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Parking Solution: Memphis zoo and Overton Park

April 12 update: The final plan has been presented. You can view it here.

March 21 update: The document below includes Q&A and public comments received between Feb. 25 and Feb. 28. The remaining comments will be posted in the coming days. 

Feb. 25-28 Q&A, Comments

March 9 update:
 The document below includes Q&A and public comments received between Feb. 21 and noon on Feb. 25. The remaining comments will be posted in the coming days. 

Feb. 21-25 Q&A, Comments

Feb. 24 update: The presentation from the Feb. 21 public meeting on the concept plan and answers to questions submitted at the event are included below. They have also been added to the document bank at the bottom of this page.

Feb. 21 Public Meeting Presentation

Answers to questions from Feb. 21 meeting

A summary of the concept plan, along with a Q&A, can be found here. Also, many of you have asked for a larger version of the concept plan design. We’ve uploaded it here.

Feb. 14 update: As announced last week, we’ll host a public meeting Feb. 21 to present a design concept for the Memphis Zoo + Overton Park parking solution. This will kick off a public input period that will last through Feb. 28.

Here’s more about what to expect:

During the meeting, the design team will present the proposed concept plan to the attendees and talk about factors that informed its development. The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session, and representatives of the City and the design team will answer as many questions as time allows. Everything presented and asked at this kickoff meeting will be posted online within two days.

For those who cannot attend, or for those with additional thoughts after the presentation, questions and comments can be sent via the project email to through Feb. 28. All questions and comments received during that time will be collected and reviewed by the City and design team, posted to the website, and responses will be provided as appropriate.

Once the public comment phase is completed, Mayor Jim Strickland will make a decision on how to move forward with the project.

The Feb. 21 meeting is scheduled from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Pink Palace Museum. If you plan to attend the public meeting and have special needs, please call 901-522-1030 by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 21, and we will work to accommodate you.

Feb. 9 Update: The City of Memphis will host a public meeting Feb. 21 regarding the Memphis Zoo + Overton Park parking solution.

Here are the details:

When: Wednesday, Feb. 21, 6-7:30 p.m.

Where: Pink Palace Museum, IMAX Theater, 3050 Central Avenue. Attendees will enter through the main entrance on the east side of the building.

Discussion items will include the July 2016 Memphis City Council resolution parameters, the concept plan and other design elements.

If you plan to attend the public meeting and have special needs, please call (901) 522-1030 by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, and we will work to accommodate you.

Jan. 8, 2018 — A note from City of Memphis Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen:


For some three decades, the issue of overflow Memphis Zoo parking on the Overton Park Greensward has existed. In 2016, shortly after taking office, Mayor Strickland lived up to his word and delivered a compromise plan, agreed to by all parties, that would accommodate the Zoo’s needs and permanently end parking on the Greensward. We’re in the process of executing on that plan now.

The design firm, in conjunction with an advisory team formed to incorporate community input, examined three alternatives and selected one that showed the most promise for meeting requirements of the resolution and the needs expressed by stakeholders. With input from stakeholders, the design team modified that proposal to incorporate as many suggestions as possible. This work was concluded shortly before the Christmas holiday. Then, I asked that City leadership review the design to date to confirm compliance with the City Council resolution that governs this process.

Based on that review, several design changes were mandated by the administration and are being incorporated into the design as I write this letter. Once complete, the design team will once again gather the advisory team to review the proposed design. This should happen later this month. We then expect to have a public meeting for review.

We’re aware of a recent petition circulating expressing concern over the preliminary design, and we appreciate the input. Please know that there are no new objections raised in the petition, and many of the issues raised in the petition have already been incorporated in the work. It’s also worth noting that there are a handful of other designs floating around the Internet claiming that the parking spaces required by the Council resolution can be achieved while staying within the current footprint of the lot. This, however, is not possible given the specifics of the resolution.

We look forward to continuing our work on this project.

— Doug

Dear Community Members,

We’ve heard your feedback on the desire to have more explanation and clarification on information posted to the site on Nov. 3. We want to be responsive to those concerns and inquiries, so the following is being provided.


The City of Memphis and the Powers Hill Design (PHD) team hosted the first Advisory Team meeting on Thursday, Nov. 2, and the PowerPoint presentation from that meeting is provided here. At the meeting, the PHD team presented three concept plans for consideration and feedback.


