MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — In 2010, the city ofMemphis was labeled one of the worst cities in the nation for cyclists.
Since given those unfortunate honors by Bicycling.com adecade ago, the city worked towards becoming a more bike friendly community.
In 2019, the city added 22 miles of bikeways to its total of 270 miles of paths. In 2010, the city could account for less than two miles of bike lanes.
One sign of progress can be seen at the intersection ofMLK Jr. Dr. and Walnut St. in the Medical District. The intersection is one ofthe bike friendly projects completed in 2019.
It is the city’s first protected intersection forcyclists, Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager Nicholas Oyler explains. Theintersection includes pole barriers, planters, “zebra humps” and brightlypainted cement to make crossing for cyclists and pedestrians safer.
Oyler said the intersection was inspired by Europeanplans and is believed to be the first of its kind in the state and possibly thecountry.
“It’s exciting to finally start seeing a network comingtogether. Five years ago you may have had a bike lane over here, a bike laneover here, but now they’re actually starting to connect and we’re getting atrue network,” Oyler said.
Oyler said the city established more bike lanes forseveral reasons: to promote healthy habits, to stay competitive in the growingpopularity of cycling and to increase safe public transportation options.
“In a city where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line, many people can’t afford a car or maybe they have some other reason why they’re not able to drive. So anything we can do as a city to make it easier to get around the community, to access jobs, access education,” he said.
In 2020, Oyler anticipates the city adding 20 or moremiles of pathways.
One of the big projects looking at completion this yearis of the Hampline which will connect the Greenline to Overton Park.
Oyler said the city also expects to add 500 more bikeracks and to start a public service announcement series to promote bike safety.