Updated plans for the two-way bike path that will connect Overton Park to the Shelby Farms Greenline were on display this afternoon at an open house-style public meeting at the Lester Street Community Center.
The path will begin in Overton Park with a paved trail connecting the existing Old Forest trails to Sam Cooper, but that part of the project is being undertaken by the Overton Park Conservancy. The rest of the project is spearheaded by Livable Memphis.
Improved timers will be added to the intersection of Sam Cooper and East Parkway, allowing more time for cyclists and pedestrians to cross on the north side. From there, the sidewalk on the along the north side of Sam Cooper will be widened to allow more room for cyclists and pedestrians. That property is currently owned by the Tennessee Department of Transportation, but the city should be allowed to take some right-of-way at no cost.
A two-way bike path, allowing bicycle traffic in both directions, will begin in the cul-de-sac off the Sam Cooper sidewalk. That will lead to Broad Avenue, where the two-way path will continue on the south side of the street. This is a deviation from the past plan to place the path on the north side. Historic Broad Avenue Business Association vice-president Pat Brown said the path was moved to the south side to be in line with national standards, which show a preference to bike facilities being placed where the most activity happens. That prevents cyclists and pedestrians from having to cross busy streets to get to their destinations.
"The businesses are just thrilled to have the lane on our side now," Brown said.
The two-way path will continue to Tillman, where it will turn onto that street and eventually connect to the Shelby Farms Greenline. Most sections of the path will be buffered with a physical barrier than can be landscaped. Bollards will be placed on some areas of the path to prevent cars from turning off of intersections and on to the path.
A formal presentation of this plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at First Baptist Church at 2835 Broad.