Airborne bikes to arch over Overton Park - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Airborne bikes to arch over Overton Park

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As big wheels keep on turning to make Memphis more livable, Midtown's iconic park wanted a safe and accessible entrance for bicyclists and pedestrians. (Photo Source: Overton Park) As big wheels keep on turning to make Memphis more livable, Midtown's iconic park wanted a safe and accessible entrance for bicyclists and pedestrians. (Photo Source: Overton Park)
Overton Park started work on the new bicycle and pedestrian plaza Monday.  (Photo Source: Overton Park, Rending by ANF Architects) Overton Park started work on the new bicycle and pedestrian plaza Monday. (Photo Source: Overton Park, Rending by ANF Architects)
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Pedestrians and cyclists can expect to see bikes not only rolling on the sidewalks this year at Overton Park – but in the sky. As big wheels keep on turning to make Memphis more livable, Midtown's iconic park wanted a safe and accessible entrance for bicyclists and pedestrians.

So a conservancy group and local artist decided to make a colorful gateway arch of bikes as part of the Overton Park plaza that will connect to interior park roads later this year. The plaza, designed by ANF Architects, will serve as a main component to the expansion of the Shelby Farms Greenline to Overton Park.

Artist Tylur French collected scrap bikes and other wheeled parts from the community for the gate concept starting last winter; the large structure now includes more than 200 frames.

But as French's project moved forward, he decided the bigger the arch became the more bikes it was taking to make a visual impact. The artist upped his request to 350 bikes for the structure.

Overton Park's blog documents French's dedication to getting the composition of the sculpture just right.

"It needs to read as cohesive piece, not as a junk pile," he said on the blog. "I like the idea of having these bikes sort of explode out of the arch formation ... I want the bikes to look like they're airborne."

Although, French's gateway will be more than an aesthetic touch. It will be a landmark of a connection to a new trail, funded by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, that will allow cyclists to ride from Shelby Farms Park to Overton Park's Old Forest State Natural Area to the Harahan Bridge.

Overton Park started work on the new bicycle and pedestrian plaza Monday. The conservancy group expects movement at the intersection of Sam Cooper Boulevard and East Parkway to continue for the next couple of months.

The large sign that drivers see when Sam Cooper dead ends will move over several yards to make way for the Bike Gate sculpture, which will be one of the first parts of the plaza to be installed.

If you would like to make a gift to the bike gate, click here. Click here to see more photos of the Bike Gate in process.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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