Borrowing the idea from Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and their A Better Block Project, advocates at Livable Memphis temporarily redesigned Broad Street to show what the block could look like if transformed into a walkable, bikable art district destination. With assistance from an Advocacy Advance grant and city support, Livable Memphis temporarily re-made the street with more pedestrian space, bike lanes, traffic calming and temporary pop-up art, coffee and bike shops.
“The temporary redesign of Broad Avenue is a physical representation of how city streets can be designed as safe places for all road users,” says Memphis’ Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator, Kyle Wagenschutz, “the ability to experience world-class bicycle facilities and high-quality pedestrian walkways helped over 13,000 people develop a greater sense of clarity about what the vision for Broad Avenue is.”
While such commercial districts already exist in Cooper-Young, Overton Square and near the University of Memphis, Broad Street’s connection to the new Memphis Greenline makes it particular accessible by bike. In a city previously known for it’s disregard for cyclists, advocates and the city’s new (and first!) bicycle coordinator are making great strides.
Efforts like these can show the desire for changes to street design and the impacts they can have. With the high turn-out at this event and and studies showing the cyclists often spend more money shopping than their four-wheeled counterparts, perhaps such street designs are necessary to stay afloat in these uncertain economic times. Let’s hope that one day Broad Street can be transformed permanently.
Jeff PeelPeel joined the League in March 2008 as a Program Specialist for the Bicycle Friendly Communities program. Peel has a BA in American Studies from the University of Southern Mississippi.
State and Local Advocacy Coordinator