Take Action to Make Harney St. Bikeway Permanent

10 Sep

This Tuesday, September 13, Omaha City Council will have a public hearing and vote on a budget amendment on studying and funding a permanent Harney Street bikeway, which has been a privately-funded pilot project since last July. We need everyone who supports this to email the Mayor & your City Council member (and others if you like) AND testify on Tuesday if you can! Read on for more details on the budget amendment, how to testify, and talking points.

The budget amendment:

…urges the Omaha Streetcar Authority to fully evaluate co-locating a permanent protected bike land on Harney Street or another location in the Redevelopment Plan Area provding comparable service as the existing pilot project; and
…urges Public Works to engage with Metro Smart Cities and Bike Walk Nebraska to evaluate the pilot project and consider options to extend the pilot project pending a full evalution of a permanent protected bike lane in the Redevelopment Plan Area and to fund any pilot extension and ensure future Capital Improvement Programs fund any permanent project.

Read the full resolution by Council members Festersen & Rowe here

Take Action

Email your city council member & the Mayor

  • Pete Festersen // District 1 – Pete.Festersen@cityofomaha.org
  • Juanita Johnson // District 2 – Juanita.Johnson@cityofomaha.org
  • Danny Begley // District 3 – Danny.Begley@cityofomaha.org
  • Vinny Palermo // District 4 – Vinny.Palermo@cityofomaha.org
  • Don Rowe // District 5 – Don.Rowe@cityofomaha.org
  • Brinker Harding // District 6 – Brinker.Harding@cityofomaha.org
  • Aimee Melton // District 7 – Aimee.Melton@cityofomaha.org

Mayor’s Hotline: Email: hotline@cityofomaha.org & Phone: 402-444-5555

Talking Points

  • The Bikeway is a success according to the metrics set by City Council as evaluated by Bike Walk Nebraska & Metro Smart Cities, the nonprofits chosen by the City to evaluate it.
  • Making the Bikeway permanent helps the City achieve many stated goals including:
    • Vision Zero: a goal of zero deaths in our streets. The Mayor committed to this in 2017.
    • Active Living: Mayor Stothert created an Active Living Advisory Council in 2014-15.
    • Stopping the Braindrain: the Mayor often touts this as a goal. Young people want improved bike infrastructure and diverse transportation options.
    • Reducing our Climate Change impact: the Mayor has promised an RFP to develop a City Climate Action Plan. Improving infrastructure and encouraging walking, biking, carpooling, and transit reduces carbon emissions from transportation.
  • Omaha is behind in meeting the City’s 2010 Environmental Element of the Master Plan goal for 200 miles of new bike infrastructure by 2035.
    • We should have 96 miles by the end of 2022 at a pace of 8 miles/yr from 2011 to 2035.
    • We only have 13.2 centerline miles (1 centerline mile = 1 mile of a road with bike lanes going in both directions) of on-street bike infrastructure. Or, 40 centerline miles including the on-street bike trails that are only marked by wayfinding signs beside the road.
    • Multiple city reports have identified a lack of East-West bike infrastructure over the past decade but just over 1 in 10 miles of new construction have been East-West.
    • Making the Harney Street bikeway permanent is a crucial step forward in achieving our 2035 goal of 200 miles of bike infrastructure, and we must continue to expand bike infrastructure to meet those goals.
  • Make it personal and tell your story about how you use the biking/the Bikeway and how it can help make the City better for everyone!

Another resource is the Bike Walk Nebraska has a template email here

Testify at City Council on Tuesday

The City Council agenda is here for Tuesday 9/13 and the budget amendments are up first on the agenda. There are 14 budget amendments on the agenda with this one on the Harney Street Bikeway being the 11th one, though most of them seem small (relative to the scale of the budget). The Amendment to make the Bikeway permanent will probably come up in the first hour of the meeting from 2pm to 3pm.

Tips for testifying:

  • You get 3 minutes to speak
  • You’ll need to start with your name and address (you can also say you’re a Mode Shift Omaha member if you like)
  • See talking points above
  • Tell a personal story/connect your story to the need to make the Bikeway permanent and help the City meet it’s stated goals.

You can testify two ways:

  • In person: you don’t need to register in advance, just show up at the Legislative Chambers at 1819 Farnam Street in downtown Omaha.
  • Virtually: you must register with the City Clerk by 4:30 pm on Monday 9/12. Email cityclerk@cityofomaha.org with this info:
    • Name
    • Address
    • Item(s) you wish to speak on: 16
    • Proponent

Watch the Livestream or Past Meetings

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