Jason Tanzman : Transitions: University Ave

Jason Tanzman, Development and Communications Director of Cycles for Change was interviewed by Yeng Thao

Photos by: Anthony Em
Editing by: Yeng Thao
Transcription by: Yeng Thao


What’s your name and what’s your business?

My name’s Jason Tanzman. I'm the co-director at Cycles For Change, which is a non-profit community bicycle shop.

What inspires you to work here?

What inspires me is working with great people and helping to build a bicycling movement that gets more people thinking about riding bikes as a form of healthy living and environmentally sustainable and affordable transportation.

What are your thoughts about the light rail?

I think transit is good; I think we need more different ways for people to go from point A to point B. Here at Cycles For Change we think about the ways people move — people walk, people bike, people take the bus, people take the light rail, people drive, people car pool. We think the more options that people have available, the better.

Do you think the light rail will affect your business?

Yeah, I think the light rail will bring more people to University Avenue. It makes our shop more accessible, makes more different ways that people can get here, so whoever doesn't own a car, lives in Minneapolis, potentially faster for them to get here using the light rail. When construction was happening, it made it harder for people to get here because the streets were torn up, but we think that once the light rail is going, it will help people get here. It also has the potential to cause property values and rents to go up, so it might be more expensive to stay here which is the flip side of the light rail coming.

Do you think it’s safer now that there's a large crosswalk along the light rail?

I'm not sure if the street’s safer. I think they should have done more to promote safety in the design. I think they should have reduced the lanes and added a bike lane, so I know it’s not more safe to ride a bike on University Avenue. I think we always need to do more to make it safe for pedestrians and bicycles.

Have you heard about the new network of bike paths and bike-friendly amenities in St. Paul?

Yeah, we follow — here at Cycles For Change — we follow closely the planning and development of bikeways in St.Paul. The city of St. Paul actually just released a draft bikeways plan that's not finalized but it will be soon and will guide our bicycle planning for the next twenty or more years.

Now that you know about the new bike paths in St. Paul, do you think it will affect the way bikers ride?

Absolutely, I think we know that people won't ride bicycles if they can't do it safely and confidently. I think the trails, the paths, the lanes that the city and the county are installing in Minneapolis and St. Paul and other communities — we know these lanes and paths make people ride more. They make it safer for people to ride, they make faster for people to ride, they make it more so that people ride. So I think we’ve seen the city of St. Paul improve. Some of what they've done has been really great — we've seen them take a lot of steps in the last or couple few years. Minneapolis is way ahead of St. Paul in bikeways and bicycle infrastructure. We need St. Paul to do more.

Made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on November 4, 2008. Administered by the Minnesota Historical Society.