Memphis streets are becoming increasingly dangerous for pedestrians, as last year Memphis reported to have the highest number of pedestrians affected by traffic accidents anywhere in the state for the past 10 years.
Additionally, just this year, 15 pedestrians have died just by simply using the street.
In response, Bike Walk Memphis, a group advocating for better biking and walking experiences in Memphis, kicked off the "State of the Streets" circuit, which is an effort to inform various community groups about the current conditions of the city's streets and what the city is doing to improve them.
The effort began today as Nicolas Oyler, Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager at the City of Memphis, spoke to the Frayser Exchange community group about the dangers of the Memphis streets and the need to invest in the 15,000 acres of public space that reaches every corner of Memphis, known as our city streets.
"Our track record today is not good," Oyler said. "Our streets are dangerous by design, but we can improve that."
Oyler told the group that as of now 30 percent of the city's sidewalks are impassible and need to be redone today, but the problem is the high price tag these projects have, costing millions of dollars.
To make a dent in the problem, the city identified the 100 projects in the city that need the most attention in the Memphis Pedestrian Safety Action Plan.
From there, 20 were chosen and federally funded to be demonstration projects, in an effort to secure more funding allowing the entire project to be implemented, says Oyler.
Program Coordinator for Bike Walk Memphis, Bridget Mccall says the group hopes to reach more neighborhoods with the "State of the Streets" circuit to inform people that the city is aware of the problem and is moving in a direction of improvement.
"We want to start having more conversations at a neighborhood level about the fact that there are plans that will make our streets safer," Mccall said.