City never discussed handling crashes on Riverside Drive

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A morning crash on Riverside Drive is what many Memphians feared.

“We saw long traffic so we thought it might be a nasty day,” Felix Akinboboye said.

Riverside Drive was shut down between Beale Street and I-55 because of an accident.

City Engineer John Cameron told WREG the city never talked about how to handle crashes that close the now two-lane road.

According to police, a tractor trailer hit a car and drove off.

All anyone talked about near Riverside Drive on Tuesday was why the city changed the road in the first place.

“Why Riverside turned to two lanes, because that’s a very high traffic area,” Akinboboye complained.

Drivers say bicyclists and walkers are not using the lanes and point to accidents, like the one that occurred Tuesday, as to what’s wrong with the city’s plan.

“We couldn’t understand why this was changed,” Akinboboye said.

WREG obtained plans for the project from the city’s engineering office.

The blueprint is what you see on the road today, but it is not what consultants first suggested.

The original idea consisted of one bike lane on each side of the median.

However, the city flipped the idea, making one side for bikes and the other side for traffic.

“I hope that they reconsider the way the traffic was remade. Possibly turn the traffic back to the way it was to make the traffic much easier,” Akinboboye said.

City engineer John Cameron provided this statement:

We understand there was a collision on Riverside Drive this morning.  According to the accident report a northbound tractor trailer sideswiped a southbound passenger vehicle.  The tractor trailer left the scene.  Police responded and secured the scene to do their investigation and allow for clean-up.  Riverside Drive had to be closed to safely accomplish this.  It should be noted no trucks are allowed on Riverside Drive.

Memphis Police are aware of the changes on Riverside Drive.  They are responsible for securing the scene and insuring the safety of the public and those responding to the incident.  Depending on the situation, they may have the vehicles involved move out of traffic, they may direct traffic around the accident or they may close the street.  These decisions are made on-site by the officer in charge.

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