Weekly Update

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Now that we are pretty deep into paving season, I wanted to give a quick rundown of where we have been in the past and where things stand now.

When we came to the mayor’s office nearly eight years ago, one phrase that was often touted by our administration was to work hard to be “brilliant at the basics”. It doesn’t get more basic than paving our city streets. It’s not sexy, and you’re not going to see it on the news each day or read about it in the newspaper, but in the long-term, it is one of City government’s key functions.

Over the course of my two terms, our administration has placed a tremendous amount of focus and resources into paving city your streets. In order to increase paving, (as you can imagine) we had to significantly increase our paving budgets. Since 2007, the city has allocated a little more than $257 million to paving. Of that total, $163 million has been budgeted since we came into office in 2016.

That’s a 73% increase by our administration compared to the previous eight years.

Additionally, a new utility street cut standard was adopted and placed in effect January 2020. A “street cut” happens when government or private companies cut into a street to access or install a utility under the street. Traditionally, the city allowed repaving to only cover the area that had been cut. This often resulted in openings or sinking pavement. We now require the repaving to exceed the area of the cut. The purpose and intent of the new standard is to

  1. Increase longevity of newly paved streets. Studies have shown the life of pavement is drastically reduced by up to 50 percent when pavement is cut.
  2. Improve the ride for commuters so roads are smoother.
  3. Improve coordination with utility companies so newly paved streets are not cut right after paving and thereby diminishing the quality of city streets.

As a reminder, the city is not responsible for paving state routes. See below for a list of those roads.


Map of state routes (blue are interstate routes and red are state routes; both maintained by the State of Tennessee):

state routes

As we move into the final months of my last term as mayor, we have every intention of keeping our foot on gas to get more of our city streets paved.

Infrastructure = Jobs: Two significant milestones happened this week with regards to improving our infrastructure—Phase 1 completion of the Lamar Ave. corridor and the completion of the Downtown Mobility Center. When we improve our infrastructure, we are paving the road (pun intended) for more private investment and job growth in our community.

On Wednesday morning, the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s, Commissioner Butch Eley, was in Memphis to celebrate the completion of the widening project on Lamar Avenue from the Mississippi state line to south of Shelby Drive in Shelby County.


The $63 million project included widening Lamar Avenue from four to six lanes, including a new interchange at Holmes Road. Thanks to Commissioner Eley and the State of Tennessee for their continued investment in Memphis and to Congressman Steve Cohen for the Bi-partisan Infrastructure Act which will result in more funding for these projects.

lamar 1

On Thursday, we held the ribbon cutting for the $40 million Downtown Mobility Center. With 11,000 sq.ft. of retail space on the ground floor, 960 parking additional parking spaces (48 of which equipped for electric vehicle charging), this will be a tremendous asset not only for our Downtown but for our community as a whole.


(Brad Vest/Special to The Daily Memphian)

I learned during my advocacy for the Overton Square garage that they are necessary for growth in urban centers. Overton Square’s revitalization would not have occurred without the garage. In this area of downtown, AutoZone has added 350 jobs and hundreds of additional apartments and hotel rooms are being added, all of which will rely on this center.


The Ed Murphey Classic: On August 4th and 5th, the Ed Murphey Classic professional and youth track meet will be held at Rhodes College and Beale Street. This is the seventh year for the event that has grown in stature to become one of the premier track events in the nation.

Youth events begin at 3:30 PM at Rhodes College on Friday August 4th, with the main program featuring over 80 Olympians and more than a dozen World or Olympic champions beginning at 7:30 PM.

Then on Saturday August 5th, the Beale Street Games headquartered at Handy Park on Beale will start at 3:00 PM. The event includes the first ever Beale Street Murphey Mile starting at 3:30 pm. The event will consist of a 1-mile road race on a course surrounding landmarks like the FedEx Forum, Beale Street, The Orpheum and more. A complete schedule of all events can be found here.

Public Art at Liberty Park: The UrbanArt Commission and the City of Memphis in partnership with the Memphis Sports & Event Center are seeking input for a public art installation at MSEC.

To view the artwork and cast your vote, go here or scan the QR code below.


The survey closes next Wednesday, August 9th at 11:59 p.m. Let your voice be heard!

Enjoy your weekend!


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