MEMPHIS, Tenn — On Thursday, the Memphis Police Department announced a new plan for downtown to manage pedestrian safety and car traffic on weekends.
The plan, following a mass shooting downtown that injured eight people, establishes a downtown pedestrian corridor for Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, "designed to improve public safety and the free flow of motor vehicle traffic and public safety in the downtown space," police said.
MPD said they will have an enhanced law enforcement presence, supported by Shelby County Sheriff deputies, throughout the weekend.
The new plan will involve an increased traffic enforcement presence to enforce the “No Cruising Zone Ordinance,” according to MPD.
Officers said they will have designated foot beat assignments in and around Beale Street, and some officers will have fixed post assignments that will control the entry and exit of motorists at downtown hotels and restaurants.
“After a very productive meeting between the CEO Paul Young and Beale Street business owners earlier this week, it was agreed that an enhanced law enforcement presence will help create a safe environment for people to visit, eat, and be entertained," said Chief CJ Davis. "The new traffic plan will be continually assessed to prevent the unintentional adverse impact on other downtown business owners."
According to MPD, officers assigned to key post positions will enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy for cruising, drag racing, reckless driving, discharging a firearm and reckless endangerment.
The department said they will not allow “pop-up” street parties. Safety zones will be established with officers visible at several street corners and surrounding areas.
MPD explained the traffic plan in more detail with the following outline:
- The Police Department will place barricades at designated intersections at 8:00 p.m.
- On Danny Thomas Blvd., travel will be restricted to prevent motorist from driving west on Beale St. and west on Gayoso Ave.
- All Motorist will be allowed to travel east and west on Union Ave. The intersection of Union Ave. and Fourth St. will be restricted to prevent motorist from going south on Fourth St. from Union Ave.
- On Second St. at Union Ave, travel will be restricted, and a police officer will be assigned to the location to prevent motorist from traveling south from Second St.
- Motorist traveling on Union Ave. will be diverted west to Front St. or east to Danny Thomas.
- Traffic will be restricted at Peabody Pl. and Front St. to prevent motorist from traveling east on Peabody Pl.
- Motorist traveling on Front St. will be diverted either north or southbound from Peabody Pl. Moreover, traffic will be restricted from travel east on Beale St.
- Motorist traveling on Martin Luther King Dr. will be diverted east to Danny Thomas Blvd. Notwithstanding, motorist residing at the Westin Hotel will travel north on B.B. King Blvd. to George W. Lee Ave. to access the hotel and its parking garage.
The traffic plan will go into effect on 8:00 p.m. Friday.