The Latest with Omaha Trails

16 Jun

We have good news! Our advocacy resulted in change and we’re grateful for your help! The proposed Parks Rules that would have banned trail use between the hours of 11pm and 5am were not approved by City Council Tuesday. Instead, they’ve been laid over for two weeks so the new Parks Director can rewrite them to ensure that trails are accessible for transportation 24/7! Thanks to everyone who wrote in to encourage your City Councilor to support this change. We had 5 MSO members testify in support of trails remaining open!

Speaking of trails, we have some information to share on current closures and construction projects. Download the trails update below and check out the suggested detour along the Happy Hollow Boulevard Trail. Initially they thought the work would be complete by the end of May but it’s now been pushed back to the end of June.

A map of a trail detour just north of Dodge Street along Happy Hollow Boulevard. The normal trail on the west side of Happy Hollow is shown with a dotted red line since it's closed. The detour is in yellow on the east side of the street.

Vision Zero Coordinator Chat

3 Jun

We were lucky to spend some time talking with Omaha’s new Vision Zero Coordinator, Jeff Sobczyk, at our May Membership Meeting. It was full of robust discussion and Q&A. He’s positioned in the Public Works Department and feels that the Mayor’s involvement in the Vision Zero committee will create legitimacy around the program. He knows there’s a need for culture change and we as MSO are ready to help push that along!

“The role of the public is to kind of push a city to be a little bit more bold with what they want to accomplish and zero deaths in a 10 year period is very bold.”

-Jeff Sobczyk, VZ Coordinator for the City of Omaha

We talked about design over enforcement, the latest with Harney Street’s protected bike lane, and the potential for Mode Shift’s involvement in the new VZ Action Plan! It’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of perspective to get it right but we’re hopeful that it can be done in Omaha.

Scooters Make a Comeback

17 May
Six orange and black Spin scooters are parked at a charging station with a digital display on the right.
Spin Scooters parked in a hub with digital display.

We’ve been communicating with the folks at Spin Scooters recently about their operations and potential partnership with MSO. Some exciting opportunities are in the works around data collection and demonstration projects, but tomorrow we’re testifying in support of their pilot program and Spin Hubs. For now with the return of the scooter pilot, our main concerns are with clutter of the scooters on sidewalks, impeding access for mobility device users in particular. Gratefully, their Spin Hubs should remedy that issue. Items #75 & 76 on Tuesday’s City Council agenda involve scooters from Lime & Spin, so read up and weigh in with your thoughts. Find your City Council rep here and email them your testimony if you can’t make it to City Hall Tuesday at 2pm.

Our main suggestions include:

  • Create more places for people to safely use the scooters! This will benefit all road users, particularly during the pandemic when we really need more outdoor spaces.
  • Allow on-street parking for scooter hubs, bike share, and everyday bike corral parking!
  • Design > enforcement. Fining someone $100 for riding on a sidewalk is reactionary and won’t solve the issue. 
  • Use this as an opportunity to create a better transportation system, as many City Council candidates brought up this past election cycle. This is one small step and now is the time to act! 

To read our full letter of support, download it below.