Five Questions for . . . Curtis Wilson of Bike Union!

7 Jun

Curtis Wilson is the Operations Manager of Bike Union and he will be our guest (and host!) Friday, June 15th, for our monthly coffee chat. Bike Union is a full service bike shop and coffee house dedicated to providing workforce and personal development to youth aging out of foster care and to strengthening our community as a whole. We’ll talk to Curtis about the Bike Union model, and the good they do in the community, but first, we asked him five questions.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
I prefer to ride my bike any chance I get. Though most days I end up driving to work because throughout the day the youth in our program tend to require transportation to different appointments and errands.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
General public awareness/acceptance of multi-modal transportation and a true desire on motorists part to share the road. I have had more close calls with vehicles on my bike in Omaha than any other place I have lived.

3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
The Leavenworth/St. Mary’s bike lane gives us an example of what is possible in Omaha in regards to safer cycling routes. It would be great to see more miles of that type of infrastructure.

4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
As a cyclist I use my bike for transportation and recreation. Being on the road with motor vehicles and being concerned for my and my friends safety has given me an interest in multi-modal transportation. Also, a lot of our youth program participants use some form of multi-modal transportation on a daily basis.

5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
I would love to see a network of protected bike lanes linking the entire city. With the emphasis being on linking every part of the city, so cycling could become a more feasible transportation solution for all people.

Take Transit to Castlepalooza

31 May

 

If you’re planning on attending Castlepalooza this weekend (June 2, 4-10pm), keep in mind that there will be limited automobile parking at the event (duh! The Castle and the surrounding neighborhood predate widespread automobile ownership).

No worries, there are other options.

First, you can definitely ride your bike. A bike valet will be available and there is a historic bike tour of significant residences in the area. Be sure to have your lights charged up if you plan to ride home after dark.

You can also ride the bus to the Castle. Joslyn Castle is located at the convergence of a number of bus routes convenient to most parts of the city served by Metro. Below are some suggested routes from the major transit hubs. NOTE: all times are approximate. For routes and times specific to your location, we recommend using the transit option in Google Maps.

From North Omaha Transit Center

Best route from the NOTC (30th Street, one block south of Ames) is going to be Route 3 toward Metro CC South Campus. Buses run every 30 minutes on the 15s and 45s until 7:15p.m. and then on the hour. Disembark at 40th and Davenport where the Castle is on the northeast corner.

Returning buses arrive at 40th and Davenport also every half hour on the 21s and 51s until 8:21 p.m. Last bus is at 10:21 p.m.

From South Omaha Transit Center

If you are starting at the SOTC (Located on the south side of Metro Community College’s South Campus. 30th and Edward Babe Gomez Ave.) the best option is also Route 3, heading northbound. Buses depart every 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the hour until 8 p.m. when they are hourly until 10 p.m. Take the 3 to the intersection of 40th and Davenport.

Returning buses can be caught at the west side of 40th and Davenport at 05s and 35s until 7:35, when it is hourly. The last southbound bus to the the SOTC will pass the castle at approximately 10:35 p.m.

Benson

To get to the Castlepalooza from Benson, catch Route 4 at 60th and Maple. Saturday schedule for that stop is every 30 minutes on the 26s and 56s until 8:56 p.m. Ride to 40th and Cuming and walk south on 40th Street to the Castle at Davenport (approx. 10 min.). If the half mile walk is more than you’re able to walk, you can cross to the northwest corner of 40th and Cuming and transfer to Route 3 which will take you directly to 40th and Davenport. You must purchase your transfer when you board the bus at 60th and Maple.

To return to Benson, you’ll need to time your departure from the Castle to account for the walk back to 40th and Cuming. The westbound bus stop is on the northeast corner of the intersection. The bus runs every 30 minutes on the 25s and 55s until 8:25 when it runs hourly. Last bus is at 10:25. If you are taking Route 3 back to 40th and Cuming, please note that the gap between the two routes is very narrow, and you will need to purchase a transfer when you board at 40th and Davenport.

