ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – With a rise in development and interest in Downtown Abilene, there is also a rise in the number of ways offered for folks to get from points A to B. The city’s complete reconstruction of Cypress Street has noticeably shifted its focus to environmental charm and pedestrian ease of access, and a new business now offers party bike and pedicab tours. These elements combined are part of a joint goal to provide better overall cohesion to the rapidly growing locations and things to do.
“Anybody who’s tried to go by foot through the middle of town, or even downtown; it’s a little daunting,” said Seth Merritt, co-owner of Bike ABI.
Merritt has recently moved his work into the Treadaway building formerly occupied by the Pappy Slokum Brewery. Bike ABI was brought in to create a few avenues of travel to the Key City streets. It’s a party bike that seats up to 15 people, and provides a new view of the downtown area. Bike ABI also offers two seater pedicabs that can taxi people anywhere in a five mile radius of Downtown Abilene.
All of these transportation options also allow for riders to bring their own alcohol with them, though Merritt told KTAB/KRBC that’s not necessarily the only way to travel.
“We’ve really just been trying to push downtown area to SoDA district. People can grab some beer or wine, and get going- or even coffee, you know. You don’t have to drink to have fun on these things,” Merritt offered.
As of now, Merritt’s business is BYOB. But with the city council’s approval of its rezoning, and pending beer and wine licensing, he said the plan is to open a tavern at the 409 South Treadaway Boulevard location – where riders can get their drinks for the trip, or stay and enjoy them inside.
Alcohol consumption is restricted to the bikes. So, as soon as you step off, any alcohol stays behind due to public drinking regulations. He and his team said they have been working with other local businesses and bars to facilitate transportation between venues as a fun and safe way to bring downtown a little closer together while adding a new experience.
“[It’s] To just bridge the gap between SoDA district and downtown, so that people can go out and have fun, and be safe,” explained Merritt.
This mission is similar to the city’s reconstruction of Cypress Street; a fully pedestrian-centric experience. The oversight of which will see a new city position created, the “Downtown Coordinator.” City Manager Robert Hanna discussed the position at Monday’s City Council briefing.
“Given the growth were seeing in our downtown area, we wanna make sure we have somebody whose job it is to make sure downtown is kept as best as it can look,” Hanna delivered.
Although the position has not been named yet, Hanna said this person will see to the communication between the city and new and existing businesses during development. That position should continue on even after the completion of Cypress Street.
“This person’s going to take ownership of our downtown area and make sure the city is facilitating its investment and maintenance of infrastructure,” promised Hanna.
Merritt told KTAB/KRBC he was hopeful for this promise, “I think it’s great what they’re doing. I hope that we continue on this path and continue to be more pedestrian friendly.”
The new position and new business, while completely separate from each other, add to the overall cohesion of downtown development and transportation no matter what way you decide to get around town.