Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Biking and Pedestrian Spaces Unveiled for Downtown

Posted By on Wed, May 3, 2017 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge MAYA SMITH
  • Maya Smith
A corridor colored with public artwork housing protected bike lanes, pedestrian plazas, sidewalk cafes, and pop-up retailers will make its way downtown in June, as a part of the Great Streets Pilot Project.

The City's Department of Engineering and the UrbanArt Commission unveiled the plans to the public and looked for feedback yesterday, May 2, at a public meeting.

Bikeway and Pedestrian Manager for the City of Memphis, Nicholas Oyler, says the project will create a new west to east space for bikers and pedestrians that will connect with bike lanes to come in the fall on Riverside Drive and MLK Avenue. 

"We'll be creating a new vibrant, active public space and amenity in the heart of downtown," Oyler said.

The streets to be affected include:

Beale: Eastbound, add a bike lane; Westbound, add a shared lane; pedestrian safety improvements at intersections
Front: Convert from 5-lane cross section to a 4-lane cross section; add protected bike lanes
Peabody Place (Front to BB King): Narrow existing travel and parking lanes; add 2-way cycle track and pedestrian promenade
click to enlarge Pedestrian plaza example
  • Pedestrian plaza example

Peabody Place (BB King to Fourth): Convert northern most lane into a 2-way cycle track; add a turn lane
Fourth: Convert eastern most lane into a 2-way cycle track

The project will also introduce protected intersections, also known as a Dutch-style intersections, which are designed in a way that allows cyclists to ride safely through intersections by keeping them as separate as possible from car traffic.

Because Memphis will be one of the first cities in the country to implement this type of intersection, the City plans to launch a coinciding educational campaign instructing the public on how to use protected intersections properly.

Oyler says another important element of the project is public arts, as the UrbanArt Commission will hire local artists to create interactive public art pieces and murals throughout the corridor, along a temporary wall and on the ground.

If the project is received well by the public, Olyer says it will be implemented in June and piloted for one year.

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