Nashville’s debris-filled bike lanes get their own sweeper – WPLN
Courtesy Nashville Department of Transportation
Cyclists waited years for Metro to obtain this bike lane sweeper.
Nashville has a new piece of street-cleaning equipment that’s drawing surprise and delight from bicyclists — a lane sweeper that’s designed to fit within the city’s narrow protected bike lanes recently ran its first trial routes.
That was just in time for the 18th annual Tour de Nash ride on Saturday, which drew more than 1,000 riders.
Many avid cyclists, like Chloe Moix, had noticed the improved conditions — but were unsure what had suddenly changed to make that possible.
A WPLN reporter showed her — and others — the picture.
“What!? No! That’s the silliest contraption I’ve ever seen!” Moix said. “Never seen it.”
“My god, where have those been!? That’s fantastic!” said Nathalie Becker.
“Is that, like, a mini street sweeper?” asked Tim Nicholson, who did the 25-mile ride while towing his son in a bike trailer. “Is that real?”
It sure is.
Cyclists have been asking Metro to get such a sweeper for at least five years.
They regularly bristle at the conditions of bike lanes, where they have to avoid broken glass, tree limbs, car parts and more.
“Trash. Huge rocks. Boulders,” said Antoric Pullom, who noticed improvements Saturday. “It was definitely a lot cleaner. [The sweeper is] probably why.”
Austin Bragdon, who completed the 45-mile circuit, said he recently had a friend get two flat tires within 10 minutes because of glass in the lanes.
Tony Gonzalez WPLN News
“The bike lanes were much better today than they have been when I’ve ever ridden before,” he said.
Still, some reviews were mixed.
Arlene Aparizio traveled from Huntsville, Ala., to ride in the event for the first time. She was effusive to see as many bike lanes as she did, but noted debris in some areas. And the tour routes took every cyclist past a large roadkill possum along Ed Temple Boulevard.
“We all took care of each other. The riders just signaled, ‘Hey, there’s some debris ahead,’” Aparizio said.
The Nashville Department of Transportation says there’s still more training ahead with the new bike lane sweeper and that it should be in regular use in a few months.