Protected bike lanes pop-up in downtown Nashville

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A pop-up along Commerce Street in downtown Nashville is highlighting bike lane safety concerns in the downtown footprint.

On Friday morning, volunteers from advocacy group Walk Bike Nashville and mobility company Spin began putting together the city’s first-ever protected bike lane downtown.

“We hope people who come out today and see a protected bike lane get excited about the potential for this kind of infrastructure in our downtown,” said Lindsay Ganson, Director of Communication for Walk Bike Nashville.

The temporary installation lasted only for a day.

Ganson said a key feature is a wave deliminator that forms a buffer zone.

“When you create that physical separation, you get many more people biking because when you’re separated from traffic, you feel safer. It is safer and more people bike,” said Ganson.

Bicyclist Rochelle Carpenter called riding downtown risky.

“People are distracted and I am the vulnerable one,” said Carpenter.

She said just looking at the protected bike lane gives her relief.

“It is more safe,” said Carpenter. “It also has the effect of feeling more secure, like a car is not going to be able to swerve in the lane and hit me.”

“We need more options to get around,” said Carpenter. “We cannot fit more cars downtown.”

Ganson said Metro’s plans to build protected bike lanes along Commerce St. and Third Avenue have been on hold since May.

“There are a couple of Honky-Honk owners on Third Ave. – they didn’t want to move their loading zones a few feet,” said Ganson.

Using the pop-up to educate, Ganson hopes Friday’s test run will have lasting effects.

“Our hope is that people will walk, they’ll bike, they’ll experience a protected bike lane and maybe we can get the Metro plans for protected by bike lanes back on track,” said Ganson.

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