We wanted to get to know a bit more about what is happening in Sarpy County, so we invited Nick Weander from Olsson Associates to be the guest speaker for our December Coffee Chat, Friday, December 15, 2017 at 8 a.m. at Spielbound, 3229 Harney Street.
Nick is a certified professional transportation planner with experience in local, regional and statewide transportation programs. Mr. Weander has shown to be a problem solver with experience in developing and managing complex, multi-jurisdictional projects and programs. Nick’s proven experience in building relationships and fostering trust between local, state, and federal agencies and the public at large. Nick is a 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and completed his Master of Public Administration at UNO in 2011. Since leaving UNO, Nick has worked for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and now works as a Senior Planner at Olsson Associates. Current projects of note include the 30th Street Road Diet in Omaha, the Lincoln Transportation Implementation Strategy, and the 180th/192nd Street Grade and Alignment Study in Sarpy County.
We asked him five questions . . .
What is your preferred mode of transportation?
On the days that I am able, I prefer to walk to work. I can generally make that happen about 3 days a week. Project meetings, client visits, out of town work and other responsibilities often require me to have a car at my disposal.
What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Land use patterns and residential decision-making. Transportation (especially trip distance) should be a part of your consideration about where you live and work. I’m fortunate enough to live and work in a mixed use development here. We really need to do a better job of explaining/educating these trade-offs as a part of how people decide where to live and work.
What, in your opinion, the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I would have to say Metro transit. What they’re able to do on a short budget is very impressive, Curt and his team do a great job with limited resources. There are also some exciting new mixed use developments that are underway and I think they will assist in supporting additional multimodal options.
How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
I grew up around transportation and engineering. My grandfather is a transportation engineer, my father is one as well, I have a few uncles who work in the field and my brother is a combat engineer. It’s always been a part of my life.
If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
The realist in me would like to see our signal system upgrade magically completed. Understanding that we won’t be able to easily fix our land use issues, it would be nice to squeeze as much performance as possible out of our signal network to optimize the investments we’ve already made as a community.