The Omaha area has more than 120 miles of paved multi-use trails that enable people on bikes or on foot to safely commute to school, work or other destinations; or to use for recreational purposes. The Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District and City of Omaha Parks, Recreation and Public Property are the two public agencies that play key roles in building and maintaining this trail system.
Mode Shift invited Dennis Bryers from Omaha Parks and Recreation to our May Coffee Chat to talk about the latest updates on Omaha’s trails.
One exciting piece of news is that Omaha Parks and Recreation will be implementing a geographic information system (GIS) to track its trail signs and maintenance requests. In the past, Omaha Parks and Recreation has not been able to adequately address trail user concerns due to lack of funds and poor communication between the Parks Maintenance department and the Parks Planning department. With GIS tracking, the Parks department will know the exact coordinates of broken, missing, or poor quality signs and other problems on the trail. This system should open doors to greater citizen input for trail improvements.
Omaha Parks and Recreation is looking for volunteers to help with beta testing of the GIS project this summer. Volunteers will help collect data to create a new layer on an interactive map to show the locations of signage, stairs, railways, and more. Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved and we will pass on your contact information to Dennis.
This project is a result of citizen feedback. Dennis emphasized the importance of informing the Mayor, the City Council, and the Omaha Parks and Recreation Director, Brook Bench, about the importance of Omaha’s trails to citizens. If you agree, please contact these folks to let them know we need to continue to improve the trail system in Omaha.
Here are some other trail updates from Dennis:
South Omaha Trail – Phase 2 Construction
This last phase of construction involves building the last section of the South Omaha Trail from 45th & Dayton to the southern terminus of the Field Club Trail at S. 35th and Vinton Streets. The section of the trail from S. 35th & Vinton Streets to the apartments at 40th & “D” Street opened for use starting June 1, 2016. The complete trail will be open for use after September 30, 2016. Also, roughly 79 new trees will be planted along this portion of the trail in the fall of 2016. The South Omaha trail will connect the Keystone and Field Club trails. This is huge for active transportation connectivity in Omaha.
Turner Boulevard Trail Extension Project
The City is also working on extending the Turner Boulevard Trail from Turner Park and Dodge St north along the west side of N. 30th Street to Cuming Street. Work on this section is just about complete. Sometime after the 1st of June work on the side trail along the south side of Burt Street from N. 30th to N. 20th Streets will begin. This will involve construction of an 8-foot wide trail. Work will finish in fall of 2016.
Turner Boulevard Trail at Pacific Street
The City is also in the process of hiring a design consultant to develop the construction documents for the last three tenths of a mile section of the Turner Boulevard trail along Pacific Street from S. 36th and Pacific Streets to the Field Club Trail. Funding permitting, this section would be constructed in 2017. Once completed, it will provide continuous trail connections from the Creighton campus to the Keystone Trail at Karen Park and beyond.
Riverfront Trail North Phase 4
Design for the final one mile section of the Riverfront Trail North along Abbott Drive from Miller’s Landing Park to Kiwanis Park is in the design phase. This project also includes the design of the Levi Carter Park Trail along the north and west sides of Carter Lake in Levi Carter Park. The project should be out for bid this fall. Once constructed, this will provide a continuous paved trail from Heartland of America Park north to the Washington County line and beyond.
Riverfront Trail North at New USS Omaha Memorial (Levi Carter Park)
Relocation of a section of the trail where the new USS Omaha Memorial is being constructed has been completed and is once again open for use.
West Papio Trail at Barrington Park
This trail has been closed in Barrington Park since May of 2015 due to roughly 150 to 200 linear feet of creek embankment that failed back in May of 2015. Restoration will begin sometime in June and should be completed by the end of July 2016.