Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Madison Ave. bike lane letter

Here's my letter to Mayor Wharton and Councilman Strickland. Sadly, protected bike lanes on Madison are in jeopardy because of a few vocal opponents. Please let your voice be heard if you'd like a safe way to bike in midtown and link up to Overton Park and the future Greenway that will be linking to the park. We need all the safety and connectivity we can get.

Dear Mayor Wharton and Councilman Strickland,

I'm distressed to hear that a few vocal opponents of bike lanes on Madison may ruin the project for the overwhelming number of both businesses and individuals who want it. I understand that we only have one chance to do this with federal funds, as we do routine repaving.

The Greenway has been a run-away hit, but it would be lovely to have protected, safe places to bicycle in the heart of the city as well. I dream of doing my grocery shopping by bicycle instead of car, but I don't feel safe in Memphis traffic. With a grocery coming to Overton Square (and building that parking garage with flood control is another piece of revitalizing a desperately needy Madison Ave.), I could live that dream. These bike lanes will also be a great connector with the Greenline and Overton Park once we get lanes on Cooper as well. Connectivity is the key to getting people safely around the city and improving both air and life quality in Memphis.

Simply putting up "Share the road" signs does nothing to protect cyclists. Please give us a few safe ways to get through the heart of the city. We're at a turning point for reinventing Memphis for pedestrians and cyclists and digging ourselves out of the bottom of every national quality-of-life and healthy living list. Please take this important step to keep moving in the right direction.

Bicycle lanes in no way are comparable to the disruption of the trolley (the main argument of opponents). There is not enough traffic on Madison to be halving numbers of cars simply because we're moving them over into one lane. In addition, as a car driver, I can tell you that adding the turn lane would be a huge plus for drivers.

Thank you both for moving us towards a more healthy city environment. Please continue to do so with bike lanes on Madison.

Sincerely, Martha Kelly

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