As Omaha shakes off the chill of winter and welcomes the dawn of spring, we are beginning to see the kind of weather that makes us want to jump on our bikes and ride. With more people on bikes hitting the road, it’s a good time to review safe cycling and driving practices to keep everyone safe while sharing the road.
First, we encourage all people on bikes to ride to their level of comfort. If you don’t feel safe on the street, no worries. Omaha has an expanding system of trails for people to walk and cycle. Some people feel more comfortable riding on sidewalks. In Omaha it is legal to ride on sidewalks, except in the Old Market. A good rule of thumb, however, is to ride no faster than a pedestrian can move. Speeding down sidewalks on a bike can be dangerous, especially with driveways and intersections where people in cars aren’t looking for, or expecting, a fast moving person on a bike in the pedestrian space.
Also, a quick reminder: when sharing a space (such as a trail or sidepath) with people walking and people on bikes, always make sure to give a voiced notice when passing. A quick, “on your left!” will avoid startling someone unaware of your presence. Continue reading
As we bring 2016 to a close, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on transportation-related accomplishments and challenges over the past year. Here are our top ten transportation stories:
1. Historic Buildings Saved from Parking Partisans
Mode Shift board member Sarah J. rallying to Save the Specht
Thanks to the mobilization efforts of Restoration Exchange Omaha and Mode Shift Omaha, as well as your letter writing, testimonies, and rallying, Omaha Performing Arts announced last mid-February they would no longer pursue their efforts to acquire and then demolish three century-old buildings to create unnecessary parking to be constructed in their place. Our voices DO matter (at least sometimes)!
2. Victories for Bike Safety
There were some big wins across the state for bicycling this past year. One, thanks to the work of the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance, was the approval of LB 716, which gave people on bikes the same legal right of way in crosswalks as people on foot. The bill also eliminated an outdated mandatory side path provision that was in the statutes. The law went into effect on July 21, 2016. Also, kudos to Lincoln for being the first city in the state to implement a Curb-Protected Bike Lane in a core area of downtown Lincoln. Perhaps someday we’ll see the same in Omaha, such as the protected bike lane on Harney Street featured in the Transportation Master Plan? In the meantime, we’re grateful to the City of Omaha Parks and Recreation for getting the South Omaha Trail finished; this is a much-needed addition to enable a connected, safe riding route from the Keystone to midtown and downtown Omaha. Continue reading
Friday, December 16, 2016, we welcome Julie Harris as the guest speaker at our monthly coffee chat. Julie is the executive director of the Nebraska Bicycling Alliance and chair of the Omaha Mayor’s Active Living Advisory Committee.
We asked her five questions:
1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
I love a good bus/bike combo. I try to use my bike whenever I can, which for me, ends up being for short trips for errands. When I travel, I usually make my logistical decisions based on active transportation availability – when I arrive at my destination, I challenge myself to see if I can make it through the trip without using a car.
2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
I hate to take the easy way out and say funding, but I think it is funding. Political will for projects is much easier to build if funding isn’t an issue. Most of the cities we think about as having excellent bike/pedestrian/transit infrastructure had/have a leg up with a large grant or a dedicated funding stream. Continue reading