Parking Up the Wrong Tree

A sensible solution to the zoo's parking woes is within reach.


Frank Murtaugh

Frank Murtaugh has been with Memphis magazine since 1992 and managing editor since 1995. Frank also covers sports for The Memphis Flyer, for whom he writes a weekly web column (“From My Seat”) and covers University of Memphis sports.

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Parking empty cars on the Greensward is not an acceptable use of that space. The pricing policies of the Zoo have helped to create the parking disaster. By truncating the hours of free admission at the Zoo and by using a one price admission policy on the weekends the Zoo has successfully, and with disastrous results, shifted visits to the Zoo to weekends. Positive results will be had by expanding the hours of free admission to the Zoo to include all of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (as a minimum) and increasing the price of admission and parking on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The pricing policies of the Zoo should reflect the demand for admission on a daily and hourly basis. On the weekends, after about noon, there is a tremendous demand for admission and parking to the Zoo. Admission prices for those times should reflect that demand. The current pricing policies do not address that demand. The current parking rates do not reflect the total number of hours any vehicle will be parked. A one price parking fee does nothing to appropriately address the vehicles which will remain in the parking lot for more than two hours. Why should someone who visits the Zoo for a short time pay the same fee as someone who spends the entire day? Parking is expensive to provide. The costs of parking vehicles should be borne by the owners of those vehicles.
The current parking lots are poorly laid out and do not maximize the utilization of their current acreage. Redesigning the two lots, the primary lot to the south of the Zoo and the secondary lot at McLean and Galloway, and combining them into one well designed lot with appropriate shielding from residential neighbors will dramatically increase the capacity of the current parking facility.
The failure of Zoo leaders to address the current and future parking needs has created a problem which will only grow worse with the passage of time. The inability of Zoo leaders to work in a constructive and productive manner with all interested parties to create the best possible solution to the parking and traffic needs of all institutions within Overton Park is a legacy which will haunt current and future leaders of the Zoo. Delay will only exacerbate existing problems and continue to strip away any goodwill which exists within the community toward Zoo leaders.
The city owned Zoo is a valuable asset to the community. What is required for the success of that institution is the infusion of new leadership capable of positive interaction with the public and other stakeholders in Overton Park. The current Zoo leadership has done nothing to generate or preserve the goodwill necessary for the success of the Zoo. A dramatic change in leadership is in order.

Enrico Dagastino more than 1 year ago

No Need To Park in Overton Park

This is no need for this divisive conflict being foisted on the people of Memphis by Mr. Brady. This type of egotistical fight, when their are some beautiful solutions, is just plain stupid..Why divide this city, when you have the opportunity to bring people together to take care of this little issue. I've seen some lovely rendering of garages that can be made attractive, and house some introductory exhibits, setting the mood for the guests as soon as they exit their cars!

Jeffrey Chamblin more than 1 year ago

Overton Park

Overton Park is our cities Mona Lisa and the zoo wants to ruin it with spray paint

Steve Edmundson more than 1 year ago