Omaha Gives! is happening this Wednesday, May 24, 2017. We are very grateful for your support and hope you will continue to include Mode Shift in your Omaha Gives giving this year. Please schedule or make a gift here.
We’ve done quite a lot this past year to advocate for safer and more efficient transportation options for everyone in the Omaha area. Here are some highlights in our three areas of focus:
As part of our Transparency Project, Mode Shift studied the City of Omaha’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) for over a year. The report of our findings are included in a series of blog posts. We found that:
- The CIP data are incomplete, the content is out of date, and the totals don’t add up;
- Master plans are ignored and the project ranking process specified in the City Charter is not followed; and
- There is little to no opportunity for citizens to provide input on the process.
We’ve also filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain data missing from the CIP. We’ll use this information to work toward getting the City to create a transparent, understandable, and accurate CIP.
We also initiated our Safe Crossings Project this past year. Volunteers tested a data collection tool last spring (see the results here), spent the winter refining it, and hope to collect data again this summer or fall. Thanks to work by one of our members, Cindy Tefft, and others, some improvements to the 72 & Dodge intersection were made—but issues at this intersection and others still continue and we’ll be working to get them addressed.
Over the winter, we created a program to bring attention to the need for better snow removal from sidewalks, including creating snow removal cards and information sheets you can print and share with neighbors and businesses.
We have also supported Midtown on the Move, a pilot project in the Blackstone, Gifford Park, Joslyn Castle and Leavenworth neighborhoods to encourage people to #switchatrip once a week from driving to instead walk, bike, bus or rideshare instead.
We are partnering with The Hunger Collaborative, Bike Union Mentoring Project, Live Well Omaha, and Omaha Bikes on a “Commuter Tutor” initiative to provide support to individuals in need to help them navigate getting around via bicycling, walking or transit. The initiative is still in development.
Finally, we were active this city election cycle, making sure transportation was part of the discussion among mayoral and city council candidates. We conducted a questionnaire with candidates and submitted questions at various forums. We also hosted mayoral candidates at our monthly member meetings and provided an analysis of their positions on key issues.
Education & Engagement
This past year, one of our board members was accepted into the USDOT’s Every Place Counts Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C., where she was able to provide input on their Leadership Toolkit. Read about her experience here.
In addition, we supported UNO’s Sustainability Launchpad on transportation, and had time for one-on-one consulting help from Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns.
We’ve been able to present or table at more events this past year, including at the Nebraska U.S. Green Building Council monthly lunch and learns, Omaha Together One Community Issues Cafe, Earth Day Omaha, UNO Transportation Showcase, UNMC Sustainability Fair, Outlook Nebraska Visually Impaired Services Fair, the Green Omaha Coalition’s Pecha Kucha event, and others. Let us know if you’d like us to talk with your organization or group!
A few months ago, we worked on updating our strategic plan, including drafting a theory of change and identified five goals we hope are achieved in the next 3-5 years:
1. The City of Omaha will follow the City Charter and create a transparent, understandable, and accurate Capital Improvement Program (CIP).
We’ve already started this work identifying the areas in need of focus in our CIP Analysis.
Initially, we’ll be working on highlighting problem intersections and advocating for safety improvements, especially along the Dodge St. Bus Rapid Transit route.
3. A continually-funded city-wide biking infrastructure program (of at least $500,000 each year) will be included in the CIP.
We’ve already contacted City Council members to request this and Councilman Festersen has made a request that funding be included. See an example of the letter we sent here.
4. A continually-funded city-wide walking infrastructure program (of amount $TBD each year) included in the CIP.
5. Increased funding for transit (of amount $TBD each year) through the city CIP and/or Metro Transit.
Finally, we are in the process of creating a membership program so that we can further leverage our connections in the community and create a broad-based and sustainable source of revenue for the organization. We plan to kick off our first membership drive on August 23, 2017. Watch for more information about that coming soon.
Your donation through Omaha Gives! will helps us to achieve these goals.