Heights Line
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What is Heights Line?


Working with Heights residents to reimagine National Street

The Heights Line is a neighborhood led project to temporarily redesign National Street to be safer, more attractive, and more functional. The community’s vision for National Street will be demonstrated with a temporary enhancement of the street during October and November 2017. The project is meant to be short-term in order to provide a low-cost opportunity for testing design ideas and gathering community input. The intent is to engage neighborhood residents to temporarily showcase a vision for National Street that will inspire permanent improvements. Other goals of the project are to connect the neighborhood to new city assets, create a new public space for neighbors to gather, and promote the revitalization of a mixed-use corridor. 




National St. Memphis, TN


(901) 730-6902


Safer, more attractive, and greater access


National Street is currently 89 feet wide with 60 feet committed to automobile traffic. With such wide lanes cars and trucks are prone to higher speeds making it unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists.

 National Street Cross Section (existing)

National Street Cross Section (existing)

Children living west of National must cross the wide street when going to and from Treadwell School. When planning the redesign of National Street traffic counts and speed counts will be used to assess if the temporary project could make National Street safer. 

The Heights Line project will add even more safety for our students and families who have to cross National to get to school. National is a very wide street and narrowing the lanes and slowing the traffic will make things safer. We also support the creative placemaking aspect of the project because we need more recreational areas for people in the community especially west of Highland
— Roger Faulkner, Principal, Treadwell Middle School


The Heights neighborhood currently lacks any accessible improved public space. Historically in Memphis, our streets provided the greatest source for social gathering, public life, and community identity. In recent decades, Memphis streets have lost their life and essence as they have become little more than automobile highways.

Some roads are famous for fostering community life, as they bring people into casual, pleasant, and frequent face-to-face contact with one another. Many an ordinary Main Street used to do these services, but Main Streets have proved easily transformable into bleak, standardized community killers.
— Jane Jacobs

The Heights Line project strives to recapture the dignity of National Street through design that is people-focused. We believe art, fun, and practicality can and should co-exist in Memphis streets. Heights Line is intended to demonstrate that this is possible for National Street.


The way people live is always a function of transportation.
— HG Wells

Streets make up the largest public space in our city. Safe, attractive, and accessible streets can foster public life, promote economic development, and improve social equity.

National Street is a critical link in the transportation system in Memphis. Although less than two miles long, National touches four transit lines, two state highways, a US highway, and connects to the Wolf River Greenway to the north and the Hampline to the south. But unfortunately the current design is not accommodating to most users. The Heights Line project envisions National Street as accessible to pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, motorists, and other users. Reducing the number of vehicle travel lanes allows for the expansion of the median to create a protected, multi-use promenade.


Investing in pedestrian infrastructure and promoting commercial development in the most walkable neighborhoods will yield the greatest dividends for cities through increased property revenue.
— Wei Li & Kenneth Joh, Journal of Planning Education & Research

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