Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Bike Lane Movement

As I was voting last week (yea Wharton!) Emily was reading the Flyer. She spotted an article about putting bike lanes in Memphis, or rather, in a part of Memphis that would be more visible than a little stretch of Shady Grove. The Coalition for Livable Communites is working with our buddies at Revolutions in a seemingly never-ending struggle with the Memphis Planning Organization (MPO). The project is called Walk Bike Memphis! and they meet the first Monday of each month at Otherlands at 5:30pm. I'm going to try to go to the next one, November 2nd, but of course I won't get there until after 6. I know we all like to bitch about cars and drivers so I'd like to see a lot of people there. It reminds me of the line from Alice's Restaurant:

"And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in
singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day,I said
fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and
walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."

The Bike Lane Movement.

Personally I would like to know the best way to get the MPO to do anything. A gentleman was in the shop with his little boy the other day and asked when they were going to put a bike lane on Central. I've wondered this myself. (Let's Repave Central Ave) As he was leaving he said that if there was a petition he would sign it. And maybe that won't hurt, pushing a stack of signatures in front of the MPO.

Finally I'd like to draw your attention to this article from Urban Velo. The title is "Does Share The Road Work?" and they're talking about the slogan, not whether bike lanes are a good idea or not. Perhaps we can discuss this at the next Walk Bike Memphis! meeting.


Zach Ellerbrook said...

Great post! The article has a great point, with the Memphis Hightailers being more focused on group rides than advocacy. They're a great group, but I'm excited about Walk Bike Memphis! I piggybacked on your post at my blog.

Anthony Siracusa said...

Nice post, Cort.

One point of clarification: the MPO is a wonderful planning body, but a decision making body they are not.

Getting the MPO to move is not the problem; the MPO only makes plans, they do not create legislation, earmark money, or fund road projects.

I think at least one bicycle champion on the City Council, a champion in the City Engineer's office, and a champion in the police department would be very helpful.

My understanding is that WalkBike Memphis! has made in-roads into each of these critical organizations.

Cheers! Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...



Sarah N said...

I am so glad to hear that you are all supportive of what we are working to accomplish with Walk Bike Memphis!

Please do join us on Nov 2 at Otherlands at 5:30 and be ready to WORK! We need your time and energy to get going on our strategies for action!

Send me an email to let me know that you are coming and to be put on our contact list and kept up to date.

See you Nov 2. Thanks for spreading the word!

Sarah Newstok

Sarah N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
failmemphis said...

We will all be pushing up daises by the time Memphis has "real" bike lanes. A white stripe on the road ain't gonna cut it folks. I hate to spoil you're grandiose dreams,but.....


The city isn't going to justify the cost for road projects and bike lanes for a hand full of people advocating for them. We need more cyclist on the road. Period.

Anonymous said...

failmemphis - I think just saying we need more riders on the road isn't very productive.
The video you linked to had separate bike lanes, and sharrows. I highly agree with the sharrows, and I agree the cost of the separated bike lanes for "a handful" of bikers wouldn't happen right now, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue it for the future. In reality this isn’t for just you or me it’s for everyone to ride more or start riding.

Do we have to have more bikers before we build the infrastructure to support those additional bikers? If we build it they will come.

Tell us how you think we can attract more people to ride on the roads?
I’d say that it would be by making them safer, but how?

Does this entail educating other road users to "watch for bicyclists" or does it involve separate bike lanes, or painted bike lanes or something as simple as a sharrow? For some people to start riding on the road it may only take one of those or a combination of them.

Why can't we look at each area (road or neighborhood) as a different opportunity to use the best solution for that area? We may find we need a combination of different solutions for each area (like the video you posted a link showed.)

Of course these are just my thoughts, but I'm sure we can discuss this more at the meeting. I do hope you will come to the meeting the more diverse the opinions we have at the meeting the better we can address each opinion so the solution can attract the largest number of people to riding their bikes.

I enjoyed this article if you have the time to read it I'd highly recommend it.


failmemphisfail said...

Tell us how you think we can attract more people to ride on the roads?

That's an easy question to answer. Pay them.

I’d say that it would be by making them safer, but how?

The Greater Memphis Greenline

Anonymous said...

>That's an easy question to answer. Pay them.

Well I save (or pay myself not to drive) over $2000 a year by commuting. This includes not having to pay for car insurance or gas, which in the end is more money in my (or their) pocket.

>The Greater Memphis Greenline

So how do you suggest people get to that greenline?

The greenline is a good solution for where it is, but many different solutions will be needed to connect the entire city and make it bikeable by all.

- Kermit

Roco said...

I've been cycling these streets for a long time, and I have to say, I've seen a ton more people riding in the last couple of years- enough to make a difference.

Roco said...

If you build it they will come.

Anonymous said...

roco said.... tons of cyclist
not really roco

So how do you suggest people get to that greenline?

I'd like to see the medians on both E.&N.Pkwy converted to a green line, path, trail, ect. As of right now the medians are giant waste of space.
I did do beta test starting from Ayers where I hopped on the median heading east and connected up with the V/L greenline from Watkins to Overton Park. Broad is a pretty much a straight shot to the trailhead (Tillman) from there. You guys should give it a try!

USA Pocket Bikes said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.