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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.