The Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA) is concerned about several aspects of the new bike lane plan as proposed by Crandall Arambula, LLC.
Our first thought is to hold off on putting any bike lanes in until the Pinnacle Bank Arena is up and running. It is difficult to determine how traffic will flow in and out of the arena entrance of the N Street corridor. It seems that it would be best to wait and see whether protected bike lanes would work on N Street or if another location would be better.
One alternative to N Street would be to move the protected bike lanes just one block to the new Centennial Mall project. While LIBA is not generally supportive of building protected bike lanes, we feel it would be a shame if the city did not take advantage of the millions of dollars being invested in Centennial Mall.
Renovation of Centennial Mall will be a significant investment in proper lighting, green space, and pedestrian space and most of the 5 block area north of N Street will be vehicle-free. Adding bike lanes to the Centennial Mall project would just seem to make more sense. This would require working with the Capitol Environs Committee, but surely they would see how it would add to the Mall environment.
If the protected bike lane plan is going to move on without delay, we must find ways to maintain some of the on-street parking. At the public meeting onMarch 20, 2012, Crandall Arambula talked about on-street parking and said “Unless you provide it, they won’t come.” They also said, “The most precious commodity is on-street parking.” If on-street parking is a precious commodity, why didn’t their plan increase on-street parking along N Street and other proposed bike lane locations? While some parking may have been envisioned in front of the Grand Theatre, adding parking in front of the Grand Theatre will not help retailers along N Street.
This plan causes the city to lose approximately 45 parking spaces. Building a parking garage will not solve this issue. Additionally, the city now has maps that show the bike lane extending to 7th street. There will be another 47 parking spaces lost if this occurs.
Finally, at $12 million a mile, we sincerely hope that the street car idea is removed from this plan. It will only lead to further taxation, or a new form of taxation for funding.