On Smart City Memphis, many of us make things sound easy. Let's just build dense, walkable neighborhoods. Let's just remove bus fares and make the routes go here or there. Let's tear down the rest of the public housing and humanly integrate "those people" into "normal neighborhoods". We know why things are messed up, how to make things right and are mad as hell that things aren't changing faster.
Well, sometimes real life creeps up on you. Today I was reading A Coordinated Human Services
Transportation Plan for the Memphis Area of 2007 (don't ask why). Several facts slapped me in the face and screamed, "SEE, THIS IS REALLY HARD TO FIX AND MAY TAKE A REALLY LONG TIME!"
There are people in the Memphis Metro Area that desperately need transit options. Depending on which populations are included, this number is somewhere between 70,000 and 430,000 people. Few of them live close to each other or close to where they need to go. Few destinations are clustered in a logical way to make any transit option viable other than the personal automobile. The challenge to serving our residents is far more wide-spread than people realize. And, we are making decisions about public housing, new neighborhood development and the location of services that may be exacerbating the problem.
What is transit?
Transit covers a lot of bases. The trolley, city buses, taxicabs, private vans and school buses are some modes most people would recognize.
Who currently uses transit in Memphis?
- The elderly and disabled who cannot drive
- Low-income residents who cannot afford to own or operate cars
Where are the most in-need target populations?
Surprising to me, the regional population of people over 60 years old are the most centrally located. The greatest concentration is within the 240-Loop but pretty evenly dispersed throughout it. People with incomes below the poverty level reside largely inside the city limits of Memphis but outside of the 240-Loop. The population with disabilities is much more spread out across the six-county region.
Where do most transit trips originate?
Trip origins are spread out all over the region. Origins based on Families First, the Food Stamp program and Medicaid caseloads are concentrated in three locations.
- Mainly in the Memphis city limits but outside the 240-Loop
- West Memphis
- Northern Tipton County
Origins based on elderly and disabled caseloads are concentrated in South Memphis, Fayette County, West Memphis and Desoto County.
The top 60 overall origin points are listed in the table below.
Agnes Place -Grove Street, Memphis
Airways Villa - 2305 Pendleton Street, Memphis
Alexmire Apartments - 347 E. McLemore Avenue, Memphis
Alpha Renaissance Apartments - 1471 Genesis, Memphis
Apartments at LaPaloma - 1394 LaPaloma Circle, Memphis
Cane Creek Crossing - 100-114 S, Main Street, Memphis
Cleaborn Homes & Foote Homes - S. Lauderdale, Memphis
College Park - 838 Walker Avenue, Memphis
Frisco Court - 1756 LaPaloma, Memphis
Gastalia Heights - 1999 Carver & 1768 Keltner, Memphis
Knob Hill Apartments -1059 Florida St. Memphis
Parkway Commons - 1524 S. Parkway East, Memphis
Salem Manor - 2220 S. Parkway East, Memphis
The Commons at Brentwood - 640 Aspire Lane, Memphis
Thompson Courts - LaPaloma, Carver, Keltner, Memphis
Turrell Meadows, 67 2nd St. West Memphis
Wellington Place - 1005 S. Wellington, Memphis
Chelsea Corridor, Memphis
Elvis Presley Corridor, Memphis
Hickory Hill, Memphis
Lamar Corridor, Memphis
Poplar Corridor, Memphis
South Memphis within I-240 Loop
Summer Corridor, Memphis
Third Street Corridor, Memphis
U.S. Hwy 51/Thomas Street Corridor, Memphis
Winchester Corridor, Memphis
Barry Homes, 255 Lauderdale St. Memphis
Barry Towers - 255 Lauderdale Street, Memphis
Belmont Village of Memphis - 6605 Quail Hollow Road, Memphis
Borda Towers - 21 Neely St. Memphis
Camilla Towers - 256 S. Camilla, Memphis
Carestone at Bartlett - 3345 Kirby Whitten Road, Memphis
Cleaborn Homes - 430 S. Lauderdale St. Memphis
College Park Senior Building - 838 Walker Avenue, Memphis
Ecumenical Village - 217 W. Jackson Ave., West Memphis
Exxum Towers - 3155 Sharp, Memphis
Franklin Park - 3393 Kirby Road, Memphis
Highland Towers - 400 S. Highland, Memphis
Hollywood Senior Center - 1560 N. Hollywood, Memphis
Independent Apartments - 875 Linden Avenue, Memphis
Jefferson Square, 741 Adams Avenue, Memphis
Latham Terrace Senior Housing - 295 E.H. Crump, Memphis
Luther Terrace - 3907 James Road, Memphis
Lutheran Village Condominiums - 3589 Covington Pike, Memphis
Memphis Tower - 1081 Court Avenue, Memphis
The Parkview - 1914 Poplar Avenue, Memphis
The Villas of West Memphis - W. Jackson Avenue, West Memphis
Venson Center - 439 Beale Street, Memphis
Wesley Graceland Gardens - 1430 Graceland Pines, Memphis
Wesley Highland Manor - 3549 Norriswood, Memphis
Wesley Highland Meadows - 3517 Andy Way, Memphis
Wesley Highland Place - 3550 Watauga, Memphis
Wesley Highland Terrace - 366 S. Highland, Memphis
Wesley Meadows -1325 Mclingvale Road, Hernando
Wesley Millington Towers - 5077 Easley Av., Millington
Wesley Stage Park -2779 Battle Creek Drive, Memphis
Where do most transit trips end?
