Department store taking case to move bus stop to City Hall

Weaver's is tired of the T.

Officials of Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass., have been arguing for months that the city bus system's transfer station on the store's north side is hogging valuable parking spaces and hurting sales. When buses are lined up, they say, customers have a tough time getting in and out of the store.

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Mike Yoder/Journal-World Photo

The bus stop at Ninth Street and Massachusetts on the north side of Weaver's Department Store is a concern to store managers because it eliminates accessible parking for customers. Waiting for the bus Friday are, from left, Emma Brooke, 13, her sister Maggie, 15, both of Lawrence, and their cousin Kristen Markley, 14, Leawood.

"We didn't realize how disruptive it was going to be to our customers and our business," Weaver's president Joe Flannery told the Public Transit Advisory Committee last month. "Parking is at a premium downtown."

Flannery suggested the transfer station be moved, but the committee � after a special study session � said the transfer should remain in its current location.

So Weaver's is taking its case to City Hall.

At its regular weekly meeting, the city commission will be asked to rule on the issue.

Flannery again is suggesting the 800 block of New Hampshire Street as a transfer site.

"An area such as this would not be disruptive to any storefront," he said in a letter to city commissioners. "And it would also allow Ninth and Mass to have four-to-six parking spaces back that we lost with the current transfer station."

Transit officials disagree.

"While it may appear to be a simple move ... we must consider traffic flow, route flow, timing issues and the need to serve the Ninth and Massachusetts area," transit officials said in a memorandum signed by Karin Rexroad, the city's public transit administrator, and Robert Tabor, committee chair.

Ninth and Massachusetts, they said, "is the best alternative for our system and (the committee) is recommending that we remain at that site. This site is a prime destination for many of our riders. The site has the infrastructure in place to provide safe and efficient transfers."

The transit officials said they want to improve the corner to better serve both the stores and bus riders until a permanent transfer station is created � at least two years down the road.

"If the Lawrence transit system can develop and maintain working relationships with the downtown merchants," they said in the memo, "we will be able to provide a positive impact on parking, congestion and bringing shoppers to this vital retail area."

The city commission will meet at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.

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