Weekly Update: All about paving


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I spend quite a bit of my time, particularly on weekends, talking with you about how to improve Memphis. In every corner of every neighborhood, I hear two constant concerns: Crime and streets.

Reducing violent crime is our No. 1 priority, which is why we’re doing so much (and outlined all of our plan in a recent weekly update) to combat it.

But streets are a major priority, too. And today, I wanted to dive a little deeper into what we’re doing.

You probably know the summary by now: We’ve doubled street paving from what it was shortly before we took office. See the chart below to see how the City's paving budget allocations have increased.

Chart of recent paving allocations

We also see something else in that chart — the years of reduced funding that have led to the backlog that we’re still combatting today. While we are spending $19.5 million a year on paving now, the City was spending as little as $5.8 million in 2009-10 and $6.5 million in 2011-12 and 2012-13. We will have to continue to pave streets at this level to catch up on our backlog.

Already this year, we’ve paved more lane-miles than we did in each of the entire years of 2014 and 2015. And, thanks to some contract process changes we made in the winter, we have high goals for the amount of the backlog we can reduce in just this calendar year alone.

Click here to view the map to see where we’ll be paving next.

As you can see by the map, our street paving is spread out evenly among all council districts. Making sure that we’re fair and equitable in spending City resources has been important to me since day one, and you can see that in the map.

We’re able to drastically increase street paving thanks to our partnership with the City Council, the hard work of our contractors, and the diligence of so many people from our Engineering, Finance, Legal, and Public Works divisions, as well as our Chief Operating Office. To everyone involved in this process — from the crews sweating on the street to the engineers enabling it in City Hall — I say thank you.

One more thank you: I’ve talked a lot about how Memphis Animal Services has increased its live release rate from about 50 percent when I took office to roughly 90 percent now. We made that a priority and hired the right people, and this is the result.

But I also want to make sure you know just how amazing the entire staff at MAS is. I was thinking about them especially this week, when one morning they had to deal with a vanload of 25 animals dumped at their doorstep when they came to work. Our MAS staff handles all of these tough situations with incredible professionalism.

Thank you, MAS staff. You’re doing amazing work, and the entire city is behind you.

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