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Five Questions for . . . Julie Reilly

13 Mar

As the executive director of Omaha by Design, Julie Reilly has some insight into the relationship between transportation and the built environment. We are pleased to have her as our guest speaker at this Friday, March 17th, Coffee Chat at 8:15 a.m. at Accelerando Coffee House in the Omaha Conservatory of Music. We asked her five questions.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?

Walking….whenever I can.

I also love to drive, though. The coordination of a human being with the mechanics and engineering of an automobile and the physics and character of the physical environment is pretty amazing. It’s something most people don’t think about but it’s complex and fascinating and fun. Continue reading

Five Questions for . . . Julie Harris

11 Dec

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

Five Questions for . . . Stephen Osberg

11 Nov

The November Coffee Chat is coming up Friday, November 18 and we wanted to get to know our special Guest, Stephen Osberg — one of the planners for the city of Omaha — a little better. So we asked him these questions.headshot-osberg-1

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?

I like to get around through a variety of means when I have that option, preferably on foot helped out by transit or on a bicycle. In the city, I like driving the least, yet I find myself behind a steering wheel for most trips these days.

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

I think we need to think about how we choose to prioritize the different uses of streets. Streets are our city’s most prevalent public spaces, and they are used for everything from outdoor dining and walking to driving or biking. We all use them in a variety of ways, but we tend to most closely associate them with driving. That focus ends up carrying over to our funding priorities. Our ongoing Complete Streets project is a a joint effort by the Public Works and Planning Departments to formalize the process by which we design our streets to achieve a greater balance between priorities. Continue reading