Memphis Ranks Low on Quality of Park System

The Commercial Appeal reported that Memphis ranks 53rd among the nation’s 60 largest cities for the quality of park systems. 

This doesn't have to be the case. 
You are invited to a community-wide discussion 
The Parks of Memphis: 
Planning for the Future 

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. 
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 
Benjamin Hooks Central Library (3030 Poplar Ave., on Bus Route # 34 & 50) 

Cities around the country are trying to figure out how to best manage and operate park systems, many of which include waterfronts. This will be the 3rd community discussion hosted by The Trust for Public Land, City of Memphis Division of Parks and Neighborhoods, and Hyde Family Foundation.

Riverside Drive on "test" Road Diet

The year-long experiment - to see how well Riverside Drive functions as a 2-lane road and how the addition of a bike and pedestrian path benefits the riverfront and downtown - is underway. 

From Beale Street south to Carolina, the 2 lanes closest to the River will be closed to cars and open as paths for pedestrians and bikers. The lanes to the east, closest to the Bluff, will be for car traffic. Reworked cuts and crosswalks will permit access to Tom Lee Park and its parking lots. 

Reducing the number of lanes on a road is a national trend to see if cutting lanes slows-down traffic and makes an area more walkable, bike able, and people-friendly. The cost is minimal, and the change is being monitored to make sure there are no unexpected, ill side effects. 

Riverside Drive's "road diet" was a recommendation from urban-consultant Jeff Speck to the City, but this "test" run differs from Speck's suggestions in a couple of ways, such as not including on-street parking and not keeping a center boulevard-style median. Here are Speck's recommendations for this southern section of Riverside Drive :
  • Reduce Riverside to 2 lanes of car traffic, 1 on each side of the median.
  • Replace what is now the most eastern car lane (nearest the Bluff) with cheap or free parallel parking to eliminate the need for parking lots in Tom Lee Park.
  • Replace the current most western car lane with a 2-way bike lane
  • Plant the median with shade trees to form a tree canopy.

For Jeff Speck's full riverfront report, click HERE

For more info. and to see the results of "road diets" in other cities, click "Road Diets - Loosing Width and Gaining Respect." 

For coverage in the Daily News, click HERE.

"Seldom Seen View of the Father of Waters"

The only thing constant about the River is that it is constantly changing - the water, the light, the perspective, the shoreline. Congratulations  to FfOR board member Jeanne Arthur, who captured this unusual, organic view.  The photo, "Seldom Seen View of the Father of Waters," won the 1st prize in photography at Dixon Gallery and Gardens in the 2014 Memphis Garden Show.

@ the Brewery Sunday afternoon with the Symphony

Up on the Riverbluff, Sunday afternoon, Memorial Day weekend, free, in a fabulous historic building, food trucks, local beer for sale, & Friends for Our Riverfront is bringing some musicians from the Symphony!
Illustration courtesy of Martha Kelly
Please join us @ TN Brewery Untapped 
Sunday, May 25, 2014 
1:30 - 3 pm
495 TN Street 


Beale Street Landing - FOR RENT

WMC TV reports a change at Beale Street Landing. It now joins River Terrace and Harbor Landing as the 3rd troubled riverfront restaurant to become a private banquet and party facility.

All three riverfront restaurants were built primarily with City money, are owned by the City, and are operated by the Riverfront Development Corporation.  Any income from the three goes to the RDC, not back to the City.

In addition, the City pays the RDC a management fee - for next year the Administration proposes to pay them $3M, which the City Council Budget Subcommittee voted to approve.

'Unexpected high demand' for RDC restaurant space - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

WREG looks @ Beale Street Landing Problems

"The world's most expensive souvenir shop," that's what WREG reports citizens are calling Beale Street Landing. The cost so far - $43M and most of that is taxpayer money, including the funding listed as grants.  The RDC says there was never an estimate for the whole project, and no one ever gave them an overall budget. Click HERE

Now with an opening date of some time late in June, "informed sources" are hoping but skeptical that Beale Street Landing can make it. The consensus: "it wasn't thought out very well.: Click HERE.