New Bike Lanes For Downtown Memphis

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(Memphis, TN) - If you thought the shutdown of Riverside Drive for the Memphis In May Festival was a little much, you are going to love this.

After this year's festival the city of Memphis will shut down the westernmost two lanes of Riverside and reserve them strictly for pedestrian and bike traffic.

It's a test project that will eventually take lanes from Crump and Danny Thomas too.

The bike lanes will circle downtown and link to the river crossing at the Harahan Bridge.


    • Arthur

      If you ride your bike downtown and you get hit by a car, robbed, assaulted, etc. Don’t come to me expecting sympathy. Downtown Memphis is extremely dangerous for bikers and pedestrians and HAS been for 20 years.

      • Transportation Planner 2

        I ride my bike nearly every day (above freezing temperatures) and have never had an issue with car traffic nor crime. Then again I actually know the rules of the road, hand signals for cyclists, wear a helmet, and keep lights and reflectors on my bicycle. I am willing to guess that you haven’t been downtown in about 20 years. Crime and bike-ability are not the issues in this case.

        That being said, putting a bike lane down the entire stretch of Riverside does not seem worth while. This road connects 2 interstates for commuters and acts as a peaceful drive for tourists. It seems that Front Street would be a better candidate to put designated bike lanes (instead of just the shared lanes that exist now). This would still allow for connection to the Harahan Bridge Project (in addition to the proposed connection from Tom Lee Park to Martyrs Park to Harahan).

        I understand the city has a complete streets program, which I support; however, streets should be analyzed in a right street-right place mentality. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities exist parallel to Riverside Dr; thus it is pretty much a “complete corridor.” The needed improvements on Riverside are safer pedestrian crossings.

  • ConcernedCitizen

    A) These projects are economically futile. Just because you can get grant money doesn’t mean it should be for such asinine projects as a bike path to Arkansas. B) This is an attempt to make Tom Lee Park appear safe to the masses. I’d suggest a trip down Riverside about 6pm on a warm day. The clientele doesn’t scream safety. C) I’d be nervous to drive an M-1 Abrams down Danny Thomas or Crump. Why not complete the loop with Mississippi Blvd.? That loop woul be more dangerous than the Ho Chi Minh Trail in ’68.

  • Thomas H. Evans

    Without using the same language as an earlier poster, but what the heck are we doing? Why aren’t they filling in the pot holes on our streets and roads? Who exactly are they trying to appeal to with all these Bike Lanes, but we are lacking clearly marked cross walks downtown, especially in front of juvenile court, all up and down Main and Front Streets, etc. This is a very stupid idea. I guess this is supposed to get the bike riders votes.

  • T

    Crosswalks, I don’t think I have ever seen any of our fine citizens of this city use a crosswalk, they step right out in the middle of a green light. And if you don’t think the bike lanes get used much then apparently you don’t get out much.

    • Thomas H. Evans

      That’s exactly my point, they are crossing the streets all over the place because there are no clearly marked cross walks. Bikes in downtown will do nothing to improve what is already a mess, so I stand by my comment, and what will these new bike lanes do to attract new convention business to our downtown area? The overall condition of our streets are more important to me than bike lanes.

      • Chris Stephens

        There are crosswalks all over the place, the problem is people are too ignorant/lazy to use them. I see doctors and nurses run onto Union because they’re too lazy to walk a few feet to a crosswallk

  • Joe

    I would be convinced bike lanes are a great idea if I could find one biker in Memphis actually using the ones we already have (Southern, Madison, Trinity Rd. in Cordova, anywhere!!!).

    Now I won’t be able to pass slow-pokes on Riverside and if there’s a stalled vehicle (which there are many times) traffic will be a standstill for a long period of time.

    All this for bike lanes that get used as much as the Beale St. Landing. Who is the idiot marketing director for city projects?

    • John Snow

      Joe you really need to get out more if you have not seen anyone using the bike lanes. Of course if you were looking this past Monday – Wednesday there were few. But the bike lanes are really used and are much needed. I for one would not feel safe going through parts of Memphis on a bike.

