When he’s not behind the pulpit, Blake Altman can be seen pedaling around town.

The pastor at Trinity Church, a longtime avid cyclist, regularly takes his preferred method of transportation – a Giant TCR Advanced 2 road bike, equipped with all the latest gears and gadgets – out for a spin on Owasso’s streets.

“There’s so much to love about cycling. It’s good for your health, it’s great to get outside,” said Altman, who treks 20 to 30 miles two to three times a week across the community.

More recently, Altman has steered his way onto the city’s new bike lanes for some added exercise and enjoyment.

The City of Owasso installed the bike lanes on two high-traffic roadways during a restriping project in April, marking their debut in Owasso for both recreational and professional cyclists alike.

Each route runs for about a mile on both sides of 86th Street between Mingo Road and Main Street as well as on Garnett Road from 86th Street to 96th Street. Altman said he now enjoys having a bike path close by to get to and from work during the warmer weather.

“They’re a symbol of progress for Owasso,” he said. “I think it’s very important to have bike lanes, and it helps people recognize that there’s more than one way to get around town these days.”

City staff met at the drawing board for the project about eight years ago to fulfill the city’s vision of creating “complete streets” – a concept designed to provide needed access for various types of transportation.

Public Works Director Rogers Stevens said introducing bike lanes to Owasso promotes rideability as well as a healthier, more active lifestyle among local residents, a goal outlined in the city’s Quality of Life initiative.

“We’re definitely very excited … we’re finally seeing it actually occur, and it’s just another service, another option for those that ride bikes,” Stevens said. “We’re a progressing city, and we definitely want to look at all modes of transportation; it’s not just vehicles.”

He also mentioned the safety of cyclists as a top priority in adding the bike paths. With extended lane widths and proper markings and signage, riders are now able to pedal alongside traffic with a decreased risk of being involved in a vehicle-related accident.

“We actually do believe with the bike lanes in place, they’ll definitely help with safety with those that were riding in the street in the first place,” Stevens said. “We’re just giving them a dedicated space now rather than a shared space.”

Stevens said the city plans to continue adding bike lanes to major thoroughfares as it carries out road widening and improvement projects per the Transportation Master Plan over the next 20 years.

For more information about the City of Owasso’s ongoing street projects and “complete streets” plans, visit cityofowasso.com/221/Engineering-Projects-Information.

Art is a seasoned reporter of over 15 years with an extended background in writing and editing for a variety of publications and organizations.