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 Peter Leugers, who bikes along the corridor. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What is your connection to this corridor?
We live [south of Lake and Lyndale]. My daughters both went to school [along this corridor]. My wife and I ride downtown a lot to go to dinner, or to a show. I’m in the bicycle industry, and I want to ride my bike as much as possible, and not just for sport.
What are the biggest pain points on this corridor?
Blaisdell between Franklin and Lake Street. Whether it’s Uber drivers, or food delivery parking in the bike lane, or cars driving too fast. I think the timing of the lights sucks on 1st Ave for cyclists. We need bike [timed] lights. People drive really fast on Blaisdell. The timing of the lights at 35th and 36th on Blaisdell is horrible for cars and bicycles. It’s not timed right and people get pissed.
Are protected bike lanes important to you?
The number one concern from our industry is people feeling safe. If someone wants a protected bike lane, give it to them because protected bike lanes increase ridership. The number one concern of my friends is their kids riding on the street. Protected bike lanes are an absolute necessity.
What would make these streets safer for you and your family when you're riding?
I certainly think more protected bike lanes and bike lights.
You've biked in cities all over the world, do you have thoughts on the best design for protected bike lanes?
I’ve ridden on a lot of different ones. I’m a big fan of the curbed-in ones. That’s awesome, that’s your lane! I like Blaisdell’s pylons after Lake Street. There’s a barrier. 28th Street did the same thing. I wish the pylons were spaced closer.
What parts of the city feel super safe to you?
I like a protected bike lane on the street. I don’t like people riding on the sidewalk. I think that removes the visibility of the bicyclist.
If you could say one thing to your Council Member, what would you say?
We are on a roll here. This bicycle infrastructure isn’t being implemented fast enough.
Do you have any other thoughts that we haven't touched on?
I will ride out of my way to get to bike infrastructure. A lot of people don’t know that the infrastructure is there though. There needs to be a mapping [and signing] of our bicycle infrastructure. If you use Google Maps, even if you put it in “Bike” [mode], they might throw you on to Washington Ave or Hennepin or Broadway, when they really shouldn’t.
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.
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.