Again, I was surprised by the density maps. While destinations are spread all over the place, an East Memphis corridor going north to south from Bartlett to Hickory Hill stood out. As well, the Collierville area had a similar density.
The top sixty destinations are listed in the table below.
Memphis Messick Adult Center
Tennessee Career Center - Somerville, Fayette County
Tennessee Career Center at Memphis - Covington, Tipton County
Tennessee Career Centers - 5 locations in Shelby County
Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis - Alabama Avenue Location
Tennessee Technology Center at Memphis - Tchulahoma Rd Location
William R. Moore College of Technology, Memphis
Downtown Memphis - Various Locations
Memphis Zoo/Overton Park
Midsouth Coliseum, Liberty Land Park, Liberty Bowl Stadium
Christian Brothers University
Mid-South Community College - West Memphis
Southern College of Optometry
Southwest Community College- Millington Center, Memphis
Southwest Community College- Somerville, Fayette County
Southwest Community College- Southeast Center, Memphis
Southwest Community College- Whitehaven Center, Memphis
Southwest Community College-Gill Center, Frayser
Southwest Community College-Macon Cove Campus, Memphis
Southwest Community College-Union Avenue Campus, Memphis
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee
County Health Department - Shelby, Tipton, Fayette, Crittenden, DeSoto
Memphis Housing Authority
TN Dept of Human Services - 3rd St. & Mitchell Avenue, Memphis
TN Dept of Human Services - Jackson & Macon Avenue, Memphis
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Memphis Office
Various Non-profit Human Services Advocacy and Supporting Groups
Various Faith-based Human Services Organizations
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville
Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton
Crittenden Regional Hospital, West Memphis
Memphis Children's Clinic - 6 locations
Memphis Health Center-E.H.Crump
Memphis Kidney & Dialysis Service
Methodist Fayette Hospital - Somerville
Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital-Germantown
Methodist North Hospital-Covington pike
Methodist South Hospital -South Memphis
Methodist University Hospital-Union Avenue
Regional Medical Center at Memphis (THE MED)/MEDPLEX
Shelby County Health Loop Clinics - 10 locations
St. Francis Hospital - Kate Bond Rd, Memphis
St. Francis Hospital - Park Avenue, Memphis
St. Francis Hospital - White Station Rd, Memphis
Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis
ALDI - various locations
Kroger Stores - various locations
Pharmacy Stores - various locations
Shopping Malls - various locations
Wal-Mart Stores - various locations
Greyhound Bus Line - Downtown Memphis
MATA American Way Transit Center
Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) North End Terminal
Memphis International Airport
Are we adequately serving people with transit needs?
Despite an extraordinarily wide range of public and private services, the simple answer is, no.
Latent Demand = 222,148
Average Daily Demand = 74,049
Average Daily Served = 25,860
At best we are leaving somewhere between 65% and 85% of the most in-need population unserved. This is before we talk about including people who might make public transportation a mode of choice. Not because MATA is dumb. Not because MHA is bad. Not because people don't want transportation options or because options are universally doomed.
This is a hard, long term project because for fifty years we have intentionally built a community that has made it that way.
Today, I simply want to applaud the few people who woke up this morning knowing that they were heading out to try fixing it.