By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor
It has been a great week for Memphis green initiatives. One of the biggest news for those with environmentally friendly mindset was Memphis Mayor AC Wharton’s announcement of plans to implement a network of protected bike lanes in Memphis as part of the city’s commitment to the Green Lane Project.
Memphis, a city that only two years ago was the chart-topper of Bicycling Magazine’s worst cities for biking in the US, is now considered to be best-improved for bicycling. Most credit Mayor AC Wharton’s advocacy for biking. His newly-presented Complete Streets Policy, the first-ever in in Memphis, sets a two-year timeframe to build 15 miles of green lanes and various new bike facility installations, starting in summer of 2013. Green lanes are dedicated roadway bike lanes, generally separated from both car and sidewalk traffic by planters, posts, curbs or parked cars.
The city of Memphis currently has no green lanes–nationally, green lanes had been scarce until 2011, when only a total of 62 miles existed. Thanks to recent initiatives, such as the 2012-launched Green Lane Project helmed by Bikes Belong Foundation, green lane implementation has accelerated: 2012 estimates show 32 cities engaging in the effort to bring that number up to 102, with the number of green lanes expected to increase by another 100 in 2013. The 2011-released Urban Bikeway Design Guide by the National Association of City Transportation Officials had a major impact as well, as it gave basic instruction to cities on how to adapt existing biking facilities and design features to create safe green lanes.
In other green news, The Memphis Daily News reports that newest residence hall on the Rhodes College campus has received Silver LEED certification by the US Green Building Council. Launched in August, West Village is a 141-bed student housing facility located on Rhodes’ Middle West side. Comprised of 22 deluxe suites, it features community amenities such as two conference rooms, sizeable common room with kitchen and laundry facilities on each floor. Units feature four to eight beds in single or doubles rooms. West Village houses upper-class students.
Image credits: the Rhodes College Facebook page