Last night Livable Memphis had a couple special guests to its regular Walk Bike Memphis meeting at Otherlands Coffee Shop held on the first Monday each month. Mayor AC Wharton introduced his newly appointed Bike/Ped Coordinator to the overflowing crowd in the back room of the coffee shop just north of Cooper-Young. The new joint city/MPO employee, Kyle Wagenschutz, is a familiar face to us in Cooper Young, as he has been director of Revolutions Community Bicycle Shop, located at First Congo here in the neighborhood.
Sarah Newstock, director of Livable Memphis and organizer of the event, presented Mayor Wharton and Mr. Wagenschutz with a letter (PDF) celebrating recent achievements and progress, such as the commitment to 55 miles of bike lanes in the next 2 years and the Greater Memphis Greenline:
Livable Memphis would like to thank you for being a champion for active transit in Memphis. Increasing opportunities for walking and biking for exercise, recreation and transit is proven to reduce the negative health indicators associated with sedentary lifestyles. At the same time, it will increase our sustainability as a city, reduce transit expenses for our residents, and offer safe and healthy access to our many great neighborhoods.
Mayor Wharton reinforced his commitment to policy that will continue this progress, of particular interest to those of us in Cooper Young:
- Bike lanes WILL connect Cooper-Young to Overton Park via Cooper St, and to University of Memphis area via Southern!
- A program to educate people on bicycle rights and safe operating guidelines will be developed and given high priority
- More bike racks will be built to provide safe storage, Cooper-Young was used as an example of an area with plentiful storage space
- A website will launch to provide information and allow for dialog with the city about bike and pedestrian issues
This meeting was a great gesture to the many interested parties that the current administration values investment in the core city to make Memphis a city of choice!