Monday, May 07, 2007

5 Ideas for the RDC that won't piss off or prompt lawsuits.

Maybe.

Expanding my point that the Riverfront Development Corporation succeeds best with projects that are details and enhancements, here are 5 they should start work on tomorrow.

    Keep going 'til you hit wrought iron
  1. extend the Bluff Walk under the old bridges to the National Ornamental Metal Museum.

  2. extend the Bluff Walk over the Mississippi on the old Harahan Bridge.the old roadway of the Harahan Bridge
    Before the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge was finished in 1949, automobiles had to cross the River at Memphis on the cantilevered sides of the Harahan Bridge. (for further details, check out Steve Cox's cool Harahan site, including this description of the roadway). The Harahan, which was built as a railroad bridge, and returned exclusively to that after 1949, still has the cantilevered supports, minus the planks that cars drove on. The planks could be added and Bluff Walk could be extended on these supports to Arkansas.

  3. 3. at various points along the riverfront, use the large rocks that line Tom Lee and Greenbelt Park (on Mud Island) to create steps down to the water. A prototype from the Civilian Conservation Corps.
    rocks along the banks of the Mississippi RiverI believe the rocks there for erosion protection, but they're a major obstacle to the River. As steps they will protect and invite.

  4. envision and make the outside of the U.S. Customs House (soon to be the University of Memphis Law School) a public space. It's wide, it's a terminus, it's visually interesting and its market is expanding. This could one of downtown's unique places if its purposes extends beyond entry, exit and passing by.

    U.S Customs House, downtown Memphis
    A outdoor cafe comes easily to mind. Cafe Zero.

    0 mile marker outside the U.S Customs House, downtown MemphisSpecial bonus points if they integrate the fountain area of the Cossitt Library. That area's a neat space, but has never had a use and therefore never had people.

  5. re-envision the Mud Island Auction Street Bridge as an invitation to pedestrians and motorists. It's a problem of details. Like other recently (re)built Memphis bridges, it looks like a freeway overpass from 1965.

    Auction Street Bridge:  Gateway to Banality!When I see something like that, I think, a) I probably can't walk over it; b) there's nothing interesting on the other side.
    The re-envisioning could be as simple as replacing the street lights and railings with designs that announce "Memphis!".

I want to add some stuff about the foot of Beale, the possible-future site of Beale Street Landing, but will post on that later.

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7 Comments:

Blogger Gregg said...

Great ideas. Easy to accomplish. Bring people to different parts of Downtown. Not too difficult to accomplish, except we are prone to find ways to make it difficult.

I've cycled across the old bridge to Arkansas on the walkway separated by a concrete wall from the very narrow 2 lanes of traffic...scary, but doable. Building out the old car bridge under Hanrahan would be really incredible, but I expect signficant rail opposition. There will also be "Homeland Security" issues that would come up.

Chattanooga's ped walkway over the Tennessee River is pretty fantastic. The main difference is there are people on both sides who want to go to the other. The only attraction to the Arkansas side is farmland, Dacus Lake (with its characters), a cool place to look at the skyline and take some pictures. A legitimate park would be nice too. See some pictures here, here and here.

Auction Street Bridge is a great workout on the bike (and even walking) but it is intimidating to someone who's not really excited about breaking a sweat. The payoff is fantastic though. The greenbelt park is a great place in Memphis.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Stacey Greenberg said...

excellent ideas. all of them. tell me, who are you? :)

stacey at fertilegroundzine dot com

1:07 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

As I spent a lot of time outdoors downtown this weekend, I had a lot of the same ideas as you. On Saturday I picked up some barbeque sandwiches from Payne's and took them to the park by the metal museum, and I was thinking the same thing about the bridge. It would be a huge attraction if they turned the Harahan into a pedestrian bridge. Later that day I was at Music Fest and was wishing I could walk down to the river. The festival people pretty much ignore the river. It is lined with port-a-pottys and trailers. The new river landing should make things much better. Maybe you could dock your boat at the festival. Today I went to jog on Mud Island, and I was thinking the same thing about the bridge. If they can build a fancy roundabout, couldn't they at least put some decorative street posts on the bridge. And what about those ugly metal tubes that line the mud island road?

11:17 PM  
Anonymous MATAlac said...

Like other recently (re)built Memphis bridges, it looks like a freeway overpass from 1965.

This is something we haven't covered in previous posts. Tennessee (moreover West TN, rather than Middle TN) has some very 1965 looking road architecture in general. The big 240/40 junction is finally complete and I absolutely hate the brown on mauve color scheme. I'm wondering if aesthetics were even considered by TNDOT. For visitors it must be obvious that this is a no-income tax state runs on a shoe string budget.

8:26 AM  
Blogger fearlessvk said...

i have driven over the auction bridge to mud island a million times and i never even REALIZED that you COULD walk over it. this comes as a revelation to me.

6:48 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

gregg, those are cool pictures. There apparently has been a push by cyclists for a good river crossing (other than the M-A Bridge narrow passage) and the Harahan idea had come up (see comment by Larry Lagarde of Ridethisbike.com) I'm sure many times before. Perhaps West Memphis could be interested in it as well.

matalac, I think Memphis has a massive warehouse stocked with a lifetime supply of freeway accessories they bought in 1967. It was a good deal.

fearlessvk you mean I'm right? It's a beautiful view at the top of the bridge. It just should be (more) inviting to everyone, but especially walkers, but it's rewarding now.

3:56 PM  
Blogger Silvio said...

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5:16 AM  

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