Explore Bike Share launching next Spring

Explore Bike Share, a local 501(c)3 with a mission to develop and implement a robust and inclusive bike share system in Memphis, is proud to announce its contract agreement with B-Cycle to bring a 600-bike system to Memphis by Spring 2018.


The B-Cycle Dash system, which represents the cutting edge of new bike share technology and accessibility, will enter Memphis as the largest bike share system of its kind in the nation. Among other features, Dash bikes include a forward-facing, turn-by-turn touchscreen GPS for seamless route recommendations and easy-to-follow directions.

“We couldn’t be more excited to officially partner with Memphis to offer a truly revolutionary type of bike share system,” said Bob Burns, President of B-Cycle, which currently operates 1250 bike share stations and over 10,000 bikes in 43 communities. “Explore Bike Share’s mission is empowering to our work, and we’re proud to share the latest technology and largest, most robust type of system to date—the B-Cycle Dash Smart Bike—with the Memphis community.”


FOR MEMPHIANS, BY MEMPHIANS                    

In line with its mission to enter equitably and resourcefully for all Memphians and tourists—whether for transportation, health or cultural leisure—Explore Bike Share has proposed a full-scale service area to reach high-density areas of Downtown and Midtown, as well as South Memphis, Orange Mound and Binghampton.

“From its inception, Explore Bike Share has vowed to prioritize neighborhood needs, utilizing the system to serve all of Memphis—not just where the city sees density on a map,” said Roshun Austin, Explore Bike Share board member and President/CEO of The Works, Inc.. “We are proud to pursue and execute equity-oriented strategies such as bike safety education, ambassador programs, and workforce development partnerships.” 

Explore Bike Share was formally established in early 2016 with an initial board of directors after a year-long exploration effort by DCA, a creative communications consulting firm. Explore Bike Share’s official launch will illustrate a powerful unity of community partners, private donors, City of Memphis support, and founding members from Memphis’ 20+ zip codes established over the last two years. 

“Explore Bike Share is an exemplary model of public-private partnership,” said Mayor Jim Strickland, Mayor of the City of Memphis. “I am 100% behind the vision of Explore Bike Share and its mission to provide an affordable, accessible, equitable option for our citizens to experience and enjoy Memphis’ public spaces. Bike share will not only expand transportation options and health benefits for our residents, but it will also expand connections and perspectives between our neighborhoods.” 

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In addition, Explore Bike Share has been awarded $2.2 million Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) grant by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for system expansion.  This includes $1.8 million in federal funds, along with a local match of $455.000. The CMAQ grant will enable a 2019 expansion of an additional 30 stations and 300 bicycles to Explore Bike Share’s initial footprint.

“One of Memphis’ big opportunities for innovation is transportation,” continued Carlson. “Increased accessibility to transit, pedestrian and bike infrastructure is a critical part of Memphis’ economic growth and overall success, and bike share is an integral piece of that. Being awarded this financial opportunity is a clear sign of Memphis’ move forward.” 


Upon submitting a purchase order with B-Cycle, Explore Bike Share will pursue a comprehensive implementation plan to build a fully-staffed nonprofit operation, lead site selection and community engagement efforts, further pursue sponsorships, and close the current capital funding gap of less than $1 million. City Engineering will continue to coordinate with Explore Bike Share on the site selection and roll out of the system.

“Unlike any other bike share system, the community is truly coming together to make this a reality,” said Suzanne Carlson, Explore Bike Share Vice Chair and Innovate Memphis’ Transportation and Mobility Project Manager. “We encourage all sectors to step up to support Explore Bike Share’s sustainable and robust launch.” 

Explore Bike Share’s initial 2015 community input session locations, from the South Memphis Farmers Market to BRIDGES and the National Civil Rights Museum, will be revisited this summer for open neighborhood bike share Q&A sessions and future site selection planning. Event details will be shared in the coming weeks. 

To receive updates and milestone announcements, subscribe at explorebikeshare.com.

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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 (erooker@urbanartcommission.org) 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.