Residents concerned about new Walmart traffic

By: Kayla Bremer

A future Lincoln Walmart is under fire after neighbors say the company is unwilling to compromise.  Residents in the 27th and Grainger area say they were worried about a Walmart being built in their neighborhood but now they have a new concern.

The newest Lincoln location of Walmart is currently under construction.  Residents say they have major concerns about shortcut traffic through the neighborhoods.  Walmart's building plan includes an entrance and exit with a stoplight at 27th and Grainger and another one further south without a stoplight at Jamie Lane.

Jim Hansbrough, a resident, says the neighborhood prefers having only a single entrance and exit at Jamie Lane…closing off Grainger completely.

“It will definitely back up on Grainger to go on 27th,” Hansbrough said.  “So you can rest comfortably assured that they're going to come through the neighborhood.”

Residents say their main concern is the safety of the neighborhood's kids.  Hansbrough created a map showing the three alternate routes residents are concerned shoppers will take to avoid the stoplights leading in and out of the Walmart.

“Main concern is safety right now,” concerned resident Deborah Dilbeck said.  “We want to have a good business relationship with Walmart and I don't think anybody wants to pay the price of a personal injury or accident.”

The neighborhood proposed three solution options that they say will eliminate shortcut traffic.  One is no access at all from the Walmart to Grainger Parkway.  Another option is making the exit out of the store parking lot onto Grainger a right turn only to keep traffic from going into the neighborhood.  The last option was to close off Grainger at 25th Street completely.

Hansbrough says Walmart is not willing to consider any of the options. However, a Walmart spokeswoman says the company has considered other options, but the options were not feasible from a safety and security standpoint. 

“Walmart has been welcomed warmly by Lincoln and the customers are exactly the reason why we're opening another store,” Walmart representative Delia Garcia said.  “The site is going to generate 45 percent less traffic than what was originally approved and proposed.”

Garcia also said that delivery trucks will have access to the back of the store through Jamie Lane.  Then they will exit right onto Grainger to go back on 27th which will avoid the neighborhoods.