Memphis Turns to Crowdsourcing for Final Chunk of Bikeway Funds

A rendering of the Hampline bikeway planned for Memphis, Tennessee. Image: People for Bikes

One of the most exciting American cities for livable streets right now is Memphis, Tennessee, whose progressive mayor, A.C. Wharton, has championed the expansion of the bike network and helped the city secure the sought-after guidance of national bike infrastructure experts with the Green Lane Project.

The current condition. Photo: People for Bikes

Now Memphis has one of the nation’s most ambitious bikeway projects to show for it. Michael Andersen at People for Bikes reports the city is planning a high-quality, two-mile, two-way protected bike lane. And, in an interesting twist, supporters hope to wrap up the project’s funding with a crowdsourced campaign:

It wasn’t enough that Memphis’s Hampline, a combined on- and off-street bikeway through a redeveloping arts district in the country’s poorest major metro area, was pushed by a unique cast of private foundations and for-profit retailers and visualized with a spectacular one-weekend live demonstration.

As the $4.5 million project heads into the final stage of its fundraising, it’s also become what seems to be the first American bike transportation project that’ll be paid for in part by crowdfunding. The Hampline’s supporters launched a Kickstarter-style digital fundraiser Monday for the last $77,000 of the project’s cost.

They’re billing it as “the most innovative bicycle infrastructure project to be built within the United States,” and not without reason. Even if you don’t count the extraordinary three-year saga that envisioned and advanced this concept, the two-way protected bike lanes will include planted medians, two full sets of dedicated bike signals (Broad Avenue is also two-way) and some of the most creative uses of green paint in the country.

Memphis bike lane backers have already raised more than $10,000 toward their $77,000 goal.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Political Environment laments that people who steal cable in Wisconsin now face stiffer legal penalties than those who endanger others’ lives by driving drunk. The FABB blog reports that Amtrak is testing “roll-on” bicycle service between Pittsburgh and Washington. And Cyclelicious notes that Davis, California, has decided to lessen traffic fines issued to cyclists compared to fines imposed on motorists.