MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wednesday, the City of Memphis showed proof that just as many people support changes to Riverside Drive as oppose it.
In June, the city closed half the road for bicyclists and runners without asking anyone what they thought.
At the end of July, about 50 people showed up to a public meeting on Riverside to let the city know what they think of the changes.
The mood showed the majority against closing half the road, but the city said the numbers tell a different story.
A graph shows support is split right down the middle.
Kyle Wagenschutz with the city said, “The public input drives what the actual design will actually look like.”
WREG looked over the questionnaires. Twenty-one people said they are against the changes on Riverside Drive. Seventeen were for it, and four people said they were neutral and didn’t have opinions.
The city closed half the road because it wants bicyclists and runners off the sidewalks in Tom Lee Park.
While a few spoke out in favor of the new bicycle and pedestrian lanes at the July meeting, most seemed angry the city made changes first and asked questions later.
“I’m concerned that this is the new protocol for the city of Memphis, that we build a project, then ask for comments after,” one man said at the meeting.
Wagenschutz said supporters gave their feedback on paper, but weren’t as outspoken, resulting in these numbers that don’t seem to match the July meeting’s mood.
“Opposition sometimes breeds a lot of emotion, and that come sometimes over take a feeling of a meeting,” he said.
He added the city will use the information from the questionnaire to determine who is most impacted by the changes and how much the bike lanes are really used.
Another public meeting on the Riverside Drive changes will be held October 30. Wagenschutz said the city will present data and statistics they have collected about Riverside Drive and how the new bike and pedestrian lane is working.