Mode Shift goes to Washington

23 Nov

by Jennifer Kephart

Last month I joined 74 other transportation advocates who had been selected to participate in the USDOT’s Every Place Counts Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. The purpose was to help us understand how transportation decisions are made and how we could become more involved in the process. We also had the opportunity to see the first version of their transportation toolkit and provide feedback.

We were given a copy of the initial version of the toolkit so it could serve as a reference during several workshops throughout the day and provide feedback. The workshops focused on how transportation affects our lives, transportation decisions are made, and understanding the diverse perspectives that go into the transportation decision making process.

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What surprised me about the Academy?

A lot. It was eye opening to see how many people feel like they are alone advocating for smarter transportation solutions in their community. Transportation is something that affects everyone, yet hardly anyone knows anything about it and even fewer people know how to advocate for better systems. It really made me appreciate the smart, passionate, dedicated people at Mode Shift and the community they have built. Continue reading

Five Questions for . . . Stephen Osberg

11 Nov

The November Coffee Chat is coming up Friday, November 18 and we wanted to get to know our special Guest, Stephen Osberg — one of the planners for the city of Omaha — a little better. So we asked him these questions.headshot-osberg-1

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?

I like to get around through a variety of means when I have that option, preferably on foot helped out by transit or on a bicycle. In the city, I like driving the least, yet I find myself behind a steering wheel for most trips these days.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?

I think we need to think about how we choose to prioritize the different uses of streets. Streets are our city’s most prevalent public spaces, and they are used for everything from outdoor dining and walking to driving or biking. We all use them in a variety of ways, but we tend to most closely associate them with driving. That focus ends up carrying over to our funding priorities. Our ongoing Complete Streets project is a a joint effort by the Public Works and Planning Departments to formalize the process by which we design our streets to achieve a greater balance between priorities. Continue reading

September 2016 Coffee Chat with Greg Youell from MAPA

10 Oct

We welcomed Greg Youell, Executive Director of the Omaha – Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA), to our September 16, 2016 Coffee Chat. According to its website:

MAPA is a voluntary association of local governments. It was created in 1967 under the terms of an interlocal agreement to provide a forum for coordinating local planning and development activities. As an organization of local governments, we exist to help member governments address problems that are regional in scope and may cross jurisdictional boundaries.

14355755_1141377012623749_1387272653530084277_nThis includes transportation planning. As Greg noted, any project that gets federal funds has to go through MAPA’s planning process. Just as the City of Omaha has its Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which lists projects that are planned to be implemented in Omaha in the next six years, MAPA also has its Transportation Improvement Program (TIP), which does the same for regional projects. Continue reading