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Pedestrian Infrastructure in Jeopardy

29 Jul

IMG_5619The City of Omaha scheduled the pedestrian activated crossing signals at six intersections to be removed within 90 days of notification. The residents of Dundee fought the removal of two of those signals that serve walking routes to Dundee elementary, and yesterday, the Mayor indicated that the signals at 51st and Farnam and at 52nd and Chicago warranted further study because of their proximity to a school.

There are four other signals scheduled for removal as a part of the city’s multi-year, $35 million traffic signal upgrade being majority funded by the Federal Department of Transportation. According to statements made by Public Works, these signals do not meet federal standards as laid out in the Manual for Universal Traffic Control Devices, and so their replacement would be ineligible for federal funding. Public works has not yet responded to requests for copies of the full traffic study or a description of the study methodology.

The traffic signals still scheduled for removal are the following:

120th and Arbor
108th and Oak
84th and Spring (see our video analysis of this intersection here)
73rd and Mercy

If you use these signals, or know someone for whom these signals are important for pedestrian access to work, commerce, services and community amenities, please contact Public Works at 402-444-5160 and/or email Mr. Murthy Koti at murthy.koti@cityofomaha.org and Mayor Stothert at mayorstothert@cityofomaha.org.

120th Street and West Maple Expansion

13 Jun

The City of Omaha held a public meeting presenting the current plan for improving 120th St from Stonegate, south of W Maple, to Roanoke, almost to Fort St. Besides providing four through lanes on 120th north of West Maple, additional right of way will be purchased to provide double left turn lanes onto West Maple. Crosswalks will also be extended across West Maple on both sides of 120th.

In addition, the Big Papio Trail will run parallel to 120th on the east side from north of Old Maple to the Big Papillion Creek where it will go under the bridge and into Tranquility Park. See figure 4A and following starting on page 23 in the 120th Draft Environmental Assessment pdf at https://sites.google.com/a/cityofomaha.org/opw-50949—120th-street-stonegate-to-fort/draft-environmental-assessment-dea

I raised the question, “Where is the plan to connect the trail from 120th and W Maple to the end of the trail in Hefflinger Park?” I was directed to Dennis Bryers in Omaha Parks. I emailed Dennis about the connection plan and he wrote the following:

Thanks for the e-mail.  We are planning to extend the Big Papio Trail north from Hefflinger Park sometime between Public Work’s two projects on N. 120th Street and West Maple Road.  Project will consist of rebuilding the section of the trail in Hefflinger Park, construction/installation of a new pedestrian bridge across the side creek and extending the trail to connect to the section that Public Works is building as part of the N. 120th & West Maple Road work.

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3′ Season is upon us!

7 Apr

As Omaha shakes off the chill of winter and welcomes the dawn of spring, we are beginning to see the kind of weather that makes us want to jump on our bikes and ride. With more people on bikes hitting the road, it’s a good time to review safe cycling and driving practices to keep everyone safe while sharing the road.

First, we encourage all people on bikes to ride to their level of comfort. If you don’t feel safe on the street, no worries. Omaha has an expanding system of trails for people to walk and cycle. Some people feel more comfortable riding on sidewalks. In Omaha it is legal to ride on sidewalks, except in the Old Market. A good rule of thumb, however, is to ride no faster than a pedestrian can move. Speeding down sidewalks on a bike can be dangerous, especially with driveways and intersections where people in cars aren’t looking for, or expecting, a fast moving person on a bike in the pedestrian space.

Also, a quick reminder: when sharing a space (such as a trail or sidepath) with people walking and people on bikes, always make sure to give a voiced notice when passing. A quick, “on your left!” will avoid startling someone unaware of your presence. Continue reading