Great Streets Are Coming

As the sun sets over Peabody Place on June 9, a new dawn awaits — Great Streets are on the way.

Starting today, implementation work for the Great Streets Pilot Project commences. Take a good look at Peabody Place in the photo above. The street may not be recognizable when we’re finished.

At the beginning of last month, the City and the UrbanArt Commission unveiled plans for this project, one that will create a new, mostly protected east-west bike route through Downtown that connects the riverfront with Midtown and points farther east, as well as a new pedestrian “promenade” along Peabody Place with areas for interactive public art elements, eating and drinking, lounging, and other activities.

The first phase of the work will be paving undertaken by Public Works. From there, a hired contractor will stripe the project corridor with the new configuration of travel lanes, parking lanes, protected bike lanes, and pedestrian plazas. As these crews and contractors complete the basic infrastructure block-by-block, volunteers and artists coordinated by the UrbanArt Commission will swoop in to place finishing touches: an on-street mural, assembly of outdoor seating areas, landscaping, and other amenities. The volunteer efforts will climax on the morning of Saturday, June 24, for a Volunteer Build Day.

A group of dedicated employees from the City of Memphis and the UrbanArt Commission has been diligently working on this project for the last several weeks to ensure that the stated deadline is met. Of course, much of the project’s momentum has been made possible due to the generous support of its private sponsors:

  • AutoZone
  • Baker Donelson
  • Dero
  • Doug Carpenter + Associates
  • Downtown Memphis Commission
  • EPIcenter
  • FedEx
  • First Tennessee Foundation
  • The Hyde Family Foundations
  • IKEA
  • Looney Ricks Kiss
  • Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Silly Goose Lounge
  • Sybertech Waste Reduction

Thank you to each of these organizations for helping to make this project possible!

BikePedMemphis will provide regular updates on the project’s progress across all of it’s channels: the blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Follow along!

Call for Volunteers

We are in need of volunteers to assist with applying the project’s final touches. Ever wanted to paint a street? Enjoy putting together IKEA outdoor furniture? Want to do you part to clean Memphis with some litter pick-up? We are looking to fill morning and afternoon volunteer shifts from Monday, June 19 to Friday, June 23.

On the morning of Saturday, June 24, we’ll hold a massive Volunteer Build Day, and need as many volunteers as possible to assist. Hours will be from 8:00 Am to 1:30 Pm, but we’d be grateful for any number of hours donated to the effort.

To register as a volunteer for any of these days, please email Emily Rooker ( with the UrbanArt Commission and provide your hours of availability.

Call for Party-Goers

Once the work is done — and hopefully after you’ve personally contributed to some of that work — join us as we celebrate the Great Streets Pilot Project and the potential for all of our streets to be great! And how better to celebrate a street project than with a street party?

Street Party for Great Streets — Sponsored by the Downtown Memphis Commission
Tuesday, June 27 from 6:00 Pm to 9:00 Pm
Main Street Pedestrian Mall from Peabody Place to Gayoso Avenue

Join the Downtown Memphis Commission, the City of Memphis, and the UrbanArt Commission as we celebrate this project and our streets for what they are — our greatest public space asset. We’ll have live music, refreshing treats, games, sidewalk sales from adjacent restaurants and bars, and remarks from project sponsors.

Oh, and did we mention that on this same day and week we’ll be hosting hundreds of pedestrian and bicycle experts from around the world for the biennial conference of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals? Let’s show them a good time!

No more hugging the curb: Memphians like the man pictured above will soon be able to ride along Peabody Place with the safety and comfort provided by protected bike lanes.