Five Questions for Mary O’Donohue.

17 Jul

Mary O’Donohue is our guest speaker for our Coffee Chat this Friday, July 21, at Spielbound. She is the Interim Executive Director of Midtown Vision 2050, an organization dedicated to “a bold and innovative plan that provides the overarching, coherent vision to guide and maximize growth and redevelopment in midtown Omaha for the next several decades.” Mary’s job is to “Coordinate and accelerate the next phase of midtown Omaha’s revitalization and progression into a dynamic, transit-oriented urban community.” We asked her five questions:

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
Automobile.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Limited financial resources for investment/development

3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
Changing the way people view the use of streets, which has a long way to go, but everyday I see more progress being made on that front.

4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
Living in Washington DC for 10 years, many of which I did not own a car and used fixed rail transit daily

5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
City-wide underground metro system.

Contact your city council representative about transparency in transportation planning.

30 Jun

In our recent series of bog posts about the city’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP), we noted that the City Charter specifies certain steps to align the CIP with the Transportation Master Plan, and that we found no evidence that these steps are followed. To date, we have not received any information to change our assessment.

We believe the City should follow its own Charter and that the City Council should raise this issue as part of their review and approval of the 2018 CIP

In August, the City Council will review and approve the 2018-2023  (the 2018 CIP). This document will list the City’s transportation projects, the funds appropriated for 2017, and the funds budgeted for 2018-2023. There are 3 main process issues we hope the City Council considers before approving the CIP:

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