As the executive director of Omaha by Design, Julie Reilly has some insight into the relationship between transportation and the built environment. We are pleased to have her as our guest speaker at this Friday, March 17th, Coffee Chat at 8:15 a.m. at Accelerando Coffee House in the Omaha Conservatory of Music. We asked her five questions.
1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
Walking….whenever I can.
I also love to drive, though. The coordination of a human being with the mechanics and engineering of an automobile and the physics and character of the physical environment is pretty amazing. It’s something most people don’t think about but it’s complex and fascinating and fun.
2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
The greatest challenge is to create systems that will serve us well far into the future – when automated vehicles and the effects of climate change are part of our everyday lives.
3.What, in your opinion, the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
Creating and adopting Omaha’s Complete Streets Policy.
4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
As the daughter of an international Foreign Service engineer, I’ve been aware of transportation issues for as long as I can remember, experiencing lots of modal options – from camels and push carts on dirt roads to Japan’s bullet trains.
5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
I would change it to be perfectly-maintained examples of world-class architectural and landscape design.
Julie Reilly is the executive director of Omaha by Design. She arrived in Omaha in 1995 to lead the opening of the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center, which houses state-of-the-art technical laboratories to examine, evaluate and conserve a variety of works ranging from history to fine art objects to architectural fragments and complete interiors. She then worked at KANEKO as director of development and most recently served as executive director of the Joslyn Castle Trust, an Omaha nonprofit dedicated to preserving the landmark Joslyn Castle and estate grounds as an educational and cultural community resource.
A one-time physics major turned art major, Reilly received her undergraduate degree in anthropology from Towson State University and her graduate degree in the same discipline from George Washington University.