A friend of Mode Shift Omaha sent us the photograph below, with the accompanying text:
This is the section on Dodge Street I was telling you about. Both sides of the sidewalk are closed so there is no pedestrian access. On the north side, a sign says “Sidewalk closed: Use other side”…
We have discussed in the past that this is not the norm in other cities of similar size. Other cities require that construction projects that alter or inhibit transportation access submit and execute a transportation management plan (TMP) that reroutes or otherwise accommodates the traffic that is being affected by the construction. Omaha has no such requirement. It never has.
This isn’t some recent decision or a cost cutting device of our fiscally conservative administration. Not requiring a TMP is how business has always been done in Omaha. Consequently, we run into situations where two concurrent projects can entirely eliminate pedestrian access to a major transportation corridor. Without sidewalk access, we eliminate people walking and people using public transportation as safe modes of transportation in the area — and this is on a major bus route near critical health and governmental resources.
With Omaha’s stated objective of becoming a Vision Zero city, it is important that city policies account for the safety of all traffic, not merely the convenience of vehicular traffic. Requiring developers to manage the traffic their projects interrupt is a good way to keep everyone accountable and safe, regardless of their mode of transportation.
UPDATE: Keen-eyed member, Cindy Tefft, saw this example of protecting the pedestrian path, even if construction closes the sidewalk.
This is the same area brought to our attention last year. Updates to the site plan include protecting a pedestrian path even while the sidewalk is closed. One note, while the protected walk way is an improvement, there remains an issue of accessibility. For people using mobility devices, the absence of a ramp to transition from the sidewalk to the street level.