BikeLNK launched on a cold April day last year and celebrated a year of success with two warm, sunshine filled events. The two days of celebrations included the unveiling of the new F Street Community Art Station and their first Birthday Party. Both events were attended by the community that has made the bike sharing program such a success.
The BikeLNK birthday celebrations kicked off Friday with the launch of their F Street Community Art Station- the world’s first art covered bike share station. South of Downtown Community Development Organization, the City of Lincoln, Downtown Lincoln, Lincoln Public Schools, & Heartland Bike Share worked together to ensure the success of this project. The art station was designed by Lincoln Public School students and local artists. The student contest winners were Caitlin Nelepovitz, Michael Pau, Dominic Walker, Ba Moo, Zaineb Aljumayaat, Iris Starlin-Hintz, and Natalie Leininger. Local artists Miranda Knudson and Jerrod Easter designed the docks to match the contest-winning base plate designs, along with their original designs. The local artists along with Iris Starlin-Hintz and Natalie Leininger, the high school art contest winners, made the station come alive and it is now functional art piece for all of Lincoln to enjoy! The community-driven project was made possible by a grant from Better Bike Share.
The station is located outside the F Street Community Center on the corner of F and 13th St along the new 13th St bike lanes. The station was unveiled to show the new artwork which was created by this community effort. Community partners and project collaborators took part in ceremonial first check outs at the station. Speakers included Kayla Jacox, Lincoln Industries Marketing Manager; Kat Weise, South of Downtown Community Organizer; Doug Kasparek, Center Director of F St Community Center with Lincoln Parks & Recreation; Kellee Van Bruggen, Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department Transportation Planner; Iris Starlin Hintz, Arts & Humanities Student art contest winner; Natalie Leininger, Lincoln High School Student art contest winner; and Dustin Antonello, Director of Policy & Research, Lincoln Independent Business Association (LIBA).
The F Street Community Art Station is not only a functional bike share station but community driven public-art. Kat Weise, South of Downtown Community Organizer and artist, said, “Art builds skills and helps in numerous fields of study, but what's really valuable about the study of art is learning creative thinking. Creative thinking is being able to look at problems from multiple perspectives and address all of the ways it could be solved. That is what we hope to give to the South of Downtown community."
The high school student art contest winners were extremely excited about their part in the process and what it means for the community. Iris Starlin-Hintz, Arts & Humanities Student art contest winner, said “I think that community centers like these are important to not only bring people together but also strengthen the bond between us through artistic expression. Through this process I have learned a great lesson about collaboration and teamwork and I think that group meeting places like this support the joys I felt in this experience.” Lincoln High School student art contest winner, Natalie Leininger, said, “This art station is a great reminder for us all as a community that the artwork doesn't just belong to the artists who painted it, but it transcends to all of the people who visit the kiosk every day. So thank you for this amazing opportunity that I got to share with this amazing community of people.”
As the first new station in the BikeLNK system, this project gave a unique opportunity for community engagement as the system expanded into a new Lincoln neighborhood. Kellee Van Bruggen, Lincoln/Lancaster County Planning Department Transportation Planner and project lead on the Lincoln Bike Share project, said, “This new station will be the first the City of Lincoln has added to the system since the launch a year ago and the first station the South of Downtown neighborhood. Our partners in this project used this opportunity to create intensive community engagement around a new station by allowing the local community to design exactly how the station moving into their neighborhood will look. We are the first in the nation to have an art bike sharing station.”
The day after the launch of the F Street Community Art Station, BikeLNK celebrated one year of operations with the party at their office. BikeLNK’s first birthday party was a celebration of the community that has made the system a success. Kitchen Sink Bakery donated a funfetti birthday cake that attendees enjoyed while they chatted about bikes and bike shared in Lincoln. Prizes donated by a variety of community partners (Lincoln Running Company, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Outdoor Adventures Center, Bike Walk Nebraska, Screen Ink, Hound Dog Cycling Adventures, and Hub Cafe) were raffled off to attendees. The event was well attended by community supporters and everyone is looking forward to what year two will hold for Lincoln’s bike share system.