Group looks to improve public transportation by 2050

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - What will it take to get Memphis moving?

That's the goal behind a new series of meetings planning local transportation for the coming decades.

Community members repeatedly stressed the need to improve public transportation reliability and efficiency at a meeting Monday night.

It's just one of many things that could be on Metropolitan Planning Organization list to upgrade.

2018 may have just begun, but there's already a 2050 transportation improvement plan is in the works in the Mid-South.

At the top of that list for Danita Walker and many others at Monday night's meeting was public transportation.

"A letter grade I would say between D and F," Walker said. "It's great that we have it, but I do think there is room for improvement."

Walker lived in Washington D.C. for the past five years, a city where she never had to worry about the bus schedule and getting to work on time.

Now back home in Memphis, her 7-mile journey to work is a trek on the bus.

"It takes about an hour and a half daily, five days a week," Walker said. "I think that's extremely too much time to spend just getting to work. I do work a full-time job, so that's almost half a day."

The Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning Organization Livability 2050 Regional Transportation Plan is working to fix issues like that and others by looking at the transportation needs of Shelby and DeSoto counties, as well as parts of Fayette and Marshall counties.

The MPO wants to create long-range transportation goals and short-term projects, getting those ideas from the community who lives and works in those areas.

"Right now what we are looking at is how can we assist with the ongoing challenges when it comes to public transportation," said Pragati Srivastava with Memphis Urban Area Metropolitan Planning.

The community input and ideas turned into plans of action and change by September 2019.

Monday was just one of the seven meetings happening over the next two days.

A survey on MPO's website will also allow anyone who can't make a meeting share their two cents.

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