CLIENT - Memphis-Shelby County MPO

AWARDS - 2010 - Tennessee ASLA - Merit Award

DESCRIPTION - At the core of the Memphis road network is the Poplar Avenue corridor, which serves as one of the main commercial and transportation arteries for the Memphis metropolitan area. Within this corridor, the Norfolk Southern Railroad (NSRR) runs parallel to Poplar Avenue through most of Memphis, continuing through the cities of Germantown and Collierville, and into adjacent Fayette County - approximately twenty-five miles in length. As the country's dependency on rail for the transport of goods has grown, the number of trains per day on the NSRR has dramatically increased. This increase in train traffic is impacting the vitality of businesses along the corridor and causing traffic, safety, and air-quality issues at at-grade crossings.

The purpose of the Poplar Southern Corridor Study is to assist the Memphis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) with a detailed analysis of the sixteen arterial road crossings that cross the railroad within the twenty-five mile study limits. The study sought to determine a comprehensive solution that addresses the community, construction, and environmental impacts of alternatives to at-grade crossings. Using data collected from local, state, and federal sources as well as information obtained throughout an extensive public participation process, the study evaluated construction and post construction impacts that result from modifying at-grade crossings to grade-separated crossings. Additionally, the study assessed the safety, environmental, economic, land use, transportation, utility, and stormwater management impacts of such modifications. Finally, the study reviewed the opportunities to redevelop properties affected by the creation of the grade-separated crossings.