Three Possible Solutions To The Zoo Parking Controversy

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(Memphis) Possible solutions to parking issues at the Memphis Zoo are being tossed around.

Overton Park conservationists are protesting where people park when the main two parking lots fill up.

The overflow area is a grassy space in Overton Park and was used 63 days in 2013 according to the Memphis Zoo.

There has been talk of building a parking garage at zoo, the but the estimated cost ranges between $5-12 million.

“The Zoo has repeatedly made the commitment that, once a parking garage is built in or adjacent to the zoo, daytime greensward parking will be stopped forever. Until that happens, the Zoo has no choice but to continue the present parking arrangement, if it is to fulfill its mission,” said Memphis Zoo President Chuck Brady.

This past weekend, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said he supports the following options:

  • A five week trial run of a free shuttle from the virtually empty Overton Square parking garage to the zoo
  • Building a zoo parking garage solely paid for by the zoo
  • Temporary, free parking on city land near Teton Trek

Memphis Zoo leaders have been open to consideration of alternative parking areas, but have noted the grassy area has been used for 20 years with no problem.

In an email, Brady wrote, “While the Zoo is actively working to find a parking solution, it is our desire to provide the safest, most convenient location for our visitors.”

Brady also noted 13,000 zoo visitors have been turned away due to people protesting the overflow parking, “When visitors are turned away, they are forced to park in a farther, less secure location. Many will decide not to visit at all.”

In an email, Brady wrote, “While the Zoo is actively working to find a parking solution, it is our desire to provide the safest, most convenient location for our visitors.”

As of today, it’s not clear what will happen the next time the two main parking lots fill up.

 

 

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