Weekly Update: New info on paving, grass cutting, and garbage collection


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As a regular reader of this weekly email, you probably know by now that we’ve made improvements in city services since taking office  and we also have more work to do.

Today, I’ll share a status report in three areas: 1) Paving, 2) Grass cutting, and 3) Garbage collection.


City crews and our contractors have been at work for weeks now milling streets and laying down new asphalt  with much more to come. In the winter, our team worked hard to streamline contracting processes to ensure that we can pave as many lane-miles as possible this year.

We have dramatically increased paving budget allocations since we took office in 2016. But, because of years of under-funding, you can still drive throughout our city and easily see where more work is needed. So, for the fourth year in a row, we proposed another increase in our budget to pave our city streets.

This chart will show you what I mean:

paving amounts through 2020

We are back on the national standard of paving a street roughly once every 25 years. It will take time to clear our backlog, but we are making progress.


You’ve probably also noticed mowing crews out in recent weeks working on City streets' medians and rights-of-way. City contracted crews launched about a month ago, getting ahead of the growing season that started early this year.

Because of the message it sends about how we care about Memphis, we are committed to ensuring that City property looks as kept up as possible. That’s why we commit to a two-week cycle of mowing City-owned rights-of-way, a three-week cycle of mowing our 150 City-maintained parks, and a two-week cycle of mowing our 55 City facilities and 182 City-owned vacant lots.

It’s important to understand the distinction between City-owned property and State-owned property. Neighborhood and feeder streets are usually City-owned, while major streets (think Poplar Avenue, Elvis Presley Boulevard, Germantown Parkway, Covington Pike, etc.) are owned by the state. (Here’s a full list of state routes.) The interstates are owned by the state, too. And, the state’s mowing cycles are not as frequent as ours.

We’ve been supplementing the state’s efforts to mow its property thus far on state routes again, like Poplar, Elvis Presley, Germantown Parkway, Covington Pike, etc. And, when state officials were in town earlier this week, we discussed additional mowing on the interstates. We’re eager to work with TDOT moving forward, and we’re exploring how we can help out more with state property this summer, too.

Solid waste

This week, we launched a new model that we think will greatly improve our solid waste collection particularly when it comes to the reliable collection of items outside of your cart (like yard waste).

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Collection of garbage and recycling placed in your carts remains unchanged. It’ll still happen every week.
  • Each week, you’ll also be able to place two bags of yard waste like grass clippings beside your cart, and we’ll pick them up, too.
  • But twice a month on your regular collection day, you’ll be able to place much more than that outside of your cart think of the times you have a big number of bags of clippings, or branches from a tree, or a piece of furniture.

In the past, the City would agree to pick up bulk waste within 21 days after you called 311. And since most of you probably didn’t know you had to call 311, that would lead to yard waste sitting out for many weeks at a time. Under this new model, we’ll pick everything up twice each month. That’s a big improvement.

You should have received a magnet in the mail that outlines which days are your days for bulk waste. You can also find out by entering your address here, or by downloading the Memphis Curbside Collection app in the App Store or Google Play.

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