Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Local Media Covers the 4th Annual Neighborhood Summit

This past Saturday, community leaders from around the Memphis area gathered for the 4th Annual Neighborhood Leaders Summit sponsored by Livable Memphis

In today's Commercial Appeal, Mr. Tom Bailey wrote about the event, calling it "an information buffet provided to participants from neighborhoods that include Frayser, Hickory Hill, Balmoral, Annesdale Park, Normal Station, Richland Acres, Cooper-Young, Whitehaven, Sherwood Forest, Cordova, Downtown, South Memphis, Glenview-Edgewood Manor, Evergreen Historic District, Park-Moor, Vollintine- Evergreen and South Main."

The Memphis Flyer's Mary Cashiola wrote about the keynote address delivered by Mr. Sadhu Johnston, Assistant Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver.  Ms. Cashiola cited Mr. Johnston's comments about Vancouver's commitment to bicycling:
"The car comes last. We don't design anything exclusively for the car anymore," Johnston said.

After installing protected bike lanes, the city saw a 400 percent increase in its morning bike commute within two months.
Mr. Bailey reported on local consultant John Lawrence's talk about the economic importance of walkable neighborhoods:
"The changes in house values over a recent 10-year period show Cooper-Young's values rising 32 percent, compared to Collierville, 23 percent; Germantown, 17 percent; Millington, 11 percent; Arlington, 11 percent; Bartlett, 8 percent; and Memphis as a whole, 3 percent, (consultant John) Lawrence said. 
According to Mr. Bailey, Lawrence
projected a photograph of an ice cream shop -- surrounded by parking lots and devoid of sidewalks -- on suburban Germantown Parkway and remarked, "If you wanted to walk to Baskin-Robbins, you can't."
Cashiola points to the ecomic advantage that Vancouer now enjoys as a result of its emphasis on envrionmental sustainability and livability. 
All the changes have given Vancouver the lowest per capita emissions in North America, and that, in turn, means a competitive advantage.

"By making our cities more livable, we make them more competitive," Johnston said. "This isn't just about making our cities beautiful." 
Livable Memphis was proud to host such an exciting and inspiring event for leaders from around our great city.  Stay tuned for information about our next event, the Broad Avenue Facelift.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Walk Bike Survey from the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Bicycle/Pedestrian Survey
The Memphis MPO is gathering feedback on local bicycle and pedestrian issues, concerns, and habits from local residents to use in the update of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  Please click on the link below to complete the survey.  It will take you just a few minutes and is a great way to be sure YOUR voice is heard.

After completing the surey, please forward the link to as many friends, family, and co-workers as you can.  The more responses we have, the better our ability to plan for the unique and diverse needs of our region's bicycle and pedestrian users.

For additional information on the Memphis MPO's bicycle/pedestrian program, please contact Kyle Wagenschutz, Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator at (901) 576-6710 or kyle.wagenschutz@memphistn.gov

Friday, October 22, 2010

Copenhagen (through North American Eyes)

Thanks to our friends at www.Streetsblog.org for this wonderful film shot in and around Copenhagen during the 2010 Velo City Global Conference this past June.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Southern Avenue Bike Lane: Update

The Southern Avenue bike lane is moving towards completion.
At the intersection of Perkins Extended and Southern--on the far eastern end of the road improvement--the roadway has been primed for repaving.  Because the process of re-paving requires a "scouring" of the the street, the roadway becomes pretty rough before it's repaved.  But it's a small price to pay for the super smooth asphalt that follows. 
(This stretch of rough asphalt currently stretches from Goodlett to Perkins on Southern.  By the end of next week, most of Southern between Cooper St and Perkins should have new asphalt.)
Heading westbound on Southern this morning, we found the street closed for re-paving beginning at Goodlett.   Most of Southern between Patterson and Goodlett has been repaved. 
Paving crews are putting on the finishing touches today.   
Pedestrians will notice that along most of Southern, the City of Memphis has completed "curb cuts."  The curb cuts are just as they sound: they are areas where concrete has been cut out of the curb at street crossings to provide handicap accessibility on the sidewalk.  
(A curb cut near the repaving zone at Goodlett and Southern)
 Near the  University of Memphis, where today the street was closed between Patterson and Goodlett,  re-paving crews were hard at work. 
Heading west from Perkins, repaving along Southern Avenue will end at the intersection of S. Highland and Southern Avenue. 
Readers will remember from our last blog entry that Southern will not receive new pavement between S. Highland and Semmes during this fiscal year's repaving cycle.  The City of Memphis hopes this stretch of Southern will be re-surfaced during fiscal year 2012.   
(The intersection of southern and Prescott is within the .8 mile stretch of Southern that will not be repaved this year)

Beginning at Semmes heading west, bicycle riders will enjoy smooth sailing all the way to S. Cooper St.  New pavement has been poured and smoothed.  Best of all, the beginnings of a bike lane are now striped on the road.  
The bike lane actually begins at Goodwyn, one block west of Semmes.   This bike lane is part of Mayor A.C. Wharton's 2010-2011 Bicycle Facilities Program, which began with striping bicycle lanes on Horn Lake Road in July of this year. 
Here's a shaky and hazy but continuous video of the bike lane from Goodwyn to Cooper.

Note that "bicycle lane" signs have not been erected by the side of the road and bicycle emblems have not been installed inside the bike lane.  These features should be done, along with crosswalks on the newly repaved Southern Avenue, within the next week or two.  We'll keep you up to date.

