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Five Questions for . . . Curtis Wilson of Bike Union!

7 Jun

Curtis Wilson is the Operations Manager of Bike Union and he will be our guest (and host!) Friday, June 15th, for our monthly coffee chat. Bike Union is a full service bike shop and coffee house dedicated to providing workforce and personal development to youth aging out of foster care and to strengthening our community as a whole. We’ll talk to Curtis about the Bike Union model, and the good they do in the community, but first, we asked him five questions.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
I prefer to ride my bike any chance I get. Though most days I end up driving to work because throughout the day the youth in our program tend to require transportation to different appointments and errands.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
General public awareness/acceptance of multi-modal transportation and a true desire on motorists part to share the road. I have had more close calls with vehicles on my bike in Omaha than any other place I have lived.

3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
The Leavenworth/St. Mary’s bike lane gives us an example of what is possible in Omaha in regards to safer cycling routes. It would be great to see more miles of that type of infrastructure.

4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
As a cyclist I use my bike for transportation and recreation. Being on the road with motor vehicles and being concerned for my and my friends safety has given me an interest in multi-modal transportation. Also, a lot of our youth program participants use some form of multi-modal transportation on a daily basis.

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 see a network of protected bike lanes linking the entire city. With the emphasis being on linking every part of the city, so cycling could become a more feasible transportation solution for all people.

5 Questions for Mike Helgerson

18 Jan
Mike Helgerson is the Transportation and Data Manager at Metropolitan Area Planning Agency. It is his job to lead the transportation planning process for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area and Regional Planning Affiliation 18 (RPA-18); lead the administration of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and the development of the Long Range Transportation Plan; provide staff support in the development of the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP); oversee development and management of regional datasets and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is also our guest for our first Coffee Chat of 2018 — Friday, January 19th at 8 a.m. in our usual haunt, Spielbound, located at 3229 Harney St.
We asked Mike Five Questions.

1 What is your preferred mode of transportation?
I end up driving my car most of the time, but love taking advantage of walking or biking to the bus during the week. Our family loves walking around our neighborhood in Benson to visit the library or grab a bite to eat when it’s not winter.

2 What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Our development patterns are the biggest challenge. We need to take advantage of our opportunities to bring new people and jobs into the already developed areas of our community. This has the effect of making areas easier to serve with transit, and makes walking and biking more of a choice.

3 What, in your opinion, is the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I think the ORBT project is a tremendous opportunity to change perceptions and make the active, non-auto choice the easy choice. As a regional organization, its hard not to point to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge as a fantastic piece of bike infrastructure that brings Omaha and Council Bluffs together. Continue reading

Five Questions For Nick Weander

11 Dec

We wanted to get to know a bit more about what is happening in Sarpy County, so we invited Nick Weander from Olsson Associates to be the guest speaker for our December Coffee Chat, Friday, December 15, 2017 at 8 a.m. at Spielbound, 3229 Harney Street.

Nick is a certified professional transportation planner with experience in local, regional and statewide transportation programs. Mr. Weander has shown to be a problem solver with experience in developing and managing complex, multi-jurisdictional projects and programs. Nick’s proven experience in building relationships and fostering trust between local, state, and federal agencies and the public at large. Nick is a 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and completed his Master of Public Administration at UNO in 2011. Since leaving UNO, Nick has worked for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and now works as a Senior Planner at Olsson Associates. Current projects of note include the 30th Street Road Diet in Omaha, the Lincoln Transportation Implementation Strategy, and the 180th/192nd Street Grade and Alignment Study in Sarpy County.

We asked him five questions . . .

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

On the days that I am able, I prefer to walk to work. I can generally make that happen about 3 days a week. Project meetings, client visits, out of town work and other responsibilities often require me to have a car at my disposal.

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

Land use patterns and residential decision-making. Transportation (especially trip distance) should be a part of your consideration about where you live and work. I’m fortunate enough to live and work in a mixed use development here. We really need to do a better job of explaining/educating these trade-offs as a part of how people decide where to live and work. Continue reading