Search results for 'harney'

Signs of Progress…(literally)

28 Oct

An astute follower of Mode Shift Omaha sent us a note stating that both sides of the sidewalk on Farnam Street in Blackstone are closed due to construction.  This citizen reported their concerns to the Mayor’s Hotline and to the construction company. We appreciate their work letting all parties know what they found and their concerns.

Shortly thereafter, a walkability team member was walking on the south side of Farnam and heading east.  About a block before the construction site, at 38th Street, we discovered that either Public Works or the Construction company put in a pedestrian detour. 

Pedestrian detour sign at 38th and Farnam

The detour routes sidewalk users south toward Harney Street.  At 38th and Harney the detour directs you across the street to the sidewalk on the south.  (The north side of Harney is also closed due to construction). Users of all modes of transportation should be cautious as there is no light or stop sign here.

Pedestrian Detour sign at 38th and Harney

You then head east on Harney Street and the detour is marked all the way to 36th Street.  

At 36th and Harney there are crosswalks and lights that allow a pedestrian to head back north to Farnam and get back on the path to their final destination.

We want to give a shout out to the Mayor, Public Works and the construction company as we consider this progress.  Construction will always be with us, and while inconvenient during the process, is often a sign of progress in our city.  This level of thoughtfulness that considers the needs of our most Vulnerable Road Users during construction is a step forward and puts us in a better position to achieve the goals of Vision Zero.  We hope this is a new normal that will be replicated and improved upon in all parts of the city.

Omaha at Human Scale: The Bike Commuter

16 Nov

Scott Ussery is a Mode Shift Omaha member and regular bike commuter who rides from his home in Papillion to his job as a statistician for an insurance company in Omaha.

Scott holding his bike

I use the Strava app to track my mileage, and as of November 5, I’ve ridden 4,200 miles in 2018, a lot of which was my work commute.

On the days I ride, I zigzag through neighborhoods past schools, through the LaVista Sports Complex and then east on Harrison by Seymour Smith Park to the Keystone Trail. At Karen Park I cut over to the South Omaha Trail and ride it all the way to the Field Club Trail. I’ll brave Leavenworth, eastbound, until I can bear north on Turner Blvd. When I get to Harney I can choose to grab a coffee from a favorite local coffee house, or head straight into work at Physicians Mutual Insurance Company. The whole commute is 12-13 miles, one-way, and takes a little over an hour.

The ride home is a little longer. I’ll continue south on the Keystone, past Harrison, to the West Papio trail. Sometimes, I’ll meet up with friends along the route and we’ll finish the commute together. Those are some of the best rides.

I sometimes do a multi-modal commute, cycling up to the Park-n-Ride at Tara Plaza just east of 84th. This is the southern extent of Route 93, the express route serving Papillion and Ralston. I’ll put my bike on the bus’ front rack and ride the bus downtown. In the evening, I’ll ride home on my bike.

Sun halo on the creek levee

When you’re riding your bike, especially early in the morning, you get a totally different perspective than you get from driving in a car. I enjoy the solitude, the opportunity to listen to your environment, see the world from a different vantage point. You get to see how the rising sun creates a halo around your shadow on the creek levee. You hear cardinals and jays call out to one another. Wild turkeys and Canadian geese wander around the trail keeping you vigilant.  

Turkeys on the trail

I like rolling past people’s vintage cars in the neighborhoods, and taking notice of the swelling creeks after a rain. The murals and graffiti under the bridges along the trails are something you can’t see from the roads. And at night you get the moon! A full moon is impossibly bright when you’re riding down the Keystone Trail and the darkness of a new moon is complete.

Moon over the Keystone Trail

Not to say there aren’t challenges to commuting by bike. People driving cars cannot for the life of them accurately judge the speed of someone on a bike. I’ve learned to use routes that have little or light car traffic. I still encounter cars pulling out in front of me or cutting me off to make a turn. It’s a real frustration.

But the frustration isn’t greater than the joys I get from the people I’ve met and got to know on the trails, coffee shops and other watering holes around town. I’ve met lots of riders through past Winter Bike Challenges, Live Well Omaha Commuter Challenges, National Bike Challenges, Corporate Cycling Challenge and various organized coffee rides, charity rides and theme rides. Many of us are “connected” on Strava where we give kudos to one another’s riding efforts, comment about rides, trails or photos and/or plan upcoming rides together. There is an entire two-wheeling community out there and it’s been a pleasure to be a part of it.


Five Questions for Legislative District 8

13 Mar
2018 is a legislature election year, and we are going to make an effort to get all the candidates for Nebraska State Senate in to meet our members before the general election. To start us off, we have the term-limited seat of Sen. Burke Harr, LD-8. Harr’s seat is contested by three candidates, (in alphabetical order) Mina Davis, Josh Henningsen, and Megan Hunt. These are our guests for our Coffee Chat — Friday, March 16. at 8 a.m. in our usual haunt, Spielbound, located at 3229 Harney St.
We asked them each Five Questions.

Mina Davis

Mina is 25 years old, a data scientist at Creighton and a community organizer at heart. Mina is also the Vice Chair of Chapter Building for Young Democrats of America, an active member in her local chapter of Young Dems, and the Secretary/Treasurer of Douglas County Farmers Union.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
My preferred mode of transportation is light rail.
2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
I believe the greatest challenge is getting political leadership on the state and municipal levels to embrace a transportation/infrastructure policies that are innovative and environmentally friendly.
3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I believe the greatest multi-modal success is the ORBT bus. I really enjoyed hearing about it and hope to see more projects like this come to fruition.
4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
I came to have an interest because I grew up in cities that had fantastic transportation systems. I also at one point did not have a car and to be left in a place where there was not a good infrastructure inspired me to be a more ardent advocate for transportation policies that work for all.
5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
 I would love to have a simple light rail/bus system that was actually on time and could connect all parts of the city. I would love to drive my car less. Continue reading