Concrete barrier meant to improve pedestrian safety causes problems for drivers in Midtown

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A new barrier on a busy Midtown street is supposed to add extra safety for pedestrians, but it’s causing a huge headache for some drivers. People in the area say the barrier hasn’t even been there a month and has already been tied to multiple car accidents.

“This rim is bent and probably has to be replaced," said Devin Steel. "You can’t really hammer these rims back into place.”

Steel showed us some of the recent damage done to his Porsche.

“I was trying to make a left-hand turn and as I approached the turn lane, I thought I ran into a truck or a train or something," he said.

But the culprit was actually a slab of concrete purposely put on Cooper Street near Monroe Avenue.

The spot sees a lot of traffic.

It seems the intention was to increase safety for pedestrians.

“They just put it in there recently," said John Johnson, who lives in Midtown.

A neon pedestrian sign that appears to have once been attached to the middle of the barrier can be found several feet away on the sidewalk. You can see where it was torn off on the concrete.

“As low as that is and with no notice, it’d be easy to run over, especially at night," said Johnson.

Which is exactly what Steel says happened to him. And when he went back to the area later that night, he says there were three other drivers stranded after hitting it.

“And we all had a conversation and from what I can understand, the businesses in the area all had said they had watched multiple vehicles run into the same thing all weekend," said Steel.

He hopes the city will pay for the damage to their cars.

“That’s what insurance is for, but at the same time, they probably need to step up and make it safe, not just for pedestrians but for motorists, especially," said Steel.

He said it’s probably best to reconsider that barrier design altogether.

“It’s obviously an issue.”

WREG's Bridget Chapman reached out to the city about this, and a spokeswoman said it appears someone hit the sign that marks the barrier, which is meant to help pedestrians cross the street by allowing them to do it in two stages. She said the sign was replaced Monday, and she also noted there are reflectors on the pedestrian pavement.

Anyone who encountered issues with the barrier can contact http://www.memphistn.gov/Government/LawDivision/CityClaims.aspx or (901) 636-6616 to file a claim.