Council members speak out against Riverside Drive project

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Council members Myron Lowery and Berlin Boyd plan to fight a city plan to permanently eliminate two lanes of traffic and keep a bike and pedestrian lane on Riverside Drive.

"We need to compromise," Lowery said. "We need to listen to the residents of our city. We need to make sure cars can pass through Riverside Drive, the gateway to our city."

The current configuration was billed to the public as temporary when it started last summer.

"The city administration made a mistake by not getting public opinion before making those drastic changes," Lowery said.

Randy Blevins, the vice president of programming for Memphis in May, agreed.

"I think it was somewhat of a farce," he said.

Although he's not speaking for the festival, he thinks it's important people realize what the city's ultimate plan was, even though they held three so-called "public input" meetings about the project.

"It was a permanent action that was going to happen. So, that means it wasn't a pilot project from the very beginning," he said.

Lowery thinks a better option would be to put a bike lane within Tom Lee Park, instead of on Riverside Drive. He is usually one of Mayor A C Wharton's biggest supporters, but he said he has disagreed with him before and will speak out against him again if it means speaking for the people.

"Council member Berlin Boyd and I are sending a letter to the mayor today urging him to reconsider his plans," Lowery said.

Mayor Wharton did not respond to Lowery or WREG. Instead, he sent city CAO George Little to speak in his place.

Lowery said he will push to bring the matter before the full City Council if Mayor Wharton refuses to reconsider the Riverside Drive project.

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