One of Southaven's largest deficiencies is the lack of pedestrian-friendly transportation routes. We forget sometimes that our city is still a very young city in comparison with most Mississippi cities, having first developed in the early '60s and not incorporated until 1980. We are considered an "auto-era" city since we formed after automobiles became the primary form of transportation, unlike older cities that were created with town squares where all commerce needed to be located within walking distance of a rail system. This fact created the intitial challenge for our city to become more walkable and pedestrian-friendly.
Creating more alternative transportation routes, green space planning, neighborhood engagement, and community health and wellness have become a goal for many cities. Again, this improves the quality of life for citizens and makes cities more attractive places to live, work, and play.
We have been planning for the last three years and joined the Memphis-Metro plan "Greenprint 2015/2040" to cooperate with a larger-scale plan to improve the entire metropolitan area.
I'm excited to announce the beginning of our city's first formal plan to add bike lanes and pedestrian paths and start our connectivity to "Greenprint 2015/2040". This new plan will begin within weeks to add bike lanes on Greenbrook Pkwy and Clarington Drive that will connect with a short multi-use trail that further connects with Central Park. This project will eventually connect with another leg of our plan which is the MDOT-funded multi-use trail that will connect Central and Snowden Grove Parks and is planned to be under construction in 2017. We also have two other pending projects that are pending MDOT funding that should begin in 2017 as well. The "Carriage Hills Pedestrian Project" will add sidewalks throughout the Carriage Hills subdivision which will help walkability for all of the school traffic in that area. The "Main Street Pedestrian Project" will add sidewalks along Main Street from Highway 51 to City Hall on Northwest Drive. This project will also include new mast arm traffic signals with pedestrian functions at Main/51 and Main/Whitworth.
The bike/pedestrian lane markings of this first phase of our plan are estimated to cost about $75,000 and will be funded entirely by the City from our general fund "Street Improvement" budget line item.