MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Construction began Monday on the Harahan Bridge, which has been connecting Arkansas and Tennessee for more than 100 years. They’re now making room for pedestrians and cyclists.
Paul Morris is the head of the Downtown Memphis Commission. He says it will make Memphis a better place to live.
“Downtown has a lot of things to do within walking distance and biking distance,” he said.
But we all know Memphis suffers from a lot of problems that have absolutely nothing to do with bikes, like youth violence, a shrinking police force, and too many illegal guns on the streets.
Congressman Steve Cohen will tell you projects like bike lanes are part of the path to success when it comes to luring millennials.
“It will get younger people to like Memphis more. Stay here, and or move here. That’s our ultimate goal,” he sai.
The ultimate goal is raising tax revenue and property value to help battle the problems plaguing the underbelly of the city.
In May, Riverside Drive went from four lanes to two, making room for bikers and walkers. It’s caused some public outcry and a few accidents on one of the busiest roads downtown. But everyone in the crowd at the bike lane news conference sees dollar signs when the word bike path gets brought up.
Morris said, “Just down the street from where this project is about to start, the private sector is putting in millions and millions of dollars to develop land, next to this project.”
Morris insists these are the kinds of assets companies want to see when they are thinking about opening up shop in a new city. Believe it or not, bike lanes make Memphis more competitive, according to these guys.
The Big River Connector bike path is expected to open in the Summer of 2016.