We already know Memphis rocks. Now, Memphis is also going to roll! On Tuesday, Congressman Steve Cohen announced that the City of Memphishas received a federal grant worth $14,939,000 for the Main Streetto Main Street Multimodal Connector Project. (Officially, it’s called a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) IV Discretionary grant). The grant will cover half the cost of modifying the Harahan Bridge to create a 12-foot wide biking and pedestrian pathway that will connect downtown Memphis with downtown West Memphis and will cross over one of our country’s greatest natural features—the mighty Mississippi.
The modified Harahan Bridge will connect two cities, two counties, and two states; the Bridge (and the trails that connect to it) also will be a new reason to enjoy biking and walking in our city and should become a new attraction to our visitors. Just a few years ago, Memphis was voted one of the worst cities for biking in the country. But in the past couple of years, Memphis has made remarkable strides in becoming a more bike-friendly city, and this year—before the announcement of the grant to modify the Harahan Bridge—Memphis was recognized as one of the most improved cities for biking in the country. With the new bridge over the river and the trails connecting Memphis and West Memphis, Memphis is well on its way to becoming one of the top 10 cities for biking in the U.S., rivaling such well-known biking cities as Austin and Boulder. The Harahan Bridge and connecting pathways will make Memphis a more appealing city to visit, and a better place for biking. Cheers to our visionaries for putting dreams into actions!
Barbara Hyde, President of Hyde Family Foundations commented, “The Harahan Bridge Project is a game changer and will provide an unparalleled experience of national significance for citizens and tourists alike. This project establishes important regional connections and serves as a critical link in our community’s rapidly expanding network of trails, bike lanes, greenways and parks.” Through hard work and the commitment of the city and our residents, Memphis has improved dramatically its reputation as a bike-friendly place to live and to visit.
Congressman Cohen believes, “These new federal funds will help improve livability in downtown Memphis, will increase tourism, will drive economic development and create jobs, make our city more attractive to young people, and enable people to bike over the historic, scenic Mississippi River.” The Harahan Bridge Project is going to bring a lot of positive changes to our city. As Mrs. Hyde noted, the Project IS a game-changer for our city!
Just in the past couple of years, there have been many positive changes regarding biking in Memphis, including the Shelby Farms Greenline, the 6.5 miles rail-to-trail conversion at Shelby Farms, and the 38 miles of bike lanes currently in place throughout the City of Memphis. With funding for the Main Street to Main Street Multimodal Connector Project in place, many more improvements are about to be made. We are eager to get this project rolling!