Once again, thank you for helping make this bicycle lane a reality.  Advocacy works.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Updated City of Memphis Bicycle Ordinannces and Spoke Cards

This year, Livable Memphis' Walk Bike Memphis program organized volunteers to conduct a re-write of the local bicycling ordinances governing Memphis and Shelby County.  Sponsored by Councilman Shea Flinn, the new ordinances passed through the City of Memphis City Council and the Shelby County Commission unanimously.  We hope you'll download a PDF file of the updated ordinances for your own files.  

Part of the work involved in having new bicycle laws is ensuring that both citizens and officials are aware of the updated laws.  To that end, Livable Memphis created these handy spoke cards for Memphis cyclists.    

The front highlights the new ordinances for Memphis and Shelby County:
The backside of the card provides some helpful information about what to do if you've been in a collision with a motor vehicle.  After a crash, most riders are quite shaken.  A quick list of points to follow is often helpful in figuring out the best procedure for dealing with an accident. 
If you're interested in having Livable Memphis do a presentation on the new laws for your riding club, community association, or any other public gathering, contact Anthony at anthony@livablememphis.org. 

We hope to pass updated pedestrian ordinances through the City Council and County Commission in the coming weeks.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Southern Avenue Set for Bike Lanes

If you've been on Southern Avenue between Perkins and Cooper in the past month you probably had a bumpy ride.  But soon enough Memphis bicyclists will enjoy some smooth sailing.    

View Southern Avenue Bike Facility in a larger map

The City of Memphis has been working this month to re-pave most of Southern Avenue.  The process began last month with a prohibition of on-street parking between Patterson and Normal St. on Southern. 

 (On-Street Parking is Prohibited between Patterson and Normal St. on Southern Avenue)

Parking Woes
Many students at the University of Memphis responded negatively to prohibited parking in The University's paper, The Daily Helmsman.  In early September, Darrell Katoe recalled arriving "at 8:20 a.m. for a 9 a.m. class and was late because I was looking for parking.  I was thinking, 'I'm going to be early and eat breakfast,' and couldn't get it because I was late. I was pissed.

"Parking sucks," said student Joseph Smith. "I get tired of getting tickets everyday for trying to get to class on time. You have to drive around campus for an hour to find a spot.""

Kirby Luigs, a sophmore at the University, believes students need more roadside parking.

"Why can't we park on the streets?" she said. "They put up those stupid 'No Parking' signs, and people still park there anyway. It's hectic."

Bikes Help the Parking Problem
Luigs' question, "Why can't we park street?" has a simple answer: Southern Avenue will soon have bike lanes, and the roadway is too narrow to accommodate both on-street parking and bicycle lanes between Patterson and Normal St.

The University, however, didn't lost any parking in the deal.  Two additional lots have been created for students near the intersection of Patterson and Southern.  

Most importantly, bicycle lanes stretching from the Cooper/Young neighborhood to the University of Memphis will encourage more commuters to leave their car at home as they travel to class. 

Best of all: students, faculty and staff can park their bikes next to the front door of their building, eliminating the need to walk 20 minutes from some distant outpost to a destination on campus. 

Students and advisers from the University of Memphis Cycling Club have confirmed a desire among students to ride to campus, citing full bike racks at the University as evidence that many commuters will use the bicycle to commute.  The Southern Avenue bicycle lanes provide another incentive for  bicycle commuters based in midtown.  

Careful observers may note that not all of Southern Avenue is slated for bike facilities this year.      
(Southern Avenue Bike Lanes, October 2010)

The stretch of Southern between Semmes and Highland will not receive bike lanes during the current re-paving cycle.  This stretch of road will not receive bicycle lanes during this round of re-paving because there are four railroad crossings along this .8 mile section of roadway, and by federal law, whenever repaving is completed within proximity of a rail crossing the crossing must be upgraded.

The catch is this: municipalities cannot use federal money to complete the upgrade.

Since the Southern Avenue re-paving project and bike facilities were paid for with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal stimulus dollars, The City of Memphis Engineering Division has opted to re-pave this section of Southern and add bike lanes next year using municipal dollars.   

Pedaling in the Right Direction
The bike lanes on Southern are important.  Practically speaking, they connect midtown to the University area--which is a perfect example of prime connectivity.  They also put Southern Avenue on a road diet by reducing the right of way for motor vehicles from two travel lanes in each direction to one travel lane in each direction (this is the case for most of Southern, anyway).  The new lanes also pass by Tiger Lane at the Mid-South Fairgrounds, and they carry riders past the Peddler Bicycle Shop at the intersection of Highland and Southern.  The connectivity along this corridor is superb.  
Maybe most significantly, the Southern Avenue bike lanes are the first bicycle lanes within the 240 loop.
(A map of Memphis' Current Bicycle Lanes, October 2010) 

While a small section of the Shady Grove bike lanes fall inside the eastern edge of the 240 loop, the Southern Avenue bike lanes stand as the first significant investment in bicycle infrastructure within the inner urban core of Memphis.

Advocacy works.  We're beginning to see results here in Memphis, but while we're headed in the right direction I'm not sure it's a tailwind yet.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Opening of the Shelby Farms Park Greenline

Mayor Wharton talks about Memphis' new "baby" on this ABC 24 clip covering the opening of the Greenline.  About half way through, Livable Memphis' Sarah Newstok and Anthony Siracusa present a new bike to Mayor Wharton with Victory Bicycle Studio owner Clark Butcher. 

Mayor Wharton's Address to the Bicycling Community

On Monday, September 20 2010, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton shared his vision for bicycling in Memphis with a crowd at Otherlands Coffee Bar in midtown.  This clip shows us his introductory remarks.