New construction projects aim to expand Memphis bike lanes

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Ten Memphis streets are in line for an overhaul, and nine of those projects have bike lanes in the plans, including Riverside Drive, where previous bike lanes caused controversy.

The city held a town hall style public meeting March 27 at the main library on Poplar Avenue. The meeting was a push to get input on the changes city leaders hope to make--changes that could be completed as early as Fall 2017.

The city is looking for your feedback. Click here to fill out a bike lane survey.

"The Riverfront has a different context today than it did two years ago," said Nicholas Oyler, Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager with the City of Memphis.

Oyler said that is why the city wants to add bike lanes to Riverside Drive again. He said with the new Harahan Bridge open and with Bass Pro at the Pyramid, there is now a larger demand for bike lanes than ever before.

"Our proposal is to take it to two car lanes and one bike lane each direction," Oyler said.

In 2014, the city dramatically altered Riverside Drive, pushing vehicles to one side of the median and leaving the other for pedestrians and bikers. But the pilot program left many angry over its confusing layout, so in May of 2015 Riverside Drive went back to its old setup.

"It would really and truly be great, but I don't think it would work," Anita Ward said.

Those we spoke with on Monday didn't even like the new idea, adding bike lanes between Jefferson and Beale.

"It's too much congestion and too many at risk pedestrians, and I don't think it's a good idea for Riverside Drive anyway," Kendrick Jones said.

The city said public input will be taken into consideration for all the projects, and they would be paid for with majority federal funding.

The projects on the list include the following:

  • N. Highland Street from Summer Avenue to Walnut Grove Road
  • Riverside Drive from Jefferson Avenue to Beale Street
  • N. Perkins Street from Summer Avenue to Walnut Grove Road
  • Hickory Hill Road from Mt. Moriah Road to Winchester Road
  • Knight Arnold Road from Hickory Hill Road to Ridgeway Road
  • Riverdale Road from Winchester to Shelby Drive
  • Cooper Street from Washington Avenue to Central
  • Getwell Road from Park to I-240
  • Airways Blvd from Shelby Drive to the Tennessee/Mississippi state line
  • Mendenhall Road from Knight Arnold to Mt Moriah Road

Repaving is in the plans for all ten locations, and bike lanes are planned for every project except for Getwell Road, according to the city.

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