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Five Questions for . . . Daniel Lawse

12 Jun

As Verdis’ Group’s Chief Century Thinker (CCT), “Daniel brings a passion to cultivate adaptive and resilient solutions for communities and organizations to thrive now and for generations to come.” Daniel is one of the organizers of the the Midtown on the Move initiative and he will be our guest at the upcoming monthly Coffee Chat, June 16th.

He serves on the Board of Directors for the Metro Transit Authority, the Advisory Board for the University of Nebraska’s Center for Urban Sustainability, and Creighton University’s Energy Technology Program Board. He is part of Omaha by Design Environmental Element Implementation Team. In 2012, Daniel was recognized with MAPA‘s Regional Citizenship Award and is one of the Omaha Jaycees’ 2010 Ten Outstanding Young Omahans. He was recently recognized nationally as an Aspen Environment Forum Scholar.

We asked him five questions:

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

  1. Multi-modal. I primarily walk and bus. If I have time, walking is my favorite because I get to interact with the place I am in. Take in the architecture, notice the natural spaces and urban wildlife, and greet other people.

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5 Questions with . . . Geoff DeOld

15 May

1 What is your preferred mode of transportation?

Walking. Our first five years living in New York we lived in Lower Manhattan and I was able to walk to work from the first two apartments we lived in, on top of being able to walk to grocery stores and other day to day amenities. When we moved to Brooklyn I was able to commute via subway and cycle in a connected bike network, but it was never quite the same as walking. Now my commute is down a flight of stairs from our apartment to our design studio.

2 What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?

Our current urban form. Even in the eastern sections of the city that were developed pre-postwar (pre-war?) that have slightly higher densities, a continuous street grid, and clusters of commercial districts leftover from the streetcar days, there is a lot of underdeveloped urban substance that can be difficult to bridge if walking or on bike. Walking or cycling should be interesting and stimulating so it doesn’t feel like a chore.

3 What, in your opinion, is the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?

Probably the commitment to build our first BRT line. Omaha is a very spread out, and well-designed rapid transit could make transit feasible outside of the downtown and midtown sections of the city.

4 How did you come to have an interest in transportation?

A love of cities. The best way to use a city is through its transportation system.

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 really, really want the bus system to be more useful and reliable. BRT is great, but the rest of the bus system has the potential to serve a greater population spread out across the rest of the city who choose or need to use public transportation. I worry the BRT won’t be as effective as it could be if the rest of Metro’s system isn’t able to effectively serve new ridership.

The Transparency Project: Part 4 – What Are the CIP Projects? Where Are They?

8 May

This is the fourth post from the Transparency series, following the steps of the Mode Shift CIP game board. We continue our study of the City of Omaha’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), with a look at these questions:

  • What are the CIP transportation projects?
  • Where are they located?

What are the CIP Projects?

Mode Shift’s CIP database classifies the projects by Work Type:

  • Automobile Capacity – Projects that add lanes of automobile traffic or otherwise allow more automobile capacity.
  • Automobile Infrastructure – Replacement of automobile infrastructure that has reached its end of life, without any increase to automobile capacity.
  • Transit – Improvements to the public transit system. These projects have no City funds and are not run by the City, so perhaps they don’t belong in the CIP. But the BRT project is in the CIP, so we are including it as well.
  • Streetscape – Improvements to a street front such as wider sidewalks, bump out at street crossings, better lighting, and bicycle parking.
  • Pedestrian – Improvements for pedestrian traffic, such as ADA compliant sidewalks, foot bridges, etc.
  • Cycling – Improvements to cycling routes such as protected lanes, painted lanes, signage, etc.
  • Other – Green street corridor study and master plan, and city-wide safety projects.

In all cases, it is the driver behind the project that dictates the category. So if a widening project also replaces aging infrastructure, adds ADA compliant sidewalks and access to a cycling trail, it is considered an Automobile Capacity project, because none of the other improvements would occur if not for the driving desire to widen the street. Mode Shift relied on the CIP project descriptions to apply the Work Type to each project.

The $322 million of Capital Budget spanning from 2017 to 2022 is split as follows:

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