Crosswalk across Highland begins safety and walkability improvements

Workers lay down a crosswalk across Highland from the Walker Avenue intersection.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A heavily congested traffic area along Highland Street is getting a makeover, and the improvements started with making the street safer for people on their feet.

The Highland Strip, between Walker and Mynders near the University of Memphis, has many businesses that cater to students, so many walk across Highland from campus, dodging oncoming vehicles on the way.

As of Wednesday, a crosswalk now stretches from Walker Avenue to the other side of Highland.

Cody Fletcher, executive director of the University Neighborhoods Development Corporation, said this was done in an effort to make crossing the street safer. and make the route more walkable for students, residents and patrons of the businesses.

Drivers should be extra vigilant when driving on this section of the road because, according to state law, pedestrians have the right-of-way in crosswalks.

Brennan Johnson, who works at a business in the Highland Strip, said he’s seen multiple wrecks in the year he has worked in the area, and with a window facing the crosswalk, watching people attempt to evade cars is an everyday thing.

“Sometimes you see people do this thing where they try to make the oncoming cars aware that they are in the street to try to slowly make their way across,” Johnson said. “But that definitely doesn’t seem safe.”

He said he thinks the crosswalk will help some with people running across the street and narrowly missing cars. The current construction on the road has made it more difficult for Johnson and the patrons of where he works to get into the business, but he said it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The crosswalk isn’t the only improvement coming to the newly renovated strip.

Fletcher said there will also be a ground mural, activated LED signage, planters in the turning lane and islands in the street.

The project, which will cost around $200,000, is financed from the Highland Strip Revitalization TIF, which was created from allocating a portion of property taxes.

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