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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:

Continue reading

Our Analysis of the Mayoral Candidates

3 May

We are pleased so many issues relevant to transportation have been included in the mayoral debates and forums over the past several weeks. We’ve come a long way in these discussions since four years ago! Policies and practices implemented by the Mayor’s office obviously have a profound effect on our ability to achieve our vision and mission.

That is why we wanted to take this opportunity to summarize some of the key policy and practice areas that have been up for discussion and debate. These all play an important role in whether or not Omaha can be a city with a great, equitable, and affordable transportation system; where anyone can safely and efficiently get to where they need to go whether they own a car or not.

Please weigh these issues and do your own investigating (including reading responses to our questionnaire) and then VOTE on May 9. The future of our city is in the hands of you, the Omaha voter.

Growth and the Transportation System

The two candidates could not be more different on their approach to city growth, which plays an essential role in our ability (or not) to create a connected and viable multi-modal transportation system. Continue reading

The Transparency Project: Part 1 – Capital Improvement Program, What’s Inside?

1 May

As promised, here is the first installment of the blog posts from our Transparency Project. See the introduction to the series here.

This blog post takes the reader into the basic content of the CIP and compares what it should be to what it is, the first step along the Mode Shift CIP Board Game.

Transportation Capital Budget: $322 million. Or is it $319 million?

In August 2016, the 2017-2022 CIP was approved by the City Council. The public copy of the CIP was published in October of 2016, and is available online.

A note on the CIP years (boring but important):

Each CIP is designated by the six year span of its capital budget. This six year span always starts the year after the CIP’s publication year. For example, the 2017-2022 CIP was published in 2016. So when we refer to the 2017 CIP, we refer to the CIP which covers the capital budget years 2017-2022, and was published in 2016.

The Transportation section spans from page 9 to page 36. After an introduction and text of some milestones, each transportation project is listed, along with some cost and budget details. The whole section is summarized on page 36, where the middle column is:

2017-2022 CIP – Page 36, Transportation Totals, missing $3.3 million

Wait, didn’t we just mention a different number? We said the transportation Capital Budget for 2017-2022 was $322 million. And it is. The totals on page 36 of the City Council approved CIP are missing over $3.3 million in the Capital Budget. The CIP approved by the Council in August 2016 had even more errors than the CIP published in October of 2016.

Mode Shift punched every number for every project for all available CIPs into a database and found that there are a dozen or so errors on the Transportation totals page (for a view of all the errors on the totals page, click here)

The CIP Narrative

The Transportation section of the CIP starts with 4 pages of narrative to explain the Program Formulation, Transportation Milestones, and Key Additions to the CIP. Continue reading