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Advocacy in Action Follow Up at 52nd and Radial

4 Dec

Following Mode Shift’s recent videos and action about the issues with the intersection at 52nd Street and Northwest Radial Highway, the City has:

  • Started to paint the crosswalk. The next scheduled painting was Spring 2018, so it’s good to see some action now.
  • Initiated a change to the pedestrian signal system. Thanks to Bryan Guy, at Omaha Public Works for taking the time to look at the signal and reply to one of the signal issues.

Crosswalk Painting on November 21

This is good news. Once we know the extent of the City’s action, we will recap which issues are still open, and engage the City to discuss them.

In the meantime, here is a email sent to Carrie Murphy, Omaha’s Deputy Chief of Staff by Faith. Faith and her family attended the evening advocacy on November 14, and summarizes the events so well, that her email is worth sharing:

Hello Carrie, Thank you for your reply.

I know the mayor is busy, and I appreciate the staff’s attention. I would like to respond to several points made in this press release:

Perhaps the crosswalks are painted twice a year; perhaps they are painted 4, 5, or 6 times a year. In the end, however, the crosswalks are barely visible year-round. I am at that intersection at least twice a week year round and daily in the summer and you can barely ever see the paint. I will be happy to send pictures, but you can go there yourself or you can look at the photo published today in the World-Herald, which shows minimal paint. If they are being painted, they clearly need to be painted more often or more effectively.

As the Mode Shift video pointed out, crossing 52nd on the north is terrifying because there’s no clear line for the cars to stop. When I have my daughter in her stroller, we usually have to cross behind cars because they are pulled so far into the intersection. The same is true for the west side of the intersection, where cars regularly stop so far into the intersection that we end up crossing behind them. When we are able to cross in front of stopped cars, it is on me as the pedestrian to make glaring eye contact with each motorist in the hopes that they see me, because they’re certainly not looking for me. Continue reading

Citizens’ Academy Transportation Night

2 Nov

Mode Shift is one of the founding organizations of the Citizens’ Academy for Omaha’s Future, a joint project presented by community partners designed to provide the “knowledge, skills, and connections that graduates can leverage to advocate for their vision of the community.” Recently, the current class participated in the “Transportation Night” of the academy. Normally the academy presentations are a classroom-type setting where the presenters . . . erm, present. They stand in front of the class. They show a slide deck. They ask if there are any questions. Riveting stuff, to be sure, but for this class, Mode Shift took our curriculum in a more experiential direction.

Mode one: by foot

To start class, the group walked from UNO through a homeowner neighborhood over a participant’s project from the first class which converted an abandoned street into a cut-through walking path. 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