Westroads

The easiest route from the Westroads Transit Center (located at the northwestern edge of the Westroads site) is Route 2. This bus departs, eastbound every 20 minutes on the 05s, 25s and 45s until 5:45 p.m. when it switches to every 30 minutes on the 15s and 45s. Ride to 40th and Dodge and walk the 1 block north to the Castle.

For your return ride, catch the westbound Route 2 at the northeast corner of 40th and Dodge. The route is every 20 minutes until 5:21 when it switches to every 30 minutes on the 21s and 51s.

Aksarben

The most direct route from Aksarben Village to catch Route 15 at the intersection of 67th and Center. The bus leaves Bergan Mercy every 30 minutes on the 21s and 51s (until 6:51 p.m. when it goes hourly) and should arrive at Aksarben shortly thereafter. Ride the bus to 40th and Farnam and walk the three blocks north to the Castle.

On the return trip, catch the westbound bus at 40th and Farnam. Bus runs every 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the hour until 7:30 p.m. when it runs hourly.

Downtown

Coming from Downtown, the most convenient route is Route 2. The bus departs 11th and Dodge every 20 minutes on the 15s, 35s and 55s until 5:15 p.m. when it operates every 30 minutes. Get off the bus at 40th and Dodge and walk one block north to the Castle.

Return trip catch the eastbound bus at the southwest corner of 40th and Dodge. Bus runs every 20 minutes on the 04s, 24s and 44s until 6:04 when it operates every 30 minutes.

Reminders

Check the weather before riding the bus and make sure you are dressed appropriately. Before boarding the bus, make sure you have everything you need for the trip, including hydration, sun screen, etc. Metro buses operate in traffic with all other vehicles, so departure and arrival times are approximate (public, real time bus tracking cannot get here fast enough!) so allow for a waiting window around the scheduled times.

We are looking forward to seeing you all at the Castlepalooza!

A Huge Thank You to all of our supporters during Omaha Gives!

29 May

We are very grateful for the support that rang in during Omaha Gives this year totaling our final donations to a whopping $12,860! This amount also includes a $1,000 participation prize that we received at midnight during the 24-hour challenge. With contributions like yours, this will help us move forward in a lot of new and exciting ways.

Recently, we’ve done quite a lot to advocate for safer and more efficient transportation options for everyone in the Omaha area. It’s important to us that we highlight those for any potential members who may be reading this. Below are a few wins that have taken place:

  • We launched member committees to further help educate and engage others on ways to stay proactive about transit options. The following committees are now actively seeking members: Biking Team, Election Team, Transit Team, Transparency Team, Urban Land Use Team, and the Walkability Team.
  • We initiated the intersection surveys throughout Omaha and reporting content to city officials for review. Learn about the nominated intersections on our blog.
  • We advocated for dialogue around the development of the Civic Center Site to ensure diverse and safe transportation options are considered. See blog post here.
  • We won the Friends of the Environment Award at Earth Day Omaha which came through a board nomination process. We are so honored to be recognized for this effort!
  • We developed a resource library at the Omaha Bicycle Company to help others stay informed about all things transportation.
  • We hired a Membership Coordinator!
  • We continue to help educate and engage through member-led Ride Alongs (traveling to different districts across the city via bus tours and historic site visits); co-organizing the Citizens’ Academy, at our Monthly Meetings and at our monthly Coffee Chats.

Building the Momentum

Last year we worked on our strategic plan, and identified goals we hope to achieve in the next few years according to our theory of change. Here’s where we stand:

  • We’ve continued to advocate for transparency from City Officials on topics like the Bond Issuing, reallocation of funds towards road safety and most importantly, invitations to the conversations of policy change before they are presented to legislature.
  • Continue to host coffee chats with local groups to build awareness and partnerships around safe transit options and healthy neighborhoods. So far this year, coffee chats included meet-ups with Seventy-Five North at the Highlander campus; Bcycle and the City Bike Sharing committee at the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge; Find out about other recent coffee chats here.
  • Educating our members through meetings, events and blog posts sharing active ways of engagement to secure a more diverse transit landscape across the Omaha Metropolitan Area.