A few days ago, I was out for a ride with Isaiah's dad, Michael.
You might remember Isaiah. He's the now 10-year-old who rode 150 miles in two days as a fundraiser for the Coalition. One of his more memorable quotes when he was planning his route was, "We don’t want to be next busy highways, because it sucks the life out of me."
As so often happens when you're hanging out with me, the conversation turned to bikes, advocacy, and street design. I mentioned the Coalition's work on making sure a protected bikeway is included on Minnehaha when it gets rebuilt next year, and he got excited.
"A protected bikeway on Minnehaha would be great. It's in our neighborhood!" I was a little surprised at Michael's enthusiasm. I guess I don't think of Minnehaha as in his neighborhood, but that's a problem with my mental map of Minneapolis. "Now, I don't go on Minnehaha with the kids because of the traffic. With a protected bikeway, I could."
Rumor has it the County is a bit hesitant to put protected bikeways on Minnehaha. I'm not sure why. I've heard that some people are fine with on-street lanes as they are now. To me, Isaiah and his sister are why bike lanes aren't good enough. Since the County has an opportunity to build a dedicated space for bikes protected from traffic (during road construction next year), I think they should maximize safety for people of ALL ages.
This quote from Isaiah seems to sum up the way many people, especially parents and kids, feel about Minnehaha Avenue:
"I like to bike to Minnehaha Park with my family. Minnehaha Ave. is the quickest way to get to the park from my house, but I don't bike on it because the road is busy and scary. It would be nice if the bike lane was separated from the cars, so it wasn't scary."