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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

Safe Crossings at 72 & Dodge

5 Mar

72-dodge-2As part of the Omaha Safe Crossings project, one of the intersections Mode Shift Omaha has been focused on monitoring is 72 and Dodge Streets. This intersection is a major East/West and North/South thoroughfare so one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. At one time, this intersection had nice wide crosswalk markings and stop lines (indicating where cars should stop when the light is red), but these have long disappeared. Without these markings, motor vehicles typically stop for a red light far into the area meant for people walking across the street, making it unsafe, especially for those who are visually impaired.

About a year ago, advocates started making calls to the Mayor’s hotline and posting on the City Mobile App, asking for the crosswalks and stop lines at the intersection to be maintained—all to no avail. At a Mayor’s Town Hall last fall 2016, Cindy Tefft, a ModeShift member, asked the Mayor: if her main objective was Public Safety, why not maintain this intersection for pedestrian safety? Bob Stubbe, Public Works Director, answered the question and said the City only paints crosswalks east of 42 Street and around schools elsewhere (!). He also said the last pedestrian count for this intersection, done in April 2014, did not warrant maintaining the crosswalk. At that time, they counted 246 pedestrians using the intersection (this was before major changes made to bus routes last year and new businesses like Do Space opening). Continue reading