Sunday, May 04, 2008

Jeff Speck's 12 Suggestions for a Great Memphis

Autozone Park Weather Vanes
  1. Build Memphis for Humans, Not Just for Cars.

  2. Stop Demolishing Your Economic Advantage

  3. Plant Trees.

  4. Organize Neighborhoods Around Schools, Around Neighborhoods

  5. Fix Downtown First

  6. Practice Urban Triage

    Beale Street Walk
  7. Fix the 3rd Street Promenot

  8. Fill the Main/South Main Knuckle

  9. You Deserve an Urban Waterfront

  10. Build the Missing Monument

  11. Stop the Outer Loop

  12. Put Cars Back on Main Street for $50k.
Made at Speck's fantastic Memphis Regional Design Center talk last Thursday. He was a self-described blunt instrument, a polite and funny blunt instrument.

Listen to it:

The entire talk (mp3).

Or, if you want it in smaller chunks:

The introduction (mp3).

General urban planning principles (mp3)

6 general suggestions for Memphis (mp3)

6 specific suggestions for Memphis (mp3)

Q/A (mp3)

Enjoy, learn, talk, act, then enjoy some more.

(by the way, thanks to Justin for lending me a recorder, and and Mike for paring the audio files to reasonable sizes. )

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

N.B. The links for the smaller chucks don't work.

2:01 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...


I fixed the links. Thanks for letting me know.

7:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why cars back on Main? that doesn't make sense to me...

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh and thanks for summarizing.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

thank you so much for the audio. that is really helpful.

2:33 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

taterhead, his explanation for bringing cars back is at the end of the 6 specific suggestions audio. It's of a piece with the rest of the talk, and persuasive. It's not the autobahn, in a good way, which is why it would only cost $50k.

The summary was easy because he listed the points himself, and I merely transcribed them from the beginning of 6 general suggestions.

Shannon, it was a great, great talk. I hope you can listen to at least the general principles and the 6/6 suggestions.

8:21 PM  
Blogger PeskyFly said...

Cars on Main still makes no sense to me. Feet and bikes on Main does. That means we need stuff on Main to attract feet and bikes. Food shops, and entertainment.

If we could have our own Rambles I'd be more than happy to deal with any resulting pickpocket issues.

Where there's good stuff on Main there are people on Main.

Easy Way was a madhouse this weekend. Flue Fin seems to thrive.

Maybe ped malls haven't worked perfectly. But there are lots of empty fronts, and revolving door businesses on Front St and the traffic's never stopped there.

If we change it now everybody will be sorry should Downtown's density continue to grow.

I love the mall. But then again I've shopped, played, and lived on it happily for years. Even when the panhandler problem was at its peak I thought it was great for parents who want to get their kids out and get them moving--- or, in the summertime, wet.

11:30 AM  
Blogger jccvi said...

Trolley Night from Court Square to Peabody Place would be a good idea to bring business to the Main Street Mall. I'd say the "people gathering to walk down a street and patronize its businesses at night with live music" market is far from tapped. Cooper Young and S. Main cover two nights, so that's at least 26 left available for every month of the year.

At this point, Overton Square would do well for something like this (let's call them Rambles). With the WSG development and Sears Crosstown in the (please please let it happen) future, maybe a Cleveland ramble will be possible (who am I kidding, there's already plenty of people rambling down Cleveland...the ramble I'm talking it about is walkers going into stores, not walkers as...nevermind).

3:39 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

Thanks for posting this. I managed to listen to it yesterday and am especially intrigued by the relationship of lane width to vehicle speed and pedestrian activity.

As I've probably mentioned before, my in-laws live in a neighborhood in Germantown with typical wide suburban street.

I used to have to set my cruise control to twenty five to avoid the Germantown police lurking around.

Since the city painted bike lanes, I've had no problem driving a reasonable neighborhood speed.

That's better living through psychology.

3:48 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

While he didn't convince me, Speck did move me from mildly opposed to neutral re: cars on Main. Partly because his emphasis throughout was walkability.

I need to listen to that part again. jccvi, did you find his argument persuasive?

pesky, intrigued by the Rambles. Any links?

8:04 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

I don't know. The only time I'm out on the mall is lunch, when there's a good bit of pedestrian traffic. Cars would almost certainly change that.

I have a hard time envisioning them sharing the trolley lines. I'll need to go for a walk soon to think about it.

The wife and kids came for lunch the other day and we took a nice stroll to the Peanut Shop after going to the Blue Plate. I was worried enough with the trolleys going by. Still, they were the only two kids on the mall.

Maybe the money spent on cutting curbs and such could go into subsidizing trolley fares and parking meters, or refitting them to accept plastic?

11:43 PM  
Blogger jccvi said...

What we should be aiming for:

10:46 AM  
Blogger PeskyFly said...

I spelled it wrong--- as usual. It should be "Las Ramblas" in Barcelona.

There's more wonderful streetlife in a dozen square feet than in the entirety of most cities.

Just google it.

I suppose it's not a streetless mall, strictly speaking.

I remain mildly opposed.

5:07 PM  
Blogger k. irène said...

I am opposed to the cars on Main; I think there are better ideas than a reactionary one such as this. See the Park Blocks in Portland Oregon.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would detonate a few thermonuclear weapons in select locations. That would be the best way to improve this cesspool, IMHO.

1:01 AM  

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