Kicking Off National Bike Month With Some History

1 May

May is National Bike Month, and to start the month, we’d like to share a little Omaha bicycle infrastructure history dug up by a friend of Mode Shift. The first attempt to mix motor vehicle and cycling infrastructure was in the mid-1970s and promoted as an energy saving alternative in those oil-insecure times. The public reactions and civic concerns will have a familiar ring to anyone who has participated in the dialog surrounding cycling infrastructure. Below are a series of articles that detail the development and dismantling of Omaha’s first dedicated on street cycling infrastructure.

The original concept was from the Jaycees who wanted a commuter route for cyclists (click image to enlarge)

The process was very fast (click image to enlarge)

Just as suddenly as they lanes were created, they were removed (click image to enlarge)

And the public was not pleased (click image to enlarge)

Federal transportation spending encouraged cities to develop bike infrastructure (click image to enlarge)

The next year, the city tried again, with a commuter route from downtown to the Med Center (click image to enlarge)

Some in media had strong feelings about the cycling lanes (click image to enlarge)

In a conflict that echoes across the decades, Planning and Public Works were on opposite sides, and parking was a greater concern than the safety of people on bicycles. (click image to enlarge)

And the cycle begins over again (click image to enlarge)

Have a safe and pleasant National Bike Month! If you want to review safety tips, please see our post “3′ Season Is Upon Us

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