People sound off on city’s changes to Riverside Drive

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s amazing how something so peaceful can get people so fired up.

This summer, city engineers took half of Riverside Drive and made it for bikes and pedestrians only from Beale Street up to Georgia Avenue.

It’s part of the continued effort to make Memphis more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

HERE is the plan they are using.

“If it’s getting utilized, that’s a great thing, I’m all for it, but I’m getting my own data,” said one resident.

Tuesday night, the city held an input meeting at Beale Street Landing where you could pay $5 to park and attend the meeting or walk from AutoZone or try to find a parking space in the packed Tom Lee lot.

Many residents said no one is using the bike lanes, and squeezing all the cars into two lanes is dangerous.

After all, there is a reason engineers put in four lanes.

“They just stop in the middle of Riverside and panic and don’t know what to do,” said another.

Engineers ay they won’t have usage data till fall at the earliest.

The plan to is have a permanent plan in place by next summer when repaving is planned for Riverside Drive.

Some options include taking all of Riverside down to two lanes, right up to the Pyramid.

People say the road just isn’t wide enough, in-fact there have been several crashes incl.

They wanted to know why the city would do something like this and not even get their input.

The road changed without a single public meeting.

The answer from city engineer?

“I’m concerned this is the new protocol, we build a project and ask for comments after and that doesn’t feel good to me,” said one angry resident.

City leaders had few answers.

While many who drive Riverside are angered by the changes.

But there are those who love it and believe there is potential to bring more people downtown.

“There was anger when Madison bike lanes happened and that seems to be a success,” said one resident.

“A lot of younger people are drawn to the city by projects like this,” said a cyclist.

30 comments

  • Who That Say Who That???

    With all the crime, High taxes, bad roads and they are upset about bike lanes? Really!!!

  • canadianwhiskeygirl

    Yep!!! Just what I figured!!! Once again, my post got considered spam! Rolling my eyes!

  • Go Ahead On Stupid

    I work on President’s Island and this change has created a huge traffic nightmare for this area of town. You already to contend with the trolley line in that area and now this stupid bike lane. No matter where you go in this god forsaken city there is road work or a road closed and then when the cry babies get done working on the roads 3 months later the same problem exists if it was ever fixed to begin with. I understand why the yuppies down there want a bike lane I guess they want to feel special. But this bike lane is the stupidest thing I have seen and very very very dangerous for the amount of traffic that travels down Riverside since it is a connector from I-40 to I-55. Politicians here are amazing I don’t know what we would do without them.

  • Herb Gunn

    My wife and I live downtown, work downtown, and drive cars and bicycles downtown. We support the bike lane on Riverside Drive. My wife was hit by a car while biking on Peabody and spent hours in The Med. We need, want and use safe places to bike. The Riverside Drive “road sharing” is great for both bikes and cars whose riders/drivers want access to the river. Here’s an idea. Only allow cars with three or more persons — and transform all of Riverside Drive to a recreational thoroughfare, not a raceway to work. There are plenty of other roads in and out of downtown for those oblivious to the riverfront and its parks.

    • donthidebehindurscreen

      I’m sorry to hear about your wife being injured but the idea of “only allowing cars with 3 or more people is ludicrous! For a lot of us it’s not a “raceway” but a direct route speaking for those who work on Crump and Presidents Island. There are thousands of tax paying, productive citizens that travel to Budweiser, Hershey, Cooper, and so on…what about these workers that have been taking this route daily for 20 years or more and having to add on 10-30 minutes for “alternate routes” because some idiot decided bikes were more important that cars. What taxes do you pay to contribute to this road? Last I checked NONE! Stay on the sidewalk!

      • Brian

        You might like to consider that cyclists share rights to the road. The sidewalk is for walking, not biking. What you also fail to acknowledge is that Herb pays the same taxes you pay for the roads. If you’re assuming he pays no taxes to support the transportation infrastructure, then you should probably look in the mirror and address your own tax evasion situation. Of course he pays into the road improvements.

        You have some solid points/ concerns, but the tired rhetoric doesn’t do much to help them.

