Elvis Presley’s hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi passed Complete Streets earlier this year. Hernando, MS — a southern suburb of Memphis, TN — followed Tupelo’s lead with similar legislation passed earlier this week.
The city council of Tupelo, MS, located almost exactly midway between Memphis TN and Birmingham, AL on US Highway 78, unanimously passed a “Complete Streets” policy earlier this week. City residents testified in favor of a policy that encourages a “safer place for the kids to ride their bikes and play beside the street.” A few noted the presence of social dirt trails alongside many streets that lack sidewalks. The current city policy requires a Complete Streets review of development, but is limited in mandating implementation only if the cost is under 5% above “core expenditures.”
Last Tuesday, the growing town of Hernando, located just south of the Tennessee border, likewise passed a similar policy. Some councilors expressed safety concerns about encouraging cyclists and walkers on busy streets, but voted in favor of the measure anyway.
My wife Sara and I visited Tupelo in the early 90s to visit a friend at the Tupelo Children’s Mansion residential group home for children. This orphanage is a wonderful place located in a lovely town. I distinctly remember the charming southern vibe and friendliness of the people in Tupelo, and I also remember the complete lack of sidewalks here, even alongside the birthplace of Elvis Presley. I’m happy to see small American towns taking these kinds of measures, even if they’re in small fits and starts.
- National Complete Streets Coalition: Tupeloans ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’ with Complete Streets.
- Grist: Towns invest in smarter streets in Mississippi.