Update on Proposed Carriage/Pedicab Ban

16 Dec

As you have probably already heard, the Omaha City Council decided last week to delay voting on the proposed ordinance to ban carriages, pedicabs, and other not-very-well-defined[1] modes of active transportation from operating around the TD Ameritrade Park during the College World Series (CWS), so that the Omaha Police Department (OPD) and opponents could work together to come up with a better solution to the ban.

As several city officials and others commented during the City Council meeting (see a link to a video of the Dec. 6 meeting here; item #62), traffic flow during the CWS went very well last year—even better than expected—so a ban, in the words of one commentator at the meeting, seems to be “a solution looking for a problem.” We agree. There has yet to be a case made for banning these active modes of transportation from operating around the CWS. The majority of City Council members indicated as much during the Council meeting last week as did commentators on last Sunday’s KETVKaleidoscope.

We welcome continued conversations about how we can keep these entrepreneurial, fun, active and environmentally-friendly modes of transportation a safe and productive part of the CWS.  To this end, a small group of pedicab and carriage business owners and transportation advocates are working on ideas to take to the OPD.  Please add your suggestions and comments below.

The ordinance will be discussed and possibly voted on at the January 10, 2012 City Council meeting. So, it’s not too late for you to letyourCityCouncilrepresentativeknow what you think about the issue.

We noted in an earlier post that a ban would set a terrible precedent and message that Omaha does not support small businesses or choice in how we get around the city. It also runs counter to efforts by LiveWell Omaha to reduce obesity and improve health through active transportation in our City (thank you DC.StreetsBlog for making this observation) and, as another commentator at the City Council meeting pointed out, runs counter to efforts by NCAA athletic departments around the country to promote green initiatives.  

 


[1] The wording of the ordinance may lead to the conclusion that baby carriages, bicycles with Burley trailers, and tandems might also be subject to the ban, as pointed out by one commentator at the City Council meeting.

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