      • donthidebehindurscreen

        I don’t know how tax evasion is being brought into play I never said that! However, if you have been following the news AC Wharton says he’s done this to bring more visitors and revenue to the city. So I wasn’t speaking on Herb’s part, I’m sure he does pay taxes. However the people bicycling in from IL, LA, MS, MO, AR and anywhere else do not. My point is they could have made a bike lane adjacent to the sidewalk and left the road for commuters. It’s bad enough we’ve already lost a 3rd lane on Parkway and they’re giving up more roads to cyclists that aren’t even utilizing them. Last I checked downtown Memphis isn’t the best place to be a sitting duck on a bike and I’d be using a safer area to ride thru.

  • donthidebehindurscreen

    So why hold a meeting if they’re not going to do anything about it. And in what universe do we implement projects and then wait for feedback. Like the guy said, this is the proper protocol for Memphis stick it to us and make us suffer basically! I feel sorry for the people that went to this meeting and wasted their breath on deaf ears!

  • Lady Elle

    Once again another idiotic idea. It is not necessary to close down two whole lanes to make it for runners and bikers. They have been getting along just fine without it for years and years. That section needs all four lanes for traffic and the residents should have been notified of this change prior so that the city could get their input and see how they feel about it. I’m not sure which idea is worse closing down lanes for much needed traffic or putting a trolley in the middle of the street. Geez…who’s thinking of these ideas.

  • jeremy

    i say cyclist that ride on public roads should have to tag their bike like cars, people need safe places to ride I understand. ever heard of Shelby farms? It is the largest metropolitan park in the USA…you have a place to ride. As far as the riverside bike lane…even with my own side of the road I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding that close to downtown with all the tourists and party goers.lets bring more tourism by offering less lanes for traffic…yea that real bright…

    • donthidebehindurscreen

      Agreed…nothing like being a sitting duck on a bicycle to make you a moving target!

  • Ljmrshll

    I am a cyclist. I pay taxes. I am as much a part of this city as anyone who rides or drives any type of vehicle. There are many dangers to both forms of transportation. I believe in sharing the road. And as a tax payer, I have as much right to use the road as every other tax payer in this city, no matter the form of transportation I use. I understand that there is anger and frustration surrounding the use of Riverside drive for other types of transportation, including those on foot. I can tell you that as a member of our most prominent local bike club I use Riverside Drive quite often on my bike. We all love being able to ride safely downtown without worrying about the potential dangers of riding amongst cars, or on sidewalks. I can also tell you that you will see cyclists on Riverside any given evening as there are many club group rides that travel the downtown routes. I personally use Riverside Drive several days a week, and know that if I lived downtow I would use it more often. The idea that cyclists are lesser citizens than those in cars is very frustrating. I both drive and cycle. And as a user of both forms of transportation I have become more knowledgeable of the dangers cyclists face when riding. Please allow us this space. For our safety and enjoyment and both drivers and cyclists peace of mind. We do our best to respect the rules of the road both on and off the bike. It may not be for everyone, cycling, but it does not mean we can’t share the road. There is room for us both. Adjustments may need to be made, on both sides, but I know we can make this workable for all involved and still maintain the safety we all need.

    • Long Gone

      Do you buy gas to put into your bike? Do you pay for tags on the bike? If you don’t then I don’t see where you’re entitled to use the roadway. Your property tax pays for one green garbage can, one street light, and access to 911.

      • donthidebehindurscreen

        And it’s to attract out of town riders, what kind of contributions are they making except for a small monetary contribution for what.. maybe lunch and a bottle of water. Gimme a break!

      • ProudAmerican

        Don’thidebehindurscreen, exactly! It attracts people who have all day to get from Point A to Point B.

    • Bill

      It’s a case of the tail wagging the dog. A tiny minority of bicyclists are causing a major inconvenience to thousands of automobile drivers. To make it worse, the inconvenience remains even when there are no bicyclists on Riverside Drive, as was the case this afternoon when I passed that way. Zero bicycles, but half the road is still closed 24/7.

  • ProudAmerican

    I live in a Memphis suburb, but my heart goes out to my fellow Americans who are feeling completely disenfranchised by the actions of this city. The arrogance and elitism of this “Pilot Project” is beyond belief! They will complete the project and THEN ask for public opinion??? What is this? An EXPERIMENT???? Are people your lab rats??? Do you have that much of the taxpayers money that you can afford to potentially waste it if people don’t like your “Pilot Project”???? Good Lord, is this some more of “You have to pass it to find out what’s in it” baloney???? We are witnessing Agenda 21 and pure Progressivism in action.

