Call to Action

My people.  As you’ve likely heard if you are on the facebooks or read the local papers, but Memphis City Council member Janis Fullilove claimed today that bike lanes on Madison Avenue would be  “a disaster waiting to happen” and “irresponsible.”

What’s interesting is that Ms. Fullilove appears to be basing her claim on the concerns of one business owner, Selma Brinson of Brinson Tax Service, located at the corner of Madison and McLean.  I don’t recall seeing Ms. Fullilove at any of the past meetings about bike lanes on Madison, so her late entry into this debate is, well, curious.

But whatever the case, here’s what we can do.  First, contact Ms. Fullilove’s office and express your support for bike lanes on Madison.  Feel free to mention all of the evidence that contradicts her claim, but please do so respectfully.  We don’t want/need this dialogue to devolve into the comments section of the Commercial Appeal.

Also, don’t hesitate to contact Mayor Wharton’s office.  In the most respectful manner you can muster, tell him how much bike lanes on Madison would mean to you.  I already have, and will do so again.

While you’re at it, drop a line to Councilman Jim Strickland, whose jurisdiction includes Madison Avenue.  I’m sure he’s caught an earful about bike lanes on Madison from those businesses who are opposed to them – let’s let him know that lots of Memphians support those lanes.  Again, be nice.

Lastly, visit this website for more information on businesses on Madison that, gasp, support bike lanes on their street.  Also, if you haven’t already, please sign this petition and leave a comment about why you want bike lanes on Madison.  The original goal of the petition was to collect 250 signatures.  As of this writing, 1,187 people have signed on.  I did, and if I could do it twice, you know I would.  (In the spirit of voting early and often, of course.)

People, we can do this.  I feel like the momentum is on our side, thanks to the efforts of people too numerous to mention, and articles like this.  (Major props to Les for that one.)  The time for action is now.  Let us all join together and raise our voices in support of bike lanes on Madison.  We’ve waited too long and worked too hard for this opportunity to slip through our fingers.

4 comments

  1. carol gardner

    I do not ride a bicycle and have no quarrel with bike riders. I am concerned about the effects on businesses along Madison. I frequently eat at Molly’s, Huey’s, Blue Monkey and Bayou. I regularly use the station at Belvedere and Madison.

    I will probably avoid all these places if bike lanes are added. Getting to the parking spaces and finding available ones is already difficult. To remove even one space and making the traffic flow more challenging is not a challenge I have any interest in.

    By the way, maybe at this point in time, we should do absolutely nothing that might cause hardships for businesses.

    • Doug

      Hi Carol,

      First, let me thank you for your comment. I always appreciate feedback from my readers.

      Let me be clear: I too am concerned about the effects of bike lanes, and many other factors, on the businesses on Madison and every other part of the city. I visit Boscos almost every week, and my wife are huge fans of Yo-Lo. We also love Molly’s and Memphis Pizza Café.

      But the fact remains that, under the plan proposed by the planners at Looney-Ricks-Kiss, the firm that led the recent series of meetings about Madison Avenue, adding bike lanes would actually increase the number of on-street parking spaces on Madison. That’s right, it would increase, not decrease. So adding bike lanes would make visiting Madison, and finding parking there, easier for you, not harder. I can provide documentation for this claim if you’d like.

      But really, it’s not just about the bike lanes. It’s about making Madison Avenue a destination street, much like it was during the heyday of Overton Square in the 1970s. Bike lanes are proven to slow traffic, meaning that businesses will be more visible. It will also mean that more families are comfortable biking to dinner or a play; and yes, many families want to do that, but are stymied by a lack of safe biking options.

      I encourage you to visit the websites http://www.madisonbikelanes.com and http://www.bikesmeanbusiness.com. Both were constructed by Memphians who are passionate about making our city a better place (h/t to Les and Matt.) Please have a look at these pages. I think they will go a long way toward changing your mind.

      Best,

      Doug

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