areas of the Memphis 3.0 plan are connectivity, sustainability, livability, and opportunity, and it will include strategies for enhancing land use, transportation, environment, city systems, growth and prosperity, neighborhoods, and civic capacity.
The Memphis 3.0 planning process is just getting started and we want to hear from residents across the City. Once complete, the Memphis 3.0 Plan will be a reflection of your values, your hopes, and your vision for your neighborhood and our community at-large.
Memphis 3.0 public input meetings, or “rallies” as the planning team is calling them, begin tonight (see the schedule above). Attendees can expect to participate in small group discussions about Memphis’ assets, challenges, and solutions, as well as in other activities designed for soliciting input. There will be a brief presentation, but the majority of each meeting is dedicated to hearing from Memphians of all backgrounds. You can also expect feedback to be sought specifically about bike lanes, public transit, and Memphis’ general transportation network. I encourage you to attend one of the planned meetings and share your thoughts about Memphis’ future in general, but especially about walking and biking.
One day Memphis 3.0 will be updated or replaced with a new comprehensive plan, but whether this happens in 20 or 40 years the plan entering development now will still have shaped Memphis for at least a generation. That’s enough time for a transformative change in the city we call home, but it will not happen without citizen participation. The meetings starting tonight are the first step in that participatory process, and the City is inviting you to engage in the dialogue and share your desires for the Memphis of tomorrow.