Thursday, August 7, 2008

Memphis Bicycle Design Guide

Most cities have a bicycle design guide which, well, guides engineers as they plan for bicycles in the roadways. Memphis' bicycle design guide is in the works, but you can see their initial findings here.


Greg said...

You might try this search link:

which finds this document:

which, in turn, links to the actual technical memo:

bcooper5 said...

or search "Bicycle Design Manual" from Anthony's link. That's a VERY in depth report. I'll have to read through it this weekend.

Anthony said...

It's a pretty great fuondation for a bike design manual here in the city. As I've said before, we may end up with some of the best bike facilities in the nation as a result of designing our manual AFTER other cities had built mistakes into their planning. Our typical southern slowness might be a virtue after all!

Jeff said...

Just stumbled across this blog while goofing off when I should have been working. Haven't ridden in Memphis in a long time (whats up Anthony!?) and I'm glad to see the city making some progress towards becoming more bike friendly.

I speed read the design guide and it left me scratching my head a little bit. To begin with, the peer cities chosen are far more bike friendly than Memphis, but aren't exactly leading the way. References to Portland, Minneapolis, etc. were a bit more reassuring. And maybe I missed it in my scanning, but it looked more like a best practice report than a design guide that would give engineers and construction crews actual instructions, diagrams, etc. when implementing facilities per the Bike & Ped plan (another document that should be looked at within these discussions: While I don't know that I'd point to it as a stellar example, DC's facility guide:,a,1245,q,640118,ddotNav_GID,1761,ddotNav,|34416|.asp shows the kind of things that the city should have included, otherwise you risk ending up with poorly designed and implemented facilities- bike racks against buildings, too narrow paths, improperly striped bike lanes, etc. Maybe that stuff was in there and I just didn't catch it.

A couple of thing I didn't see, or maybe missed, when looking through the master plan and design guide was any mention of a Complete Streets Policy( or Safe Routes to School programs. A complete streets policy would require the needs of cyclists, pedestrians and transit users of all abilities be taken into account with each new road construction or improvement. SRS is a program that seeks to increase youth walking and biking to school through improved infrastructure and education, with federal money allocated to each state.

Another thing that could, and I think should, be done is to apply for Bicycle Friendly Community status ( Though Memphis is likely a ways off from becoming recognized, the application itself can serve as sort of a roadmap or outline to prioritize the work being done, and is a great way to incentivize local leaders to make the changes needed. It's also a way that the BPAC, Revolutions, bike community, etc. can realize their role (and where they can do more) in improving Memphis' bicycling, and to have even neighborhood community rides be more legitimized as important. I'd be happy to help anyone that wanted to work through the application process.