Bike & Walk 

2019 brings new projects, first bike-only traffic signal

There are a slew of bike and pedestrian projects on deck for Memphis in 2019. Nick Oyler, Bikeway and Pedestrian Program Manager for the city, said the projects are designed with the goals of improving connectivity and pedestrian safety in mind. Overall, Oyler said he sees this year as a time for the city to position itself for additional projects and "greater action down the line." — Maya Smith

click to enlarge Projects have “been a long time coming.” - CITY OF MEMPHIS
  • City of Memphis
  • Projects have “been a long time coming.”

Memphis Flyer: What kinds of projects are on tap for 2019?

Nick Oyler: For 2019, there are five projects that I'm most looking forward to. They're going to be built and on the ground by the end of the year. Most of them have been a long time coming.

MF: Tell me about them.

NO: One is the completion of the Hampline. It'll be an approximate two-mile long bike and pedestrian project that connects the Greenline to Overton Park going through the neighborhood and down Broad Avenue. And because it's the Greenline, what it is also doing — looking at the bigger picture — is connecting Overton Park with Shelby Farms. So, our two most popular parks will be connected with this safe space for people running, walking, and biking.

MF: So, does this mean people will be able to safely cross Sam Cooper now?

NO: Yes. This is why the project is significant. At Sam Cooper, the project will involve the first bicycle-only traffic signal in the city of Memphis. We're going to be installing them at Sam Cooper and another intersection along the route at Yale.

MF: How will they work?

NO: It will actually initiate a protected phase in the traffic signal sequence. So, while all traffic has a red light, bikes will have the green light to safely cross the street.

MF: What are the other big projects planned?

NO: Another one that is not as big in size but is huge from a safety perspective is the Central Library Pedestrian Access project. This will be one of the first pedestrian-specific capital project, undertaken just for the sake of pedestrian safety. So we'll be installing what's called a pedestrian refuge island in the middle of Poplar right in front of the library. It'll include beacons that can be activated by pedestrians. So now, when you want to cross the street, you don't have to dash across seven lanes of traffic.

MF: Why there?

NO: The reason for this location is the high demand with a lot of people crossing the street right here in front of the library. It's also the location of two MATA bus stops, which are both among the top-five most used stops in the MATA system. The safety record alone justifies this improvement.

MF: How bad is the safety record?

NO: Sadly, as recently as last March, a gentleman died trying to cross the street there. So, unfortunately for him and for others, it couldn't be built quickly enough. But, we're finally getting to it and construction should start in February or March.

Read the full Q&A on the Flyer News Blog.

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