Yes to Dedicated Bike Lanes for Madison Avenue

The City of Memphis will repave Madison Avenue between Cooper and Cleveland in the near future. The street will be restriped. Mayor Wharton's engineering department has recommended restriping this stretch of Madison into a three lane configuration (one lane in each direction and a bi-directional turn lane) with dedicated bike lanes and on-street parking. Most of this section is currently striped in a four lane configuration (two lanes in each direction with no turn lane).

One of the business owners on Madison has waged a very effective campaign to oppose the "3- lane option." This campaign has included personal visits with virtually all the businesses along this stretch, as well as other businesses not located on Madison. Flyers have been distributed to the business owners comparing the 3- lane option to the Madison Avenue trolley construction, and asserting that dedicated bike lanes will jeopardize their businesses and the jobs that they create.

We are residents of midtown Memphis who support the 3- lane option. The businesses that oppose dedicated bike lanes need to hear from us - after all, we are their customers. We want to counter the scare tactics with facts - specifically that we believe the 3- lane option will significantly help the neighborhood, improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, make Madison a destination, and be beneficial to the businesses on Madison.

Mayor Wharton will be making a decision soon about the future of Madison Avenue. We believe that he wants to approve the 3-lane option, but he's been presented with a list of 60 businesses that oppose it. The mayor's decision making process will be influenced by his perception of the support, or lack thereof, from the business community. Without action on our part, he may reject the 3‑lane option in favor of the status quo.

Our intent is to change some minds in the midtown business community, and to let the mayor know that a significant number of his constituents believe that Madison can be the Main Street of Midtown.

Please consider signing this petition. If we get enough signatures, we will hand deliver the petition to each business owner on Madison between Cooper and Cleveland. We will also deliver a copy of the petition to Mayor Wharton.

For the facts about dedicated bike lanes on Madison, visit

Note: this is an online petition. Your name and zip code will be included in the final petition given to the business owners and Mayor Wharton, but your address and email will not appear on the hard copy of the petition. In the online petition, you have the option to have your name appear for all to see, or to keep it anonymous. You can also make comments online - please keep them respectful.

We, the undersigned residents of Memphis, support the proposed dedicated bike lanes on Madison Avenue, between Cooper and Cleveland (the "3-lane option"). We value and patronize the independent business owners along Madison, and we want to make sure that all the facts have been adequately communicated.  We would like to reiterate some of the quantifiable benefits of the proposed 3-lane option, as described by LRK in recent public meetings:

  • With the 3-lane option, the amount of on-street parking on this stretch of Madison would increase from the current 204 parking spaces to 344 spaces. That's 140 new parking spaces for your customers.
  • Before the trolley construction started in 2001, traffic on Madison was below 15,000 vehicles per day. Traffic on Madison has averaged around 12,500 vehicles per day since completion of the Trolley construction in 2004, with little or no growth since then. Traffic engineers state that the 3-lane option will accommodate 17,000 vehicles per day. Even under the most aggressive traffic growth projections (2% per year), the 3-lane option would accommodate traffic through at least the year 2026. A three lane Madison Avenue can easily handle the traffic load for at least the next 15 years.
  • Average speed on this stretch of Madison was recently measured at 41mph by traffic engineers; the speed limit is 35mph. Case studies of 13 different four-lane to three-lane conversions, prepared by Keith Knapp and Jennifer Rosales and presented at the 2007 Urban Street Symposium, document a reduction in the average speed of approximately 5mph after conversion. The residents, businesses, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists using Madison will benefit from a reduction in the average speed. Cars travelling at the speed limit is good for your business and good for your customers.
  • Madison Avenue is being repaved, and the question is whether to stripe two lanes in each direction with no turn lane, or to stripe one lane in each direction with a turn lane in the middle and bike lanes next to the parked cars. There is no additional taxpayer cost for the 3-lane option.

 Our spending supports the Madison Avenue businesses, and the health of those businesses is important to us. Madison Avenue can become the Main Street of Midtown if we all work to make it more friendly to bicyclists, pedestrians and automobiles. We believe that the 3-lane option is good for business and good for the neighborhood, and we hereby sign our names in support of dedicated bike lanes along Madison Avenue.

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