Update on the Peabody Place public promenade and more Thursday news


The pedestrian promenade on Peabody Place is days away from completion. Peabody Place between Main and Second has been re-striped. On the north side of the street is the future pedestrian promenade, then bike lanes, one lane each way for vehicle traffic, and metered parking on the south side of the street. Bikers are protected by collisions with cars by a row of planters. People on the promenade are protected from cars by two rows of planters.

Furthermore, the Silly Goose has signed on as a corporate sponsor of the project, and will be able to serve people sitting on the promenade in the area enclosed by the planters. (The photos above were taken from the Silly Goose patio). Daniel, owner of the Goose, commented that he would like to have cornhole out there too.

I’ve seen a mixed bag of comments about the project on Facebook, but I’ll put my two cents in: I love it. If I were visiting Memphis from out of town, this kind of thing would make me want to move here. It encourages interaction with others, and shows that Memphis is a city capable of thinking outside the box. If I were a bike rider, I would appreciate the city giving me my own lane protected from cars by the planters.

Let’s address a few criticisms I have seen:

“But Paul, you’re a liberal who will get behind any bike/pedestrian project that makes it harder for people to drive their cars.” No. Not true. Remember when they reduced Riverside to two lanes a couple of years ago, giving the other two lanes to bikes and pedestrians? I thought that was a horrendously stupid idea, and spoke against it multiple times here. This project on Peabody Place makes sense. Peabody Place was never a major thoroughfare, a connector between two interstate highways.

“It will slow traffic on Peabody Place.” Peabody Place was one lane each direction before the change. It still is. The turning lane has been eliminated, and it’s true that could slow traffic as people turn left into the garage on the northwest corner of Second and Peabody, so to some extent this is a valid concern. Those who planned the project need to monitor traffic flow. People need to be educated to use Beale and MLK as alternates if they don’t plan on parking in the Peabody Place garages.

“Memphis drivers are idiots. They will never understand what to do on the street. They’ll crash into the pedestrians on the promenade.” The promenade will be protected by two lanes of planters. Again, though, the planners of the project need to monitor driver behavior, and if it becomes clear that many drivers do not understand the street, make adjustments. I know for a fact that MPD already pays close attention for people driving drunk on that particular street. As for the statement that Memphis drivers are idiots, no argument there. I hope there’s a budget for planter repair in this project.

“It takes away parking spaces.” True, on the north side of the street by the Silly Goose, it does. However, there is a 5-story garage next door. Oftentimes the spaces by the Goose were used by service industry people wanting to avoid paying for parking while they worked. But with metered hours expanded to 8 AM-10 PM Monday-Saturday, they wouldn’t have avoided paying anyway.

Overall I think there is a net positive gain for the city in this project. I encourage my readers to give it a chance. And now, let’s get on to the news…

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a tropical storm named Cindy (now downgraded to a tropical depression) that has us dead in its sights. Rain tonight and they’re expecting 2 to 4 inches by around noon tomorrow. Plan your morning drive carefully and allow extra time. Remember there are spots on the interstate where water pools.

Reacting to federal cuts to Meals on Wheels, a generous MIFA donor has offered to match, 2 for 1, any donation made through June 30, up to a total of $10,000. Triple the bang for your buck represents a tremendous opportunity to help a senior suffering from isolation and food insecurity. For example, your donation of $76 would become $228 with the match, providing more than a month of meals for someone in need. Make your donation here.

Makeda’s Cookies on South Second has added milkshakes for the summer.

Verge Memphis, a documentary made in Memphis, will be shown at Clayborn Temple tonight as part of its 15 Film Series. Tonight’s film looks at the journey of seven indie Memphis artists against the backdrop of the city of rock and soul. It kicks off at 6 PM with a block party. Every film in this series is free to the public and includes discussion by an expert curator.

1960 movie Psycho plays on the big screen at the Orpheum tonight. Doors open at 6, movie at 7.

If you have an Amazon account but haven’t used it in a while, may want to log in and check it. You may have credits from a class-action lawsuit, credits that expire Saturday.

Jamie Wyatt plays the Blind Bear Saturday 7 to 10. That is an unusual slot for them to book live music (it usually starts at 10) so I suspect this is a special performance in some way. When I see Jeannette tonight I will see if she has more details.

Tonight is NBA Draft Day. It kicks off on ESPN at 6. The Grizzlies don’t have a pick in this year’s draft due to previous trades. It’ll still be interesting to see where the top names in this year’s draft end up, and if Lavar Ball does anything outrageous when his son Lonzo gets drafted.

That’s it for now. Keep reading if you haven’t seen the news update I did this morning.