Riverside Drive and the bike lane issue.
Thursday evening, a meeting was held downtown for the public regarding the traffic issue. My two cents? A few things.
Remember those three meetings held for the public for the Madison Ave bike lanes?
I went to every meeting. Why? The issue was important to me. A friend who opposed the Madison bike lanes said he was going to the meetings. First meeting, he was a no show. Second meeting, again a no show. “Well it’s the third meeting that is important.” And he failed to show for the third meeting. “I forgot.” So here is the thing. If the issue is important to you; ATTEND THE MEETING. “Well I would have gone but…” Complaining about city issues to your friends is not going to change anything. ATTEND THE MEETING.
What did I take away from the Commercial Appeal news report about the meeting? So 13,000 or more motorists use Riverside Drive daily. Where were the 13,000 motorists who drive this route daily? Why didn’t the 13,000 complaining motorists show up at the meeting? Again, if the issue is important to you, SHOW UP AND BE HEARD. I have much more respect for you if you SHOW UP.
The Riverside Drive appears to be a small issue since only 60+ people attended the meeting. Put into context, more than that many people showed up at each of the Madison Bike Lane meetings AND nearly double that many people showed up at the Snowden Elementary school meeting regarding bike lanes.
My opinion? Do runners and bicyclists need two lanes on Riverside? Probably not. And I am not the only guy who rides a bike agrees with that statement. Hey, I would like ONE lane. I would like a protected bike lane. I spoke to a bicyclist today who had the same opinion. But let me flip sides and ask this question. How many miles of streets do we have in Memphis and how many miles of those streets have bike lanes? Compare the numbers. Bicyclists do not want bike lanes on EVERY street in Memphis. (Course it would help.) But bicyclists have to FIGHT FOR EVERY SINGLE MILE of bike lane in this city. Really, we do. “Bike lanes are great, just not on my street.” Well which streets do we place bike lanes on? Every street is good, except YOUR street. A friend of mine who is a motorist loves bike lanes. “I know where I am supposed to be in the street, and so does the bicyclist.” I have been on bike rides downtown using Riverside Drive. This is a great street to ride down. But again, if we don’t need bike lanes, where were the 13,000 motorists last night?
The bike lane issue downtown is a non-issue for Memphis. The motorists don’t care, why should politicians.