Category: Infrastructure

Connecting the Greenline to Overton Park

Sadly I was not able to bike to work today.  I know, I know … I had a large box of books to carry to a teacher training session I led this morning, after which I quickly drove (groan) to school for lunch and then my afternoon class.  I guess it’s a measure of how committed I am to bike commuting that the act of driving feels like a let down.  Alas, until I buy a bike trailer, this is what I will occasionally have to do.

But I did manage to attend the open house tonight at West Memorials (perhaps the only combination tombstone showcase/art gallery/meeting space I’ve ever visited) about the Overton Park to Broad Street connecter.  This connector will serve as a bridge between the western end of the Greenline and Overton Park, which will then feed into the proposed bike lanes on North Parkway.  Very exciting to say the least.

Anyway, here’s a few pictures from the event.

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This is the scene that greeted me on arrival.  It’s always good to see so many bikes piled up outside.

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Upon entering the gallery, I spotted this bike.  Nice grip-tape, yo.

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Here’s a somewhat blurry picture of the plans for connecting the Greenline to Overton Park.  Apparently I need a better camera.

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And here’s an equally blurry picture of what appears to be a master plan for connecting the Greenline to Overton Park.

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And here’s a picture of Anthony vamping for Cort.  Cort’s fiance Emily ducks as to not impede this wonderful moment of local cyclist silliness.

But seriously, biking in Memphis is on a roll.  Apparently there are over 20 miles of bike lanes in the city, far more than the 2+ miles I bike almost every day on Southern (and far more than there were even one year ago).  Perhaps I’ll take some time in the next few weeks to visit these new lanes.

Weekend Wrap-Up

Hi everyone.  I’m about three blog posts behind where I want to be right now – it’s been a busy week for this cyclist – so I’m taking a moment here to wrap up a few random thoughts before I move on to meatier matters.

First, here’s an amazing article about the economic development-implications of bike facilities like the Shelby Farms Greenline.  When I first heard about the plans for the Greenline, years ago, I suspected that we would eventually see new businesses open and existing businesses grow as a result of the increased walking and biking traffic nearby.  It’s good to see my economist instincts confirmed.  I don’t have any empirical evidence behind this assertion, but it seems reasonable to claim that, in terms of local business location and expansion decisions, supply tends to follow demand.  In other words, businesses locate where the people are, and not vice versa.  To anyone who has any concerns about the impact of cyclists on local businesses, this article should put those concerns fully to rest.

Second, if you want more information about what bikes mean for business, check out my friend Matt’s website.  I mean, what a perfect URL.  I can’t believe someone hadn’t already snatched it up.

Speaking of the Greenline, there is both good news and bad news about our beloved rails-to-trails project.  The good news is that the Memphis Metropolitan Planning Commission has applied for $5.5 million worth of federal grants for bike projects.  If awarded, most of the money ($3.3 million) would go to extending the Greenline east to Cordova, a much needed extension which will bring many more suburban residents to Shelby Farms and points west on foot and bike, not in a car.  An additional $1.4 million would go toward bike lanes and facilities in Memphis.  This would create an additional 50 miles of bike lanes, on top of the 55 miles already planned.  (For liberal arts majors, that adds up to 105 miles.  Har har.)  These new lanes would serve to connect the lanes already in the works.  Plus, there’s around $800,000 in the budget to connect the Greenline to Overton Park via Tillman and Braod.  This makes me so happy I can barely stand it.

(Speaking of, there is a design workshop about that connection on Tuesday, 21 June, from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM, at West Memorials, 2481 Broad Street.  I’ll be there, and I hope you will be too.)

The bad news about the Greenline is that County Commissioner Terry Roland has proposed cutting the $576,000 budget earmark for Shelby Farms.  That’s right – he wants to defund the park at the local level, which would mean a 22% decrease in its budget.  I understand that times are tough budget-wise, but cutting money from one of the shining examples of the best of Memphis and Shelby County is downright ludicrous.  Please take a moment and contact your local commissioner and encourage them to vote against this proposal.  The vote happens tomorrow, so don’t delay.

In happier news, my friend Cort over at Fix Memphis has been doing an amazing job of surveying and writing about the bike racks in Memphis.  Maybe some ambitious cyclist with a GPS device could create a Google Map of the bike racks Cort has written about.  Any takers?

Also, I was supposed to go on a bike ride last week with Ty from Living Loud in Midtown.  I discovered Ty’s blog through a comment he left on my blog and I really like it.  He does a really great job of writing about his adventures in Midtown, both on and off the bike.  And apparently he loves his iced coffee.  I hope to be able to ride with him soon.

And, I got another shout-out from the Memphis Blog about my search for local cyclists to interview.  Thanks!  I’m happy to report that I already have three cyclists lined up for interviews with more responses coming in almost daily.  Thanks to everyone for your willingness to talk with me about biking in Memphis.


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