» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 133 | NO. 127 | Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Bike Share, Greenway and Bike Lane Efforts Point Toward Common Goal

By Bill Dries

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Email reporter | Comments ()

Four years after it made its tentative debut with the opening of the Overton Park Bike Gate, the Hampline, across East Parkway from the eastern end of Overton Park, is about to become permanent.

“The Hampline that exists today is about to be changed,” city bikeway and pedestrian program manager Nicholas Oyler said on WKNO-TV’s “Behind The Headlines.”

“We’re about to start construction finally on the permanent version of that later this year using federal grant funds – actually coming in and building a landscaped median to separate the bike lanes from the travel lanes of cars,” he said. “It’s a lot safer, basically like an on-street greenway. That will stretch all the way from where Shelby Farms Greenline ends today at Tillman, along Broad Avenue and then hang a left on Broad and go to Overton Park.”

The city’s decision to remove bike lanes on Peabody Place after a year trial period drew a protest ride by several bike groups. But the city will keep some pedestrian bump-outs along the Downtown street and may find money to make sidewalks bigger. (Daily News File/Houston Cofield)

The new version of the Hampline will take shape as the larger area around it also changes with plans for apartment buildings across East Parkway from the park.

The pathway is one of several connections between on-road bike lanes and off-road bike access.

The Wolf River Conservancy has opened the Epping Way trailhead for the planned 25-mile long Wolf River Greenway in Raleigh with a formal opening planned for this fall. The nearby Kennedy Park segment of the Greenway is 90 percent complete and also slated for a fall opening.

Conservancy executive director Keith Cole said the greenway segments along the northernmost turn of the Wolf River in Shelby County go toward more use of Kennedy Park, the second-largest city park in a city of more than 160 parks.

Keith Cole

“Per capita access to parks is quite low compared to other major cities,” he said. “So, I think the work that we are all doing … is all helping improve the connectivity and access to all the greening initiatives we already have in our city.”

That includes the month-old Explore Bike Share nonprofit. Trey Moore, executive director of the bike-share program, said the availability of bike-share stations is done with an eye toward making other connections beyond parks and bike ways.

Trey Moore

“Every community uses bike share somewhat differently. I think our mission here in Memphis is to make it accessible so people can use it in ways that are important to them,” he said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure that we are connecting with public transportation so that it does provide that last-mile option for individuals. Our bus system is going through some changes. We want to be good partners and make sure we are connecting their passengers.”

To that end, Explore Bike Share is working with Innovate Memphis on a “co-pass” program – a single pass with multiple uses including the bike-share network and the bus network of the Memphis Area Transit Authority.

Nicholas Oyler

The city currently has 120 miles of bike lanes with more planned, Oyler said.

“You have an off-street network like Wolf River Greenway and Shelby Farms Greenline. But you also have an on-street network,” he said. “In order to have good access to an off-street network you need safe facilities on-street to get there. … For a really good transportation network we will have to invest more in our on-street facilities as well.”

As those lanes are used, Oyler said the city learns and adapts and makes changes. That includes a year-long trial period of bike lanes and public areas next to them on Peabody Place, between Front and Fourth streets Downtown.

After a year, the city decided to reline the street without the bike lanes and public areas of tables and chairs but keep the pedestrian bump outs at intersections and perhaps widen the sidewalks.

Oyler said the year-long experiment also was intended to be a “statement – to show Memphians what the potential of our streets are if we design them to be more people friendly – people focused – slowing down traffic and giving more room to the people and not cars.”

The problem was access to parking garages on the north side of Peabody Place.

“In one way it was meant to kind of start a conversation. … From a safety standpoint we also know that it was successful,” Oyler said. “It slowed down traffic. It decreased the number of crashes from previous years.”

Later this year, the city will add bike lanes to nearby Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, which is a better link from Downtown to Midtown where MLK turns into Peabody Avenue after a few twists and turns.

Oyler said he is aware that bike lanes remain controversial seven years after the city announced it was taking a lane in each direction on Madison Avenue from Cleveland to Cooper for bike lanes.

And there was a bike ride protest to mark the end of the bike lanes on Peabody Place.

But Oyler said it is “outrageous” that a third of the 100 traffic deaths the city averages in a year’s time are pedestrians.

“You shouldn’t have to worry about your life – taking your life in your hands – just because you are trying to get somewhere,” he said. “It’s really a question of what do we prioritize more. Do we prioritize safety or do we prioritize trying to travel somewhere in your car as quickly as you want?”

“Behind The Headlines,” hosted by Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News, can be seen on The Daily News Video page, video.memphisdailynews.com.

PROPERTY SALES 38 38 12,796
MORTGAGES 27 27 8,030
BUILDING PERMITS 137 137 30,071
BANKRUPTCIES 44 44 6,108