Public Input Period Open for Slew of New Bike Lanes, Road Diets

Proposed cross section for Cherry Rd. (Willow to Park) now out for public comment.

The Division of Engineering has finalized the list of street segments included the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Improvement Program Re-Surfacing projects. Many of these are proposed to receive bike lanes or undergo a road diet. The public input period for those is now open, and we need to hear residents input on the proposals. Read on to review the full list, and learn how to share your opinions.

Fiscal Year What?

Let’s first break down the meaning of “Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Improvement Program.” The City budgets funding and projects in a fiscal year from July 1 to June 30. Fiscal Year 2022 (a.k.a. FY22) will take place from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022. Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, refers to the budget that City Council passes every year to fund big ticket and typically one-time expenses, such as street projects or building a new library. The CIP budget is distinct from the operating budget, which covers day-to-day expenses.

Street re-paving projects, or re-surfacing as we call it, can take place within the CIP budget and Operating budget. Re-paving projects covered by the latter tend to be small, neighborhood streets, while re-pavings covered by CIP funds are generally multi-lane roadways.

So, what are the takeaways? One, the FY22 CIP Re-Surfacing projects will tentatively take place between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. And two, the streets listed below do not represent an exhaustive list of all streets in Memphis to be re-paved in that time period, as many more neighborhood streets will also be re-paved under the Operating budget. A map for scheduled re-paving projects can be found here.

Some Streets Would Change Less than Others

When streets are due for re-surfacing, City Engineering assesses various criteria, including traffic volume, to determine an appropriate configuration to enhance safety conditions for multiple types of road users and with an emphasis on vulnerable ones (i.e. people on foot). Sometimes due to various constraints, a re-configuration of the street is not possible through a simple re-surfacing project. Other times, we can still achieve improvements that enhance safety without having to remove a travel lane, for example, by just narrowing wide lanes and adding bike lanes. In instances where we are not proposing any change in the number of travel lanes or on-street parking, the proposed configurations go straight to design.

If a proposed configuration would alter the number of travel lanes or on-street parking, however, we conduct public outreach prior to commencing the design work. Input from the outreach shapes the ultimate proposal that proceeds to design.

The FY22 CIP Re-Surfacing List

The following street segments constitute the FY22 CIP re-surfacing list. The proposed changes to the configuration, if any, are stated in parenthesis. Proposals with a alteration from the existing number of travel lanes or in on-street parking are listed as a hyperlink. Follow the link to take a survey about the proposal, view the proposed changes, and learn about “Virtual Office Hours” to discuss the proposal. If the street segment is not listed as a hyperlink, the number of travel lanes and the on-street parking will remain unaltered.

All surveys will close at 11:59 Pm on Oct. 18th.

Better Jefferson Plans Unveiled – Input Needed

We hope you have been following along with the long-time interest in making Jefferson Avenue a better street for all users! Last week we held the first public meeting – conducted virtually via Zoom – on the project, and released the proposed improvements and draft designs for public review. To view all meeting materials, learn how to best provide input, and generally discover more about Better Jefferson, visit the project’s web page: Better Jefferson. To find out more about last week’s meeting and the initial input, continue reading here.

The Better Jefferson Project targets 1.6 miles of Jefferson Avenue from Front St. to Cleveland St.

The Virtual Public Meeting was held on September 17, 2020 to review and gather input on proposed improvements to Jefferson Avenue from Front Street to Cleveland Street – a nearly two-mile corridor. The proposed improvements are aimed at enhancing the safety and experience along the street to create a “Better Jefferson” for all users. Nearly 60 people came together for the virtual public meeting, which included a formal presentation of the proposed project, live online polling, a brief tutorial on the Social Pinpoint mapping tool, and a question and answer period.

Background

Participants were presented with the project’s origin in the revitalization efforts around Victorian Village, the support the concept received within the broader Mid-South Regional Greenprint Plan, and how these efforts laid the foundation for the City to apply for and be awarded Federal funding to fully plan, design, and implement Better Jefferson.

Slide of Project Background presented at the Virtual Public Meeting on September 17

Through live polling questions, we got a sense of how, why, and when people use Jefferson Ave. as well as what they think of the primary east-west corridor. Of the individuals polled, over half use the travel corridor daily or multiple times per week. Much of the current use is for through travel or to visit businesses along the corridor by car, bicycle, and wheelchair.

Prompted by asking for one- to three-word descriptions, attendees shared their impressions of Jefferson Avenue today. Some individuals find the central corridor to be nondescript or unattractive with “nothing to do;” many suggested they find it to be too wide, bumpy, and generally uncomfortable to travel. These descriptors of Jefferson Avenue were not aligned with what came to mind for attendees in their description of a “pleasant street.”

Slide of live poll responses from the Virtual Public Meeting on September 17

Existing Conditions and Design

These perceptions were verified in presenting the existing conditions users experience traveling along Jefferson Avenue. Showing sets of drone and street-level photos, participants were reminded of the wide expanse of the road, the inaccessibility of easy travel, and other potential conflicts of movement between different modes that present safety concerns. The existing conditions included data comparisons for automobile-related daily trips, travel speeds, and parking availability and use.

With the intent of creating a safer travel corridor for all users – a Better Jefferson – the presentation shifted gears toward understanding preferences on design elements and use of space. Additional live polls allowed participants to rank design amenities such as lighting, landscaping, and other flourishes that may be included within a limited project budget. Meeting attendees were also asked to select specific design elements that would ensure comfort and safety of travel along an improved corridor.

Slide of live poll responses from the Virtual Public Meeting on September 17

One proposed solution to enhance the safety of travel along Jefferson Avenue is to introduce protected intersections – a design that improves conditions for all users by providing refuge islands, clearly delineated crossing positions, and coordinated signal timing. Other proposed safety enhancements include protected crosswalks, traffic signal modernizations, and ADA upgrades in areas of non-compliance.

Public Comment is Open

If you were unable to join us in the virtual meeting space for the live presentation, polling, and Q&A period, not to worry! The full meeting was recorded, and you still have the opportunity to provide comments on the project and proposed design solutions without missing a step!

We have made our best effort to recreate the virtual meeting experience for you to get to know Better Jefferson and provide your feedback through October 9, 2020. Your engagement with this phase of the project will involve three (3) primary components: 1.) the video recording, 2.) the online survey, and 3.) the interactive webmap.

We recommend that you watch the meeting recording! During the meeting’s live polling sessions, you will be able to follow along with the survey questions on SurveyMonkey. Finally, the meeting recording provides a brief tutorial on the social pinpoint interactive web map. All the links you need to engage with these primary components of the Better Jefferson Public Meeting are shared below.

1.) MEETING RECORDING – Access Passcode: %em3iij?

2.) SURVEY

3.) INTERACTIVE MAP

You may also reference bit.ly/BetterJefferson to easily return to the project page and register your input on the project. Public input will be open through October 9, 2020.