Transportation is an integral component of city's quality of life and bicycling, for commuting or recreation, is important to the mix of options. Once known as a one of the worst cities for cycling, Memphis is making progress and BLDG Memphis is committed to continue increasing the momentum. The City of Memphis is building a fast-growing network of bike lanes and facilities. While the Shelby Farms Greenline was—and remains—transformative for getting people on (or getting back on) their bikes, there remained a missing link between the city's east and west cycling hubs.
In 2010, we worked with partners in Binghampton and on Broad Ave. to start an initiative to fill in the gap with The Hampline, an innovative and safe protected bicycle path that mixes bicycles, art and community. The 1.7-mile Hampline connects Overton Park to the western end of the Shelby Farms Greenline, going through the heart of Binghampton and the Broad Avenue Arts District along Tillman Street and Broad Avenue, and connecting to Overton Park under the Bike Gate at East Parkway.
Full construction of the final portions of the Hampline will begin in 2017. In the meantime, portions of the Hampline, like the path east of East Parkway, and the middle section along Broad (using an interim design), are in place and demonstrate how the path will function when fully built.
Hampline Safety and Innovation
The Hampline route faces many challenges. It crosses a divided expressway, a live rail line, and several smaller intersections. We want the Hampline to feel safe for even the beginning cyclist taking to the streets for the first time. Our design team at ALTA Planning + Design came up with a great solution - a two-way bicycle track, separated from cars by a curb and median or bollards. The Hampline addresses pedestrian safety with enhanced crosswalks, especially important for school kids in an area known for high injuries and fatalities for pedestrian children. Also featured will be Memphis' first bicycle-specific traffic signal, which will allow people walking and bicycling to proceed across Sam Cooper Blvd in a prioritized phase.
Economic and Community Development
The Hampline is about more than bikes—it’s about neighborhood revitalization. For comparison, BLDG Memphis' A New Face for an Old Broad was a temporary exhibit of what the Arts District along the Hampline could be if built with bikes and business in mind. That event sparked a re-envisioning of the area and has since inspired over $25 million in economic development. Bikes, it seems, are good for business.
Also, in keeping with the character of the neighborhood, the Hampline has inspired lots of public art. New sculptures and murals continue popping up, and two artistic bus shelters were installed in fall 2015.
In addition to generous grants and contributions from foundations, organizations and individuals, the Hampline is being made possible through individual donors, crowd-funded by the public using ioby. Hundreds of regular people dug into their pockets donating $5, $25, $100 to ensure that the Hampline will be built.
The project has been a partnership with member organizations Binghampton Development Corporation and Broad Avenue Arts Alliance, with support from the City of Memphis and the Shelby County Office of Sustainability, Bikes Belong, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation Green Lane Project, Alliance for Biking and Walking, Hyde Family Foundations and hundreds in committed individuals. Project consultants include LRK, Inc. and ALTA Planning + Design.