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Building a Bike Gateway, Part 8

Missed our earlier installments?  Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7

Welding bikes to the frameT-minus four days until Bike Gate is complete!

Now that we’re in the home stretch, if you’ve been driving down East Parkway this week, you’ve probably noticed the splashes of color in the parking lot set against the brown of the winter trees. Tylur French and the Youngblood Studio crew have brought the bikes over to the park and installed four quadrants of bikes onto the arches. Now they’re welding on about 85 additional bikes one by one, as well as putting other finishing touches on the structure.

Final installation is set for Tuesday, February 11.  (We were originally planning on doing it tomorrow, but you’ve been in Memphis this week–you saw the weather we had to work with! Tuesday in particular set the team back a little bit.) The crane is set to arrive on-site at 10:00 a.m., and from there it will lift the arches and place them onto the steel beams that have already been installed at the bike plaza. Then Tylur and his crew will weld the arch to the beams. If you’re curious, you’re welcome to come on over and check it out on Tuesday morning!

We’re very excited to finally see the sculpture in its permanent home after watching it come together over the past year. In a park that hosts so much wonderful art, it’s only fitting that something so unique will be the first thing visitors to the east side of the park see.

Pavers and plazaWork at the plaza is otherwise largely complete. We’ll begin work soon on the short trail that will connect the plaza into the Old Forest, at which point we’ll announce the date for the plaza’s official grand opening.

We’ve also been hard at work installing the engraved pavers, which form the edges of the plaza’s wheel, spoke, and chain design (courtesy of our friends at ANF Architects). We can’t wait for you to spend some time reading the inscriptions people have shared on their pavers. There are so many wonderful tributes to the people whose dedication and tenacity helped to protect Overton Park over the years.

Pavers at Bike GateFor example, did you know that the plaza sits on the location where I-40 was set to be built? Had the women and men of Citizens to Preserve Overton Park not spent years fighting to stop the highway construction, the Old Forest would have been destroyed. Instead, we’re getting ready to connect its trail system to new bike lanes that will allow people to experience it in all its glory. Several of the pavers are dedicated to the people who fought that battle, along with other cyclists, runners, and park lovers past and present. The plaza tells a small piece of the park’s story in a very touching way.

We only have 14 unsponsored pavers out of the 129 that will be installed on the site. If you’d like to add your voice to the chorus, it’s only $250 for a permanent place in the park. Head over here to make it happen!

Hopefully we’ll see some of you on Tuesday for the big bike-raising!

Bike Gate

Jump to Part 9.