All three concept plans provide the following elements as mandated by the City Council resolution:

  • 415 additional parking spaces
  • 9’x19’ parking space dimension
  • 22’ aisle width
  • Parking technology (slated but not specifically delineated on the plans)
  • Tree preservation — in addition to trees being added, replanted and preserved around the site to varying degrees, all three concept plans have three main areas of the interior lot protecting/preserving mature trees of high caliber as established by the team’s Certified Arborist.

Additionally, all three concept plans have the following elements in common:

  • Limits of the southern boundary are at the ridge line
  • Prentiss/Galloway lot layout (identical in all three)
  • Ring road along perimeter to improve traffic circulation and capacity
  • Varying but similar level of pedestrian treatments within the interior lot and external bike/pedestrian elements to address access, mobility and safety

We purposefully maintained similarities with all three concept plans, so that:

  • There would be no plan that did not meet the mandated requirements, which would immediately disqualify that plan.
  • The commonalities would make it conducive for comparing them by focusing strictly on the interior layouts and internal elements.

Links to the concept plans are provided below as indicated:


Upon review of the plans, we invite you to provide feedback through the survey as part of the public engagement process. The goal of this survey is to gather input from the community on the following components:

  • User preferences when visiting amenities in the project area
  • Design elements
  • Concept plans

Click here for the survey. This survey should take 7-10 minutes to complete, and must be submitted no later than Nov. 20. Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey. Your input is essential to this process and in the development of this project.


We also welcome you to send any additional comments or feedback by emailing These emails are directed to the Powers Hill Design team. Please be assured that every email sent to that address is read by Nisha Powers and Steve Hill, principals at Powers Hill Design, and are considered for incorporation, whenever able.

We are excited about the development of this project, and thankful to have so many in our community engaged in the solution process.

Thank you!

Zoo Parking Input

Design process: PHD will conduct initial reconnaissance (survey, tree survey, geotech, etc.) of the project site. PHD will also schedule meetings with the donors to gather data necessary for development of the concept plans.

Once the necessary data is compiled, PHD will work to develop three (3) concept plans that will be presented at Advisory Team Meeting No. 1. Following that meeting, the concept plans will also be posted online for public review and feedback. All input should be submitted to or via an online survey.

PHD will then incorporate feedback into the design concepts, where possible, and present the revised concepts at the Advisory Meeting No. 2. This meeting will yield the selection of one concept plan to be presented at Public Meeting No. 1. PHD will compile and incorporate input, where possible, and submit a final concept plan to the City for approval to move forward to the Design Development Phase.Oct. 5, 2017: The City of Memphis announced today the advisory team members for the expansion of the Memphis Zoo parking lot. The advisory team members will act as community liaisons and will work with the City and the design team to ensure that the public feedback is included throughout the design process.

This advisory team includes representatives from the City of Memphis, project funders, residential and corporate community and key anchors in the project vicinity. The team roster:

  • Jack Stevenson, City of Memphis, Division of Engineering, who is serving as project manager for this project
  • Mike Flowers, City of Memphis, Division of Parks and Neighborhoods
  • Kyle Veazey, City of Memphis, Communications
  • Chuck Brady, Memphis Zoo
  • John Conroy, Memphis Zoo
  • Tina Sullivan, Overton Park Conservancy
  • Eric Barnes, Overton Park Conservancy
  • Anne Pitts, Levitt Shell
  • Mary Wilder, Overton Park Alliance
  • Cato Johnson, Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare

The first advisory team meeting will be held on November 2nd. There, members will learn about the design process, discuss initial design parameters and review three concept plans. Advisory Team meetings will be private. Following that first advisory team meeting, the concept plans will be posted on the City of Memphis website and the public will be asked to provide feedback. The Advisory Team will work with the groups they represent and with the public to solicit feedback via online surveys and email comments. Additional feedback will be collected at public meetings.

This feedback, along with input from the City and the advisory team, will help the design team to further develop design elements and present the revised concept plans at the second advisory team meeting. At that second advisory team meeting, one concept plan will be selected that will be presented at a public meeting two to three weeks later. While the initial design process is underway, citizens are encouraged to submit all feedback and submittals to the email previously released on the City’s website: Feedback submitted to this email will be provided directly to the City and to the design team for consideration moving forward. Additionally, all submittals will be posted at regular intervals on the City of Memphis’ project website to ensure that the public is updated on all citizen feedback received.

Dec. 11: The advisory team met last week and continues to review the project alongside citizen feedback and comments. Powers Hill Design presented the breakdown of the survey data, which has been added below.


Click here to receive email updates for the Overton Park Parking Implementation.