Half of Riverside Drive taken for bike lanes without public input

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you take Riverside Drive during your morning commute, you know that it’s closed, but what you may not know is this plan will be in effect for the next year and a half.

“Why didn’t I hear this? That’s crazy! It’s a major thoroughfare. I just can’t imagine them doing that,” David Simmons said.

Like many, he had no idea Riverside Drive is getting a facelift. The road is going from four lanes to two.

The news is official as of Tuesday. After a month of limited travel on this road, the city is retooling the way you use Riverside Drive.

City Engineering Director John Cameron said, “We’ve been talking about this for some time. I don’t think there was an official, I don’t think there was an official press release. We decided following Memphis in May we’d be making some changes.”

Those changes take effect June 6 when the road re-opens.

The stretch from Beale to Georgia becomes one lane each direction, making room for bicyclists and walkers.

Simmons added, “Sounds good in a committee meeting up in city hall somewhere and they just do it.”

City leaders say these changes are meant to draw a younger, more creative crowd downtown.

But Simmons isn’t convinced.

“That is just so far fetched. Did they hire an out-of-town consultant to tell them that? They just need to get in touch with the people down here to find out what’s going on and what’s going to bring them back.”

The city plans to hold several meetings so the public can weigh in on what they think about the changes, although they’ve already been made.

14 comments

    • blahblah

      Some people do bike as a mode of transportation, not just exercise. Memphis is one of those cities that is far behind other major metropolitan areas that have bike lanes and encourage people to walk/bike to work.

  • Holly

    Hey molly. By “SPEC report” you mean Jeff Speck report. Jeff Speck as our ignorant citizen Mr Simmons like to refer to him as is “an out of town consultant” bikes aren’t just play things for kids. Watch Memphis become Detroit due to our automobile dependence.

  • Keith

    What kind of special stupid are these planners? I think walking paths and bike lanes are great things but in addition to not taking from what is already there.

    • blahblah

      What? How are they suppose to magically make these bike/walking paths without altering what is currently there?

  • michelle

    I think it’s a bad idea. Riverside drive is an inlet and outlet for interstate 40. I belive that it puts pedestrians in harms way no matter the speed limit posting.

  • Bruce

    Apparently partying and bike riding both trump getting back and forth to work in a timely manner… any consideration for closing the two south bound lanes on just the weekends?

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