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What do you do when there is nowhere to go? The need to plan for everyone.

19 Oct

Mode Shift member, Scott Ussery, brought a troubling circumstance to our attention at the intersection of 38th Avenue and Leavenworth. He wrote to us, “there is building demolition/construction on the Southwest corner of 38th Ave that closed the sidewalk along the south side of Leavenworth and construction on the Northeast corner of 38th Ave that has closed the sidewalk along the north side of Leavenworth.”

In other words, there was no safe path east or westbound on Leavenworth between 38th Street and 39th Street.

View to the west, you can see the sidewalks blocked on the north and south side of Leavenworth with no safe crossing or detour. Note pedestrian walking in the street on south side. Photo: Scott Ussery

This is not the norm in other cities. Most municipalities require a plan for how traffic will be managed around work zones. In order to get a project approved, you must submit a Traffic Management Plan (TMP) that details what work will be done, what affects it will have on traffic — all traffic, from vehicle lanes to bike lanes to pedestrian infrastructure — and what you will do to minimize the disruption. Continue reading

Pilot Transit Tour was a success!

13 Oct

Last weekend, we piloted our Transit Tourism program that organizes fun outings for people looking to learn more about Omaha’s transit system — where it goes and how to use it. We hosted a group of ten participants ranging from small children to retirees. Our first route took the group from Crossroads Mall to the Old Market.

The day started cold and rainy, but concluded with a pleasant, sunny fall afternoon. We started the day touring the Czech/Slovak Museum housed in the former Chili’s at Crossroads Mall. In addition to the exhibits of Czech crystalware and accordions, the museum had a large, illustrated history of the Czech people set up in the common area of the Mall.

Our first leg of the transit journey began with the walk from the museum to the bus stop. This walk highlighted a number of challenges that transit users encounter. First: how to get from the museum to the sidewalk. There are no obvious or marked pathways for a pedestrian to leave Crossroads. There is a sidewalk that connects to 72nd Street on the east end, but to the south, west and north, there isn’t a clear pathway for pedestrians. Fortunately, Curtis, our guide for the day, knew about a narrow pedestrian ramp that connected the parking lot to the sidewalk on the south side of the mall property. Continue reading

Shifting Modes Doesn’t Have to Be All or Nothing: The Car-Lite Lifestyle

26 Jun

Curtis Bryant is a long time friend of Mode Shift Omaha and occasional contributor to our blog.

The book How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, by Chris Balish, introduced me to this continuum: car dependent > car lite > car free. The ideas of being car dependent and car free turn the conventional assumption that cars mean freedom on its head. Instead, it assumes that freedom comes from reduced reliance on cars.*

Because I drive a car and also use transit, bicycles, and my feet for transportation, I’m in the “car lite” camp. Car-lite living does offer freedom. For example, when I’m going downtown and don’t want to pay for parking or waste time and gas looking for a parking place, I know how to use transit or my bicycle (or both on the same trip) instead of driving. A car-dependent person might assume that the choice is between driving and not going. I know that parking is a choice, and that knowledge is power. Continue reading