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New traffic patterns for May 7 park events

Want to spend your Saturday enjoying the park instead of sitting in traffic? On a weekend full of park events, Overton Park Conservancy is piloting an event response plan that we hope will make that an easy goal.

One of the recommendations from the consultants who prepared our Parking and Traffic Report was to create an event response plan for peak usage days. The Conservancy is moving forward with this recommendation by testing new traffic and parking patterns on Saturday, May 7.

On this date, the Latino Memphis Festival will take place on the Greensward after kicking off with a 5K through the Old Forest; Café du Memphis will serve brunch at the East Parkway Pavilion; the Brooks Museum will host its Party for the Century; Memphis College of Art students will have exams, followed by an Art in the Park artists market; and the Zoo will expect peak crowds after having recently opened the new Zambezi River Hippo Camp. We’re fairly sure that lovely spring weather will also bring many golfers to the Links at Overton Park, and each of the park’s wonderful amenities. This is what we call a perfect storm.

Overton Park Conservancy has been working with our partners to prepare for the inevitable parking and traffic congestion on that date, and we are excited to pilot an event response plan to alleviate some of the congestion. On that date, beginning at 7am, the main park roads (with the exception of Morrie Moss) will move to a one-way clockwise traffic flow. See the map for details.

5-7-16 traffic mapAll vehicles will enter the park from either Poplar & Tucker to the south or Prentiss Place to the north. Veterans Plaza drive will be exit-only for cars. Memphis Police Department will assist with turning at both entrances. Vehicles entering at Poplar & Tucker will continue onto Morrie Moss and either travel north to the Zoo, or veer right (east) toward Veterans Plaza, the Greensward, Memphis College of Art, and other park amenities. Vehicles will exit the park from Veterans Plaza Drive, or may loop back on Golf Drive to turn left and exit at the light at Poplar & Tucker. Morrie Moss/Tucker St. will allow for two-way traffic from the Zoo entrance to Poplar Avenue, to allow Zoo visitors to exit the park.

Parking will be allowed on both sides of park roads on Veterans Plaza Drive and Golf Drive, with all parking facing the same direction. This means visitors will be allowed to parallel park on either side of the road without changing the direction of their vehicles. Parking will be allowed only on one side of Morrie Moss. Old Forest Lane and a portion of Museum Drive will be closed to both traffic and parking.

In addition to parking inside the park, shuttles will run from 9am to 7pm from two offsite locations – First Baptist Church at Poplar & East Parkway and Idlewild Church at Union & Evergreen. These shuttles will be provided by Premier Transportation at a cost of $2 each way, or $5 for an all-day pass. The parking in these offsite locations will be free. Visitors to any park attraction or event are encouraged to ride and walk from one of two shuttle stops, one near Brooks Museum and one near the golf clubhouse. To keep the shuttles running efficiently, the route will use Golf Drive to avoid shuttles getting hung up in heavy traffic on Morrie Moss.

The Roo shuttle, which will be departing from Idlewild Church, is wheelchair-accessible.

Bike valet will also be available at the Latino Memphis Festival.

Watch the Conservancy’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for updates on the availability of parking at these locations, and be prepared to seek alternate parking locations once the park roads and parking lots are full.

The Memphis Police Department’s Special Events Unit will assist in managing this peak usage day. Overton Park Conservancy is working in collaboration with Latino Memphis, the Brooks Museum, the Memphis Zoo, Memphis College of Art, and the Memphis Police Department to ensure a pleasant experience for all visitors to Overton Park on May 7.