Fans bicycling to a new Wichita ballpark could be served by an on-site bike valet, an amenity city officials are considering for the upcoming facility.
Set to open in April for the relocating and soon-to-rebrand New Orleans Baby Cakes (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League), the new $75 million Wichita ballpark is currently being built on the former site of Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. The goal is for the ballpark to anchor a larger redevelopment initiative, with the end result being increased economic activity in the area on a year-round basis.
As planning for the ballpark continues, the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board is recommending the implementation of bike valet service. Making up for a loss of parking in the area because of the ballpark and surrounding development has been a concern for Wichita officials, so it is believed that the valet service could offer an incentive for fans to bike rather than drive to the game. Additionally, bike valet service is believed to be a more secure option for storage than traditional bike racks. More from the Wichita Eagle:
But bike-ped board member Elizabeth Ablah said she thinks a valet service would encourage more people to pedal to the games.
“I think that would really set a nice tone,” she said.
Alan Kailer, president of the group Bike Walk Wichita, said there’s a need for more than regular rack parking these days, when an average road bike can cost $1,000 at a bike shop and cycling and walking in the downtown area are growing every year.
“From the very beginning, that stadium’s been conceived and promoted as an urban stadium,” Kailer said.
There is a precedence for bike valet service being offered at sports facilities, and it could be an amenity that ultimately serves fans at the new Wichita ballpark. The current Baby Cakes franchise, which is slated to announce its new name next week, is currently scheduled to play its first game at the ballpark on April 14 against the Memphis Redbirds. When the franchise debuts at the new ballpark, it will mark the first time that Wichita has had an affiliated Minor League Baseball team of its own since the Wichita Wranglers (Class AA; Texas League) relocated to Springdale, AR after the 2007 season to become the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
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