      • Thomas H. Evans

        John, you need to get out more, Joe is fine! The current bike lanes we have running all over the city are not being used properly by bikers in the first place. When you already have narrow streets in your downtown area, why would you think this is a good idea? Our city planners apparently have not done a good job in their research of this matter. I still believe that this is an effort to appeal to a certain “voting block” for the elections since we haven’t held true to creating jobs as promised.

  • MissTee

    Even on a story as innocuous as bike lanes, the lovely viewers of WREG manage to find a way to make ugly, racist comments.

  • GasMan

    Terrible idea! There are already trails in Tom Lee Park and on the bluff above Riverside Drive. If the do this then open up Main Street to vehicles. Just watch Front Street will become a bottleneck as it does every May. The.Commercial Appear indicated that this is a three month trial during the summer when there is no school traffic or Grizzly / Tiger Basketball Games. One major accident on the I-40 & 55 bridges and traffic will clog the entire western half of the county.

  • T

    Most the people commenting about this traffic nightmare that could occur probably live out in the suburbs and only come downtown once every 6 months for an event. God forbid you have to sit in traffic in your pretentious Porsche or Mercedes, that must be scary for you. How about your precious escape route to safety, 385, taken a look around you when you had driven through? Or is that pretentious money taking you 100 miles an hour to safety?

    • Chris Stephens

      Wow! Hostile much? Riverside drive is meant for cars (Drive…) and is needed. I drive it M-F and it is busy. I’m fine with widening it to add a bike lane or two, but to take away car lanes? No. You seem the type to wish you had a Porsche or take pics with them but outwardly make fun of them.

    • Joe

      T, I complained about the traffic nightmare and I commute downtown everyday for work and occasionally more often for events and Tigers/Griz/Redbirds games and drive an 11-year old Nissan Sentra. I live 20 min. away in East Memphis (Colonial). Thanks for already grouping me into a stereotype though despite not knowing anything about me.

  • Aaron

    Noah why are you building an ark ? You’re crazy this place will never flood! Same naysayers different project.

  • Gary Lewis

    It’s sad to read some of the comments on here & see how many ignorant people there are in the city of Memphis. Bike Lanes are great and I am glad to see the city join the rest of the 21st century in having them. You have got to be totally blind to not see them being used everyday. I use them & the city streets for recreation everyday of the week. I lead groups of up to 40 cyclist each weekend throughout both the good & bad neighborhoods of Memphis and we never have any problems. If there is no cycling in Memphis maybe the 10 bike shops need to just go out of business. Park your car, trade being lazy for active and ride a bike.

    • Joe

      I must be one of the ignorant people you referred to since I looked at the project objectively instead of just “hey more bike lanes, yay!”

      Btw, I own a bike and use it regularly, including a 32-mile bike trip from G’town to Midtown (Wolfriver Greenline-Shelby Farms-Greenline) last year. I also walk the streets of downtown daily during my lunch break and I love walking downtown. I try to run regularly in the evenings in a park near my home.

      That said, this will ruin the commute on Riverside Drive and its a terrible idea. Why would you put bike lanes parallel to a park which already has paved paths for biking?

  • Good luck with that narrow minded way of thinking..

    The ignorance displayed in the responses are one reason many are moving on to cities where mindsets aren’t so narrow and why it’s difficult to encourage businesses to relocate to a city that offers few healthy and environmentally responsible options to their workforce.

  • GasMan

    If we had a good commuter rail system this idea would make more sense. The misguided experiment will crumble in the fall when traffic loads increase and Bass Pro opens. As a Downtown resident, this afternoon I witnessed a traffic backup because of cars trying to turn into the overcrowded parking lot in Tom Lee Park, just wait until there is only one lane, traffic will back up into I-40 & 55. I do not recall hearings on converting Riverside Drive to an overpriced bike route. This will catch many who are not as in touch with news outlets off-guard when it occurs. In the end, my neighbors, Bass Pro, major employers, and the tourism industry will demand vehicle lanes, not bike lanes. If the bike lanes remain beyond this misguided experiment then I predict that this will lead to more of the office market vacating Downtown as this will make it difficult for their employees to make it to work. Downtown will not be able to survive on service jobs alone.

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