Expect Overton Park to be packed Saturday with great weather and a raft of events; also expect to drive through the park Saturday in a whole new way, or take a new shuttle.
The Overton Park Conservancy (OPC) will debut a new traffic plan Saturday in which all park roads will flow one way. Also, shuttles will run into the park all day from two off-site locations.
This response plan came as OPC has “ been working with our partners to prepare for the inevitable parking and traffic congestion on that date.”
The inevitability comes as the Latino Memphis Festival gets started on the Greensward after a 5K through the Old Forest, Café du Memphis (a New Orleans-themed fundraiser for the Dorothy Day House) kicks off at 9 a.m., the Brooks Museum hosts its Party for the Century, exams at the Memphis College of Art (MCA) Saturday are followed by an Art in the Park artists market, and OPC said it expects the forecasted weather to bring many out to the park’s golf course.
Also, the Memphis Zoo is expecting peak crowds for its brand-new Zambezi River Hippo Camp, which opened last weekend. However, rain dampened attendance for the new exhibit.
“This is what we call a perfect storm,” OPC said in a statement on its website.
All traffic around the heart of the park — from Poplar and Tucker around the Brooks Museum, to the Doughboy statue, around MCA, and back to Poplar near Cooper — will flow clockwise.
More Moss Lane and Prentiss Place will continue to flow both ways. Cars can enter at Poplar near Cooper but will be directed left at Golf Drive.
Old Forest Lane, the street that runs back to the Rainbow Lake Playground, will be closed. Museum Drive, the street between the Brooks Museum and the Levitt Shell, will also be closed.
Two pay shuttles will run all day to and from the park from First Baptist Church at Poplar and East Parkway and Idlewild Church at Union and Evergreen. The shuttles will run to stops near the Brooks and one near the golf clubhouse.
Parking in the lots will be free but the shuttles will cost $2 each way or $5 for an all day pass.