Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator for Memphis!

The City of Memphis today announced that they're lookin' to hire a Bikeway/Pedestrian Coordinator! According to the job posting on the city website, the bike/ped coordinator will "serve as the Spokesperson/Advocate while promoting bicycle and pedestrian projects, programs, and policies." The entire job description can be found here.

This is great news! Just one more step towards making Memphis an awesome(r) place to bike! Obviously, this isn't gonna solve all of the problems facing Memphis cyclists, but if nothing else, it's a token from the city that they really do take these issues seriously. You can apply online here, just type bicycle in the search box and it should pop up.

According to the description, they would prefer someone with "knowledge of bicycle facilities in other areas of the country or world". Hmmm, who do I know who has just gotten back from a worldwide trip to study different bicycle cultures? Just sayin'...

The Flyer has an article about the job posting in their new issue; it also mentions that plans for the much-bandied-about bike lanes on Cooper are starting to materialize, though not for like a year. Not to bitch, because bike lanes are pretty cool in and of themselves, but Cooper's pretty ride-able as is. Maybe a lane on Central, sure - cars go pretty fast and there's not really much shoulder. But then, I dunno if we're at the point that people would give up more room for cars on such an often-traveled street.


  1. Apply for the job and apply pressure - it's the same thing! We are getting the new Mayor's attention, but there is much work yet. The Cooper lane is a bait and switch scam - the City wants you to watch Cooper while it is NOT adding bike lanes or signs in repaving projects to up to 32 miles of roads on their 'approved' bike plan (including Central). See this video at - 'jump to' item #43 to skip the first 5 hours. If you want to get involved - contact Livable Memphis at

  2. So, stop me if I get this wrong, because I'm not too familiar with parliamentary procedure and whatnot, but basically here's what went down at that meeting:

    There are a bunch of ARRA projects coming up to repave some city streets. Currently it is recommended, but not required, that, when using federal money, bikes/pedestrians be given some consideration. But we didn't have time to get that kind of stuff approved in Memphis. (Though, later it seems to me like they're saying it's a matter of money as well). Thus, when re-striping, we're going to leave enough room to add bike lanes, but won't be adding them. The council voted to go ahead with the projects, including an amendment that any left over money be used for bike stuff. They also got a verbal agreement that when the regular paving projects - those not funded with federal money - come up, they'll have bike lanes on them.

    Sound about right?

    If so, what boggles me is this: they're going to leave enough space so we can add stripes later, but we don't have the money to actually add another stripe? I mean, obviously they've worked out the logistics if they're leaving room for them, so it seems like the planning part is mostly done - not to mention that thick book that I understand is full of biking recommendations.

    I mean, for all I know, getting that stuff planned and approved could take forever to go through the system - maybe they're right. But it basically seems like some people just don't care about getting it done, or don't want the extra work.

  3. Until now, your last sentence pegs it. You are a bit confused because much of what Gaskins said didn't make sense. Federal law says these facilities 'must be considered, where appropriate' - the City has always considered bike amenaties 'not appropriate' without doing any analysis or asking the public. They approved a plan in 2005 - - see chapter 6 for maps. It should be that if they approved a plan, it shows they agree a lane or sign is appropriate - you think?

    In March of 2009, the City presented an early list of stimulus (ARRA) repaving projects many of which stated 'a bike route is included in this project' - later that summer during part of the application process to the State, their documents told the State 'no bike routes are included in this project' - they didn't openly share these documents with the public.

    There is no 'left over' money. Even though the bids came in under budget, that 'extra' has already been siphoned off into other projects before getting to Council approval . We hope this at least causes them to keep their promise to pay attention to restriping - a review of recent repaving projects shows they don't always do what they say (surprised?).

    He made the next part unclear on purpose also, the next group of repaving projects ARE federally funded, just through a different mechanism that requires a 20% local match. These projects include around another 15 miles of 'plan' roads. Unlike the ARRA projects which have time contraints, these have more time for planning without risk of losing funds. Of course, if they tell the State 'no bike routs' again and try to slip them through while no one is looking, they could get away with it like they have been for 5 years.

    See some details of the ARRA and 'STP' repaving projects here:

  4. So what's to stop them from doing it again? Just applying pressure to council members? It seems like the council can't do all THAT much. Like this time, what council member is going to vote against the projects if the window for federal funding is looming? If they decide to take out bike lanes behind closed doors again, and it comes before the council, are they gonna block its passage?

    Also, just looking at the cost analysis to add bicycle signage to streets and all I can say is crazy. Again, this is a bit out of my depth, but it seems crazy to me that it should cost $33,900.00 JUST to put up shared road signs on hollywood from poplar to jackson.

  5. Note that Collins did vote no, but most wouldn't because it could have lost the money completely. But 'normal' road funds don't have such a tight time schedule and now we know how to watch for contracts and get the Council's attention. BTW, we may have Wharton's attention now and maybe won't have to sweat the details. Although, if Wharton isn't paying enough attention yet, losing federal funds would work!

    I agree with the estimate for Hollywood, it's way higher than the $5-10k per mile the City says things like that cost. Hey, the plan is big and complex. I bet it's a mistake.