Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taking Suggestions From Others

In the comments section of a previous post (The Bicycle Lane Movement) maydaymemphis said that he/she rode the median of North Parkway to Broad and Tillman and suggested we all try it. It sounded like fun and seeing as how I have a cross bike, yesterday I rode the East Parkway median from Harbert to Sam Cooper/Broad. It was sloggy but def fun. The only "obstacles" were under the overpasses, in my case Union Ave. Thankfully traffic was light. Some of the intersections were also narrow because of turning lanes but others had cutouts like driveway access, presumably for city vehicles.

Later on in my ride I hopped on the Vollintine/Evergreen Greenway from McLean to Watkins and it got me thinking of how easy it would be to make the Parkway medians into a very similar greenway. I don't know how much money was spent on the V&E but there's really not much to it. It just seems to exist (I know that it was purchased) because people use it and volunteers take care of it. Paths are worn in and it's pretty hard packed, but not paved at all. There are bridges where necessary but I don't think you would need anything like that on the Parkways.

From Dunlap/North Parkway to Young/East Parkway is approximately 5 miles. If you want to add South Parkway you could almost double that. The city maintains the medians so all we have to do is start using them. For commuting purposes they don't suit my needs at all but the days that I don't work I would really enjoy doing a couple of out & backs to build my base miles. The Parkways are easy access for most midtowners and are in a large sense buffetted from traffic. Just don't ride or run through the flower M at Union.

9 comments:

Brad said...

Wow... fantastic idea.

jmgorman said...

It's actually a very old idea.

The fairgrounds held the city's public stables for decades. The center medians of the parkways had horse paths that Memphians used to ride their horses on evenings and weekends.

But, besides east parkway, why bother? North and South are smooth and wide and not very crowded.

Fix Memphis said...

Josh, I think it comes down to the safety factor. While you and I are pretty aggressive and favor taking the lane, someone like Emily is often scared to ride in traffic. And unfortunately you and I are the minority.

jmgorman said...

Yeah, I hear you Cort. But to me, the median is pretty similar to a sidewalk: it's safer when you're riding along, but not when you cross driveways and streets. Drivers just aren't looking for fast moving vehicles anywhere but on the street.

Zach Ellerbrook said...

I like the idea. Now if we can just find a safe route from Raleigh to Midtown - make that Raleigh to anywhere in the city.

maydaymemphis said...

D e e p and wide, d e e p and wide, I wanna a bike path that is d e e p and wide.

myshoeshurt said...

I agree with the statement that "North Parkway is smooth and wide and not very crowded", but it's the combative cars that are there that frighten me. Especially on Madison, which is maybe one of my least favorite streets to ride. I might be passive, but it's not worth getting hurt/being uncomfortable to me.
In addition, i'm not saying i want to drive. I really enjoy walking places, but for a 26 year old petite (and super hot) girl, it's not safe. I'm digressing...

jmgorman said...

@MSH

I agree about Madison. It is really disappointing that it's so unfriendly - it could be a really great road for cycling. But as long as the city does nothing to calm traffic, it will remain a quick way to get around traffic on Poplar and Union. Maybe some DIY signs would help?

maydaymemphis said...

http://www.greatermemphisgreenline.org/blog/

Chelsea Greenline!! Yeeehoo!!