5 Ideas to Make Memphis… Better: Number 2

Additional seating and second bar

An easier night on the town

Read about Idea Number 1

Idea Number 2: Has a lot to do with the project started by Ride The Roo.  As a matter of fact Ride The Roo has the platform and simply needs to add to its current circuit; or someone else can come along. The way I see it there is always room for more than one of the same business. Especially when that business deals with making the city move faster and better.

The Issue

Memphis is a small, big city. With almost a million people you’d expect the public transportation system to reflect the growth of the city. Unfortunately that is not the case. What’s worse is after living in San Diego for so long and knowing that even numbered high ways run East to West and odd numbered highways run North to South, and living with highways that basically dissected the city making it possible to get from North County San Diego to Tijuana in 30 minutes, makes it look like the developers or designers of Memphis’ highway system also worked on the famous Winchester Mansion (the one with rooms that go to nowhere…). Basically you can leave your home and it can take you 15 minutes to reach an expressway. Add to that there is only one highway (the 240 which runs in a circle around the city) and Memphis traffic can be the slowest moving thing for a city so small. I say all of this to lead into my point on how this city was laid out.

The Problem

Whether by design or imminent domain/gentrification, the city doesn’t really have a large “walkable” tourist styled area. Which means that no one really walks the downtown areas, which is another topic for discussion in Idea Number 3, and the places that do exist to visit are really less than a mile in distance. This lack of walking areas does a lot to hurt businesses.

Explaining The Problem

Most of Memphis is a destination visit. What I mean by that is people get in their cars and go to one place. They don’t browse or walk around when they leave that place and that is not good for stores that are in what I call the “6 Boroughs” of the city.

What are those 6 Boroughs?

The Pinch District – which remains undeveloped due to the lack of businesses renting there. Although the Bass Pro Pyramid is less than 100 steps from this district.

The Cooper Young District – One of the best walking strips in the city, but it is not very long either. The area does has some fantastic restaurants but it is broken up a bit and people don’t really feel safe walking to its sister district.

Overton Square – Recently brought back to life this is the shining jewel of Memphis as far as new restaurants and shopping. Unfortunately it’s only 1 corner and the city really needs to figure out a way to connect it to the Pinch since the main street is Madison which runs all the way to The Pinch

Broad Avenue – The arts district is going through a beautiful revitalization and does allow for a walk, but one of the best things about Broad (The Rec Room) is too far away for people to walk to since there isn’t anything very meaningful between it and City State which is basically the final store on Broad when walking north on the Hamp Line.

South Main/Main Street – Downtown for some godforsaken reason is unlike any other Downtown I’ve every visited. It is segmented which is why there are 6 instead of 5 Boroughs. There was once a trolley which kind of connected The Pinch, South Main and Main Street. This trolley is now a bus painted like the trolley, but South Main has some very good destinations and is well worth walking from G.E. Patterson all the way back up the Beale Street and on up to Main Street.

Beale Street – The heart of downtown is basically a two block walk which may be the dumbest thing ever. This will be addressed once again in Idea Number 3. Beale Street should be the foundation of tourism but none of Memphis is well connected which is the point of this post.

The Solution

Idea Number 2 is a business like I said that exists in Ride the Roo. The Roo is limited however so a local shuttle service business would be an excellent business to create for some enterprising entrepreneur with 5 minivans. This would be the name of the website and app: www.connectmtown.com  How is that for a name? Connect M-Town… I like it and the service will do exactly what it should. The app could be free and will allow the people registered to sign up and input funds into the database where they simply have to flash the number of trips they have on their dashboard to the driver (this definitely needs some work… hey I’m just throwing the ideas out there, someone else can flesh them out). These 5 minivans will be placed in the 5/6 Boroughs and they will rotate every 30 minutes. This means a person could literally park downtown and catch the Connect from Beale Street/South Main to Overton Square and back or any combination of trips they choose. Someone could easily say why not use a cab… If you’ve ever been to Memphis you would know the answer to that immediately. Memphis has these fantastic spots that are not very far apart, but they are too far to walk and Connect M-Town would be a very good option.

Let me know what you think about this idea. If you didn’t read Idea Number 1

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