Weather-related closings

Council members vow to return Riverside Drive to four lanes of traffic

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Two Memphis City Council members say they will fight a city plan that has eliminated two lanes of motor vehicle traffic on downtown's most scenic street, Riverside Drive.

Thursday night was the last chance for Memphians to tell the city how they feel about the changes to Riverside that added bike lanes critics say are rarely used.

"Fourteen-thousand cars a day use Riverside Drive. Do you know how many bicycles use it by the city numbers? Eighteen. Eighteen a day," one resident said.

Some council members say the city isn't listening to residents at all which is why they are writing a letter to the mayor asking him to put cars back on these underused bike lanes.

The city proposed separating the traffic by a median.

Most still wanted four lanes including prominent names such as Pat Halloran from the Orpheum Theatre and philanthropist Pat Kerr Tigrett.

"This process how this came about didn't allow any public input," one resident said.

Any plan engineer John Cameron tried to sell didn't go over well.

Cameron said there have been 30 crashes on the two lane road since it launched last June.

Finally, two City Council members stood up and ended it all.

"This is something being forced down the throats of downtown residents and the entire city of Memphis," Berlin Boyd said.

He and Myron Lowery promised to make changing Riverside Drive back the way it was priority one starting Friday morning.

"If the council takes this up, I think the council will weigh on the side of the residents and the voters, a majority of which here tonight have said no," Lowery said.

Many blamed Mayor A C Wharton for not listening.

They say their tried to tell him this for almost a year.

WREG contacted him to see if he would change his mind, but we have not yet heard back.

Those who support the changes say the number of people biking and running is increasing and the city needs more ways to get healthy.

There is now a plan in place to add bike lanes to much of North Parkway.