    • tjonesmfs2

      I live in a suburb too, and it set up bike lanes and greenlines, etc., and there’s never a public hearing. Why take a shot at Memphis that seems to be driven by bias when you could say the same things about governments outside Memphis? That said,I’m thrilled that my suburban city has undertaken more bike strategies and more greenlines.

      • ProudAmerican

        This has nothing to do with a bias against Memphis. Just because something is done in other governments outside Memphis, does it make it right? Not long ago there was a report that stated that Memphis was one of the least “walkable” cities in the U.S. I recently returned from Boston which is considered to be “very walkable”. What a joke! Don’t believe all the hype about “walkable” cities. You can walk from Maine to California, but that doesn’t make it “walkable”. The people in Boston will run you over in a second. Cars stop in the middle of intersections, make turns out of whatever lanes they may be in, etc. You walk until your feet fall off. I returned from Boston with a renewed love of Memphis. I hate to see Memphis turn into one of those “walkable” cities, because it’s all a bunch of bull. Memphis will NEVER be a pedestrian city because of the oppressive heat in the summer (this summer is unusual) and the bitter cold in the winter. I’ve never posted here before, but this story infuriated me so much because it seems that We the People are nothing but guinea pigs to the elitists running the city.

  • Tom

    Channel 3 has whipped up a controversy out of their own self-interest and desire for its trucks to continue to speed up and down Riverside Drive. This has been a shameful display of journalism.

    • George Brown

      Not at all Tom. As people who often use Riverside, we are definitely affected and understand the situation more than most. We also have two employees who, through no fault of their own, have had their cars hit since the change. One man is going through physical therapy. We also have people here who are avid runners and like the bike lanes. We covered the meeting as every other news outlet did. From Tuesday’s meeting, it sounds like everyone favors the idea of biking etc. on Riverside Drive if the driving situation is made safer, such as a divided road. As someone who has used Riverside Drive for seven years, I can tell you there has rarely been a chance to exceed the speed limit. For some there are safety concerns, for others it is change in mindset and taking life a little slower which is not always a bad thing.

  • Butch Campbell

    My turn to gripe. After listening to the news about closing 2 lanes down by the river I have a question. Why is it for the right to DRIVE on any street here I got to have a Drivers Lic. Insurence, and Car or Motorcycle tags, but a biker (pedal type) don’t need any of the above and they have more rights than I do, ans I pay to use these streets?

  • cDev

    What about the park that’s directly adjacent to these lanes? Couldn’t some bike lanes be tied into it and not affect the roadways? I agree, biker’s are equal to vehicles, but look at the quantity on any given day of cars vs. bikers. I guarantee you the need to for vehicular traffic will far outweigh the need for pedestrian/bike traffic. There has got to be another place to put bike lanes rather than taking over two very busy roadway lanes.

    People say that this is supposed to “bring in neighboring traffic/tourists”……is this idea supposed to replace the defunct trolley system that helps define Downtown Memphis?

  • robert davis

    Basically its counter-prouctive to do this while at the same time wanting more people to go downtown…..Its ludicrous! AC is going down as worst than herenton and that is mouthful in itiself!

  • KT1128

    Who was the dummy that come up with this thought and who was the dummy that said great idea, let’s run with it. Oh my bad the great leaders of Memphis. ” Brilliant “

  • Daisy Day

    They are saying these bike lanes will attract more visitors to downtown-do they ride the bikes here or drive? How safe are these bike lanes? Last week I had a bike put a small scratch on my car while I was waiting for a light on Beale & Riverside – they did not stop or apologize. Went right through the red light (they rarely stop) and kept going. They cut in front of cars, ride in between lanes of traffic and we want more if them downtown? Most adhere to the rules but a large group do not and put everyone in danger. If they must have a bike lane on Riverside Dr then add a lane inside the park or go to Shelby Farms! I rarely see bikes using the new lanes. Most bikes I see are in Harbor Town. What’s next, bike lanes on I40, I240 and Sam Cooper?

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