MEMPHIS, TN— A project to make the Highland Strip more pedestrian friendly will finally be done in October after nearly a year of construction, the project’s program manager said.

The Highland Streetscapes Improvement Project (HSIP) broke ground Nov. 3, 2021 with ideas from the University Neighborhoods Development Corporation (UNDC) and the local project management firm.

The initial phase invested $6 million into public infrastructure on Highland Street. The goal of HSIP is better walkability and improving the pedestrian experience.

“The HSIP is estimated to be completed by the fall of 2022. Barring any supply chain issues, our plan is to be ready by October 2022,” said Alan Barner, Program Manager and Owners Representative of the management firm.

Additional improvements will include a raised traffic table at the Midland Avenue intersection with a new mast arm signal. Two signal crosswalks will be added along with trees, sidewalks, and improved landscaping.

“Prior to these improvements, crossing the street has proven to be dangerous and life-threatening, in some cases” Barner said.

The existing street infrastructure was badly outdated, and updating it will slow traffic and make a more comfortable environment for pedestrians Cody Fletcher, Executive Director of the UNDC, said.

Not only is the project anticipated to slow vehicle traffic, but the anticipated increase in foot traffic will benefit local business.

“The construction has caused a lot of noise outside my apartment … but I guess I’m hoping that the improvements will make it more easy for me to walk around the area though” said Max Erwin, a resident of the area.

The UNDC also seeks to build a thriving campus and community environment surrounding the University of Memphis by strengthening partnerships among the University District stakeholders.

Phase two of the project includes the addition of an ADA-compliant crossing at Southern Avenue and at the railroad tracks as well as continued streetscapes south of the tracks.

Additional updates on the project can be found on the UNDC’s website at undcmemphis.org.