Voices of the Downtown/Whittier Connection: Mina

The Downtown Bikeways work group has been talking to people that live, work, go to school, eat, or recreate along the corridor that connects downtown with Loring Heights, Stevens Square, Whittier, and neighborhoods to the south.

One person that we spoke with is Mina Leierwood, who teaches at MPS’ Emerson Spanish Immersion School. Emerson is located along the Downtown-Whittier corridor at 15th Street and LaSalle Ave S. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

If you would like to share your support for a safe, protected bikeway that will connect downtown with Loring Heights, Stevens Square, Whittier, and neighborhoods to the south, please fill out this digital postcard.

Photo of Mina Leierwood

How do you commute to your job as a teacher at Emerson Spanish Immersion School?

I’m coming from east of Powderhorn Park. When I bike, I bike over on 26th Street, which is protected. From 26th, I will take 1st Avenue or Stevens Avenue up to 16th, and then 15th in to school. When I go home, I often take Blaisdell down to 31st, or to the Greenway.

How do you feel when you bike on Blaisdell?

Blaisdell is kind of scary, because there has been a lot of ice in the winter, and it’s not a protected bike lane. You’re [biking] in the car lane. I’m often biking in the early afternoon, so it’s a really heavy traffic time. [At that time of day] it is faster to get home by bike. It’s faster on a bike because the traffic is so heavy, and there are so many road closures right now.

What safety concerns do you have about the Downtown-Whitter corridor or the streets around your school?

Blaisdell. It’s so heavily traveled. When you’re [biking where there are sharrows] you’re sharing the lane with car traffic, and there are a lot of drivers who are really impatient. People during rush hour are trying to leave downtown and it’s a lot of traffic. It’s scary. I’ve tried looking for different routes.

What parts of the city feel safe to you to bike or walk?

I really like the protected lanes on 26th and 28th. I have to say that at first, I thought, “Why is there a protected lane on 28th? It’s a block from the Greenway!” But, sometimes 28th or 26th is just more direct. Those posts help me feel a bit safer. Part of Blaisdell is like that too, but not the whole thing.

How does the street design around here influence your school?

We very seldom walk our kids across LaSalle.

Would you like to see protected bike lanes on LaSalle and 1st?

Yes, similar to what we’ve got at 26th and 28th, with bollards. There’s my next class!

If you'd like to be featured in an interview about this corridor, or if you'd like to help the Downtown Bikeways work group advocate for protected bike lanes, please contact us

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