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Haymarket business pushes back on proposed bicycle docking station

Haymarket business pushes back on proposed bicycle docking station

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BikeLNK

The people who run Ten Thousand Villages oppose plans for an additional Haymarket bike rental dock outside the building at Eighth and P streets.

A plan to install a bicycle rental dock in the Haymarket has a store manager and building landlord pushing back against the city. 

Jillian Christy, who runs Ten Thousand Villages at 801 P St. in The Apothecary, fears her nonprofit fair trade store may lose customers if the city puts in a BikeLNK station on the sidewalk in front of the store's display windows. 

She's not against the city's mission to reduce carbon emissions and promote cycling, but she worries how a bike dock might pull the focus away from Ten Thousand Villages' main source of advertising — its display window facing P Street.

"January through September or October, primarily most of our customer traffic is coming from out-of-towners that are walking by on the street," Christy told the City Council on Monday night. 

Jonathan Camp, vice president of The Apothecary/J.C. Ridnour Building where the store is located, said he became aware of the proposal in October, two weeks before the proposed installation. 

"What we are really asking for is that the council help us by reevaluating the location for this BikeLNK dock station," said Camp, the son of former city councilman Jon Camp, during the public comment portion of Monday's council hearing.

Interim Lincoln Transportation and Utilities Director Tom Casady said the city has been in talks with representatives of The Apothecary and Ten Thousand Villages for several weeks and believes the location is the best place to put a BikeLNK dock station.

The station would be in between docking stations in front of the Hudl Building at Canopy and P streets and in front of the Embassy Suites at 11th and P streets.

"It’s probably at the intersection that most people would identify as the heart of the Haymarket," Casady said in an interview.

After hearing the concerns of Ten Thousand Villages, BikeLNK made minor changes to reconfigure the station, he said. 

The changes move the station farther west, away from the store's entrance, and moves the station's kiosk so it lines up with a column between the store's windows, he said.

The new docking station would occupy space previously filled by a bike rack, a planter and trash receptacle and will take up only slightly more space, he said.

Camp proposes the 10-stall docking station be placed across the street, just east of Old Chicago along a retaining wall near Melichar's Phillips 66. 

But Casady said that site lacks electrical supply, and the city cannot use the power cables running the street lights, so underground electrical conduit would need to be brought in for a separate service. 

He estimates that would cost $20,000, and the city had been planning to cover the majority of the docking station expense with a grant funding the installation of another Haymarket docking site. 

Casady said the city would move the docking station to that site if The Apothecary Building pays to bring in the electrical service. 

If that offer isn't agreed to by the end of the day Wednesday, the city plans on installing the station outside Ten Thousand Villages after the Thanksgiving holiday, Casady said.

Some BikeLNK stations have caused similar stirs with new neighbors, Casady said, but they changed their mind after the stations were installed.

"I’m hopeful they experience the same thing," Casady said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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