Alex Tsatsoulis, Development & Communications Coordinator for the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition, sat down with me to talk about some bikeways that he's excited to see come to the Stadium Village and Seward neighborhoods in the next year:
Tyler: Alex, I'm gonna start out by asking, why are protected bike lanes so important to you?
Alex: Well, since I've started biking with my son I've become a lot more sensitive to close calls with distracted or aggressive drivers. It just feels so much safer to bike with him in a space that has some physical protection.
T: Makes sense. So, what protected bike lanes are you the most excited for?
A: Honestly, all of them! It's really cool that we're making so much progress this year and I'm excited to see the city's Protected Bikeways Plan fully implemented.
T: Yeah, but the thing is, though, you need to choose one.
A: Yeah, but the thing is, though, I'm your boss, so I'm gonna pick two. First, I'm gonna go with the new protected bike lanes on the Franklin Avenue Bridge.
T: Aren't those not being installed until next year?
A: That's true, but right now they've used construction barricades to provide a protected bike lane across the bridge, which is still really nice. Audience, you should check them out! But back to what I was saying, because of the new protected bike lanes on the Franklin Avenue Bridge and the new two-way protected bike lane on Oak Street, I can bike my son to daycare every day and only have to use a bike lane-less street for about three blocks.
T: Is it fun biking your son to daycare?
A: For sure! Biking him to daycare has been an amazing opportunity for me to spend more time with him. We can play games while we ride, I can sing to him, and he can “talk” to me and play and look at the world outside of the bike. When I used to drive him in my car, I didn't get to do that.
T: Why did you drive him in?
A: These protected bikeways weren't in yet. Before that, we would have taken the long way around over the Lake Street/Marshall bridge and East River road. Franklin, even with the bike lane and the bike box at the end, just had too much car traffic for us to feel safe on. The longer route was more comfortable, but the extra time and distance made it hard for me to get him to daycare and me to work on time. And when I got to work, I was really sweaty.
T: Yeah, we don't want that... So, anything else you want to say?
A: First, I'm really excited to see our network of bikeways getting built out as my son gets older. It's great to know that one day soon, I'll be able to send him off to bike to the park, to school, or to a friend's house, all on streets that are safe, and that take his needs in to account along with motorists'.
T: Well thank-
A: AND, we're celebrating the opening of the Oak Street bikeway at Open Streets: University of Minnesota. So if you haven't gotten to try it out yet or want to celebrate it, get to Oak & Washington by 11:30am!
T: Thanks for sitting down with me boss!
A: No problem!
Want to learn more about the new protected bike lanes being installed this year? Check out our list of 2015 protected bike lanes.
And look forward to hearing more about what protected bike lanes our staff is excited for every week.