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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

ConAgra and the Riverfront — a turning point

13 Dec

After the announced contraction of the Omaha workforce in 2016, ConAgra began plans to expand its Old Market campus with acres of new parking. Back when the ConAgra campus was built, it tried to conceal parking lots into brick-faced structures and then built more than enough parking for all of its buildings.


The  photo above shows the ground between ConAgra and the Harriman Dispatch Center of Union Pacific. This area used to have 21 trees and acres of green grass in a swale. Now there spreads an area prepared for pavement for 99 parking spaces, dedicating the land to only one purpose. Once this dedicated parking area is complete, ConAgra has three more construction permits filed with the City of Omaha to build three more parking expanses after this one on its Old Market campus.

The questions we have to ask: what are we doing; what do we want? Continue reading

Tips to Enjoy the Walking Commute

20 Aug

This summer marks one year of walking to work. That doesn’t mean occasionally walking to work, or even mostly walking to work. I’m talking about walking to work, every single day, rain or shine. I’m like a postal carrier, only I’m not weighed down with junk mail.


I did not plan on this, or make any kind of resolution. I had already been walking most days, driving only when I ran late or when it rained, or when apathy seeped in and worked its black magic. Then, last summer, it became my default. I could leave twenty minutes early to avoid a coming storm, or I could drive in it. I left early. In the winter, it was easier to put on boots than clean off my car.

Many people see these choices as daunting. It’s only after really walking regularly that one can truly experience and enjoy the practicality in it.

If you’re familiar with Mode Shift’s work, then you’re already familiar with all the reasons to leave your car at home: it saves money for you, saves money for the city, and leaves both you and your neighborhood healthier by promoting physical activity and reducing pollution. Continue reading