Riverside Drive

Riverside Drive img

In 2013, renowned urban planner Jeff Speck, presented a series of recommendations to the City of Memphis on what he felt were the most impactful ways of reshaping how Memphis residents engage with the waterfront along the Mississippi River. One of the recommendations of this plan noted that Riverside Drive “still functions much like a highway, moving four to five lanes of traffic speedily through downtown, creating a high-speed barrier that discourages pedestrian activity and river access.” To this point, Mr. Speck made a series of proposals that would help to reduce travel speeds of motor vehicles on Riverside Drive, increase the capacity for bicycle travel along the entire riverfront, and increase the safety and visibility of pedestrians attempting to cross Riverside Drive to gain access to the many parks and attractions along the Riverfront.

A link to Mr. Speck’s report can be found here.

In order to best assess the feasibility of an alternative roadway configuration along Riverside Drive, the City of Memphis has launched a temporary exhibition that will, for a short period of time, allow city officials to measure the direct impact of these changes to traffic patterns along Riverside Drive and parallel roadways as well as the safety and accessibility for persons traveling by foot or by bike. This approach is similar to methods used on other roadways in the city – Broad Avenue, Cleveland Street, Mississippi Boulevard – and is a new innovative way to receive public comment and input on projects. Rather than discussing scenarios and situations from a theoretical standpoint, this approach allows a temporary change to the street to become the point of discussion and leads to a more complete project once the final vision is executed. The test period for this project is scheduled to last 12-18 months.

Riverside Drive has been reconfigured between Carolina Avenue and Beale Street. The roadway has been changed from four travel lanes for motor vehicles to only two, with the additional space being dedicated to persons using bicycles or pedestrian means to travel along the corridor. The landscaped median present along this stretch of roadway now serves as a buffer separating the motor vehicles from bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

Instructions for navigating Riverside Drive by bicycle or on foot can be found here.

During the test period, city officials will be observing and measuring certain aspects of the roadway to determine the degree to which the change is positive or negative on downtown traffic and quality of life. Some of the items being measured include traffic volumes, traffic speeds, bicycle and pedestrian volumes, and crash data. These measurements will be shared as a series of public meetings over the course of the test period where residents and property owners will be encouraged to discuss their opinions on how the reconfiguration is impacting them. This input is critical to this process as it will help shape the final outcome and design of the roadway.

For more information contact City Traffic Engineering Office at 901-636-6710.

  Public Meetings

July 29, 2014 – Beale Street Landing
         251 Riverside Drive
         Memphis, TN 38103
         6:00pm – Gather, 
         6:30pm – Presentation

October 30, 2014 – MATA Central Station
         545 S. Main Street
         Memphis, TN 38103
         6:00pm – 7:30 pm

March 26, 2015 – MATA Central Station
          545 S. Main Street
          Memphis, TN 38103
          5:30 p.m. - Door Open to Review Displays
          6:00 p.m. - Meeting Presentation
          Design Preference Online Survey

Project Map
(click to enlarge)
Riverside Drive 2011 AERIAL 250 feet scale 30 x 60 Portrait

City of Memphis Traffic Engineering
125 North Main Street, Suite 668
Memphis, TN 38103
Tel: 901-636-6710
Email: Engineering@memphistn.gov


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