City never discussed handling crashes on Riverside Drive

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

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.


  • PatrickGSR94

    And yet nobody ever complains about it being 2 lanes of traffic during Memphis in May. Also putting a bike lane on each side of the road would STILL only be 1 lane of traffic in each direction, so I’m not sure what that would accomplish, other than making it MUCH more difficult for cyclists going northbound to cross over and reach Tom Lee Park and Beale Street Landing.

  • PatrickGSR94

    And here’s another thing, the current Riverside layout is not permanent. It may go back to the way it was after 12-18 months. There are many other roads parallel to Riverside, you don’t HAVE to drive on that road.

  • whoyoukiddin

    As usual the city doesn’t listen to what the experts have to say they do what they want. I don’t mind the bike lanes, but I believe the city went to far on how they changed the plans. And the city didn’t discuss accidents before they opened the new riverside drive. Well will they discuss it now?

    • PatrickGSR94

      What experts should they have listened to? The Memphis Bike & Pedestrian Coordinator stated there was a presentation about this a year ago, and that it’s basically experimental. Now there will be 3 more public meetings to get people’s opinions and see how it’s working out.

      A new, comprehensive study on protected bike lanes was just released this week which shows they greatly increase perception of and actual safety of cyclists. Normally protected facilities can be quite expensive to implement, but by using the existing median on Riverside, the new protected lanes were created quite cheaply as compared to doing a separate protected lane on each side of the road. It’s also the first 2-way protected lane in the city, to my knowledge, preempting the planned 2-way lane on the west side of Tillman to connect Broad and Overton Park to the Greenline.

      And as I said this is experimental and not permanent, yet anyway. When you drive down that way, simply slow down a bit, be careful, yield to pedestrians and cyclists, and we’ll all be okay. It’s not that hard.

      • PatrickGSR94

        You are mistaken if you think MAMIL’s (middle-aged men in lycra) are the only ones using bike lanes. The fact is that bike lanes, and specifically protected bike lanes, get more people of all ages out on bikes. Men and women, young and old.

      • Kalista

        Sorry to say, but I run on the river everyday (in the evenings) and while the pathways of Tom Lee are packed…I have yet to see even a “MAMIL” use the bike path. The only people I have seen on it are runners and obviously we have the whole park. It needs to be reverted back.

      • PatrickGSR94

        It hasn’t even been there a month and I would bet most people don’t even know about it yet. A month is not time enough to see if it works or not. Maybe after a year they’ll put it back.

  • Chuck

    The real joy of this incompatant mess will be realized once the New Bass Pro Shop opens… Once again proof for the crazies running the asylum.

    • PatrickGSR94

      LOL somehow I doubt Bass Pro will be open by the end of this 12 month temporary configuration.

  • Don

    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.

    Someone needs to tell the drivers of out of town drivers about the rule.If they miss a turn it is not a good to try to back up.

    Will the last person who leaves Memphis please flush it.

Comments are closed.