The current level of transit service in Memphis is bleak. So a week ago, 11 Shelby County public defenders took part in Bus Rider's Day, which Commercial Appeal columnist David Waters called "an exercise in empathy and, as it turned out, endurance" to understand the transportation challenges facing their clients.
Even as South Memphis has left deep marks on U.S. culture, its neighborhoods themselves have suffered. Now the city is working through many channels to reverse that -- one of which is putting the district at the front of the queue to get one of the country's first connected networks of all-ages bikeways.
Like many Sun Belt cities, Memphis owes its population growth over the last several decades to outward expansion. Since 1998 alone, the city has overseen 15 annexations, occupying a larger footprint than Chicago. But now the city believes that some of its farthest flung territory is more liability than asset.
The shameful state of Memphis’s bus system is one of the more outrageous stories in American transit. When we checked in with the advocates at the Memphis Bus Riders Union in March, they told us the local transit agency, MATA, was running buses so poorly maintained that they were known to catch fire. In the midst of this crisis, local business leaders had marshaled enough cash to restore […]