UPDATED: Cooper bike lane plans released
The repaving and bike lane striping of Cooper Street should begin this summer and plans call for the project to wrap up by Aug. 15 — a full month before the annual Cooper-Young Festival.
Kyle Wagenschutz, City of Memphis bike/pedestrian coordinator, said the restriping is scheduled for this paving season, which runs April through October. Seven streets are included in this group with three of the projects already completed.
Wagenschutz said he is fairly confident the repaving of Cooper Street could start in late June or early July.
According to the City, the Cooper corridor project, which will extend from Southern to Central, should take seven to 10 days for milling of the asphalt and repaving, weather permitting. After that, it will take another couple of weeks to complete striping and signs. During that period, the street will remain useable.
Wagenschutz said the City of Memphis has kept the Cooper-Young Festival in mind as it moved through scheduling. In fact, the project was delayed last year in consideration of the festival.
“We put it off last year to avoid having it coincide with the Cooper-Young Festival,” Wagenschutz said. “We pushed it off with the contractor. I think we are being good stewards with this.”
City officials, cycling advocates and the Cooper-Young Business Association agreed in 2010 on a plan to install bike lanes along Cooper as well as on reducing the number of lanes to one per direction plus a turn lane.
“Bike lanes are a good thing, but parking around here is rough already,” said Young Avenue Deli’s manager Phillip Stroud. “The parking situation needs to be fixed before anything else is added.”
His restaurant is in the area that will lose parking spaces, along with Mulan, Cafe Ole, Do Noodle and the Beauty Shop.
But he thinks cyclists needed to be treated with respect, too. “We need a happy medium,” he said.
Ashly Snyder from Cooper-Young Glassworks worries that with reducing the driving lanes to two per direction, less people will come through Cooper-Young and stop by his store. “But it’s good to have a safe cycling option to get through the city on bike.”
MicroMemphis, a multimedia news site that covers issues in Cooper-Young, is a project of the University of Memphis Department of Journalism. It can be found online at cooperyoung.weebly.org and on Facebook and Twitter. Lurene Kelley, Miriam Hegner and Idil Issak contributed to this report.