Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Rotue (for me!) to Central Downtwon

This route takes us along very tame streets. Through Cooper Young and Central Gardens there are no main streets, and you get to cross Union at McNeil/Kimbrough (it changes names at this intersection), which is a small and manageable intersection. Take McNeil down to Jefferson, which dead ends at McNeil, and you'll take a left on Jefferson through all the condemned apartment buildings. There aint a damn thing goin' on in that neighborhood now. It's kind of sobering, but that is a topic for another post.

Once you're on Jefferson you'll cross Cleveland at a light, and then head over the I-240. This part and the next part--where you ride through the medical center--is the only somewhat scary section. Compared to Linden, though, I think this section of Jefferson is a piece of cake! In the midst of the Med. Center you'll come to Adams. It runs into Jefferson near the Med. Merge right onto Adams and before you know it you're in the VIctorian Village. This is a VERY COOL and underutilized part of Adams! Woo-hoo!

At this point you're practically downtown.


View Jefferson/Adams Downtown in a larger map


  1. Great Route! I used a version of this as my route to work at Grizzlies Academy at Jefferson and third. I would argue going past York and across peabody and turn left down Harbert. I also feel that continuing on harbert past S. Willett and turning right on Melrose (the next intersection) which turns into Kimbrough allows for a quicker route across peabody (no long traffic light) with less traffic than S. Willett. Turning off at Adams is a great move and I feel foolish for passing it by everytime. It's a much safer route but isn't there a long wait to cross Danny Thomas? I usually continued on Jefferson all the way to 3rd street which has a bridge over Danny thomas. THis made for a nonstop no intersection express trip all the way from the medical center to downtown. THe downside is that there are a few dodgy lanes that merge into Jefferson that one must keep an eye on. Well just thought this might be a good alternative to check out and see which one is faster and which one ends up being safer. I love the path were you turn off McNeil onto Jefferson and then cross clevelnad. It is too bad but the last drawings and plans I saw for the new development they are putting in there has no through route. It appeared that from Poplar to Madison would be retail and parking. THis especially angers me since they sold it to the city as a walkable community that they were going to build when from the very start it was clear that it had nothing to do with that. What was there was probably one of the most walkable communities in the city. I remember noticing that this addition of one more impassable super block would hamper many routes to downtown especially from the northeastern side of midtown. Other blocks that I found that severally hampered riding in Midtown were Rhodes College and the the zoo / overton park at night. When trying to reach downtown these three large impassable blocks often lined up to force you way out of your way depending on where you were coming from. Perhaps it would be possible to advocate for some sort of bike thoroughfare through the new development between madison and poplar. You can make out what I am talking about on my wayfaring site (raekstrom). A bike lane on jefferson seems to be a great opportunity as well for the future. Wonderful blog by the way and a good route downtown. keep up the good work.


  2. Anthony:
    I'm curious why you would choose this over Linden? Faster to the Downtown core or do you feel safer? And finally, if so, safer from cars or people intent to harm or steal?
    Loving the blog.

  3. Hey fellas--Thanks for the comments!

    Roger, I've incorporated some of your comments into an alternate route. Unfortunately I think you're right about the construction. It's likely that they will destroy all the roadways and create parking lots etc. If you have a link to some plans I'd like to see them. No construction has started, so it might be possible to make a change! That being said, I don't know that parking lots mean no passage for bikes. We'll see.


    I've been riding Linden alot lately, and I have a couple of serious complaints.

    1. The railroad underpass next to the community college really scares me these days. I feel very unsafe going under it, and usually revert to going a block north out of my way to go through the college, all to avoid that underpass. It's down hill regardless of which you are coming from, and there is simply not enough room for safe bicycle and car passage. In my opinion, it is an accident waiting to happen.

    2. The surface on Linden between 240 and downtown is abhorrent, and has not been changed in at least 10 years. The intersections are particularly bad, and call me old, but after breaking both my wrists my hands cry out in agony moving through those intersections.

    3. I think it's safer heading down Jefferson/Adams. Even though the Jefferson neighborhood is abandoned and condemned, I find no sketchy activity going on. In fact, I haven't seen a soul there one way or the other while I've been passing through.

    4. I think the Jeffesron Adams route is much safer in terms of cars. There are major institutions on the wide section over 240 (MS BLV Church, the VA Hospital, The Med) and as a result, cars move more slowly because they are going into or coming out of parking lots. You do have to be careful around the Med, as people are stressed or sleep deprived and may not be looking for a bike. But on the whole, I rate the area as safer for bikes than Linden.

  4. I think a mirror will make you feel safter on the underpass, since it is downhill, I'm able to get enough speed to take the lane. It's also pretty easy to (with a mirror of course) watch the cars coming and duck behind one to catch a nice draft up the hill. I hate the surface of Linden, but since it's so wide, I'm able to stay well away from cars and take the lane when necessary. I haven't tried your route though, so I have no comparison, I've ridden Madison and the tracks are horrible, but the people driving or walking near the Med scare more worse than that one spot on Linden. What times are you passing through? I'm usually on my way into work at 8:15 and on my way back by 5:15pm from downtown. If you're commuting around those times we should ride together.

  5. Kermit:

    I'll be leaving my house tomorrow for downtown around 8:15. Can we meet at Harbert and Barksdale around 8:30?

  6. I'm off tomorrow! Maybe monday? I need to get your phone number.