MEMPHIS, Tenn. – – A new program is turning dumped tires into creative bike lane barriers.

Crews with the Binghampton Development Corporation are collecting those tires off the streets and slicing them into strips before painting and installing them on the road. The barriers are designed by local artist Tad Pierson.

“I think it’s a creative use to solve a practical problem,” Pierson said. “I have a history of creating art pieces out of tires, made some trash cans, tire chairs. So, it was not a great leap for me.”

Julius Goodwin with the BDC said the corporation gave many of the jobs to people who have criminal records or have struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. 

“You got to look at it in the light of if we don’t then who will?” Goodwin said. “You know, everybody deserves a second chance. In some cases, a third chance.”

Charles Wesley fought addiction for years and was homeless until the BDC hired him three months ago.

“Now, I pay my own rent. I got my driver’s license last Friday,” Wesley said. “I have a fork truck certification. I’m OSHA 30 certified. This program just keeps giving and giving.”

This pilot program was approved by the city and is funded by several grants. Right now, the barriers are only going on Broad Avenue but the BDC hopes to expand.

“Just kind of getting things on the right track,” Goodwin said.

Crews expect to use more than 400 dumped tires for this pilot program. Pierson has other designs he wants to use if the project expands.