April Coffee Chat Recap

14 May

Here is a recap of the exciting and innovative projects presented at the April 2015 Coffee Chat, along with a reminder:

Next Wednesday, May 20, is Omaha Gives day. Help Mode Shift meet its goal with your participation.

Your participation will enable Mode Shift to advocate for a better city and for projects such as the ones described below.


The April Mode Shift Coffee Chat was hosted by Noddle Companies at their Aksarben Village offices, where their team shared work planned in Council Bluffs:

  • River’s Edge, a new mixed-use development to the east of Hanafan Park, will provide an active destination at the eastern terminus of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge
  • West Broadway Corridor Plan could radically alter the western half of Council Bluffs. Both projects will greatly increase options for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users to move about Council Bluffs.

201504_CoffeeChat

The mixed-use River’s Edge development will embed active transportation networks in its DNA. The existing trail network along the Missouri River will feed into the development via a new landing ‘porch’ being designed at the foot of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge. The ‘porch’ is an open space envisioned as an extension of Hanafan Park, that transitions into one of the primary public space elements of River’s Edge, currently being called the Piazza. While the Piazza is a road providing connectivity along the west side of the development, it’s designed as a curbless street similar to the Dutch Woonerf, which can be closed to vehicular traffic during events. Avenue A will provide the spine through the development and will feature the metropolitan region’s first and very long overdue separated cycle track. A series of larger infrastructural improvements at the I-480 / I-29 interchange will allow easier access into the development from the Interstate, and from the West Broadway corridor.

The West Broadway Corridor Plan aims to drastically improve the West Broadway corridor with new development and improved transportation infrastructure. When complete, Downtown Omaha and Downtown Council Bluffs will have more of a seamless connection, which could have the effect of altering how we think of the metropolitan region. With the reclaiming a railroad right of way, judicious land use measures, and working with the neighborhoods, Council Bluffs has the potential to lead the region in providing safe and well-designed active transportation networks and seamlessly included into new development. The plan will improve pedestrian circulation through the use of better crosswalks, sidewalks, trails and parks. A new recreation trail linked to the wider network already in place will expand options for recreation cyclists connecting to downtown Council Bluffs, while there is hope that the Bus Rapid Transit line planned in Omaha can be extended to Downtown Council Bluffs. Various right-of-way scenarios include options for safe sidewalks, transit lanes, cycle tracks, and landscaped buffers.

Both projects are well positioned to greatly improve connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders throughout the city of Council Bluffs. If the various elements are implemented as currently planned, Council Bluffs will join other leading cities in the country that understand the benefits of providing well designed facilities for active transportation, while making a big leap towards unifying the Omaha metropolitan region. The City of Omaha will have many good examples to study as it follows Council Bluffs in providing transportation options that enhance quality of life and opportunities to live, work, and play.

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