Department of Transportation Leadership Toolkit is now available

20 Feb

It’s finally here! A few weeks ago the U.S Department of Transportation released the “Every Place Counts Leadership Academy Toolkit.” This resource was designed to help educate and assist people to better understand the transportation planning and funding process.  

Our transportation systems play an important role in our quality of life. At Mode Shift, we have made it our mission to advocate for transportation options that enhance our quality of life and helps provides affordable, equitable opportunities to live, work, and play for everyone in our community. Our hope is that you will take some time to look over the toolkit to see how you can advocate for transportation projects that enhance your quality of life.

The toolkit consists of several parts including:

The USDOT is waiting for the Secretary of Transportation to get in her position and start moving everyone toward her vision for the department. We do not know what that will be, but we know that President Trump campaigned on spending money to build and fix infrastructure across the country. While we believe this can be a good thing if directed toward making roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists and increasing transportation options for people, this is often not what is actually carried out. It is our job at Mode Shift is to be educated on the transportation planning and funding process so we can advocate for options that improve our quality of life. We hope you will join us. Please take some time to look through the toolkit created by the USDOT. Hopefully you will learn something to help you advocate for options that enhance your quality of life.

Five Questions for . . . Pell Duvall

14 Feb

This Friday, February 17,  we welcome one of our own board members as our Coffee Chat guest speaker. Pell Duvall is the executive director of Omaha Bikes,  a non-profit that “advocates for improved transportation, utility, and recreational bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding area.” We asked him five questions.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
Although, I’d prefer to ride a dragon, my orange  steel cross bike is next favorite.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Perception of safety. We have a great and growing bike network and many encouraged active transportation users, but we don’t yet have protected bike lanes streets, real-time bus notifications, or safe, complete pedestrian infrastructure. We have connected routes, great encouragement programs, and great supporting organizations, but we lack the ‘next step’ in active transportation development which is encouraging the 60% ‘Interested, but concerned’ population. A 2015 ULI study shows that 52% of Americans would like to live in a place where they do not need to use a car that often, and I don’t think it’s coincidence that those percentages are very similar.

3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I’m going to say it’s a tie between the Live Well Omaha Commuter Challenge and Heartland B-cycle.

4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
I began commuting by bicycle in 2007 when I was encouraged by my employer (a 60 year old eye doctor) who commuted over 30 miles per day most work days. I moved to Omaha in 2008 and participated in group rides, the commuter challenge, and attended MSO meetings. From there, I headed a steering committee in 2013 to revitalize Omaha Bikes. Somehow the stars aligned, and I was given an opportunity to become Omaha Bikes’ first employee!

5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
Presuming that switching all transportation dragon flying is not a viable option, I would design roadways that connect key attraction, resource, and employment centers that follow the most efficient course. As co-chair of the Bike Omaha Network Committee, we are challenging area planners to think in desire lines i.e. where you would put a road that doesn’t exist yet!
pellPell Duvall received a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from Truman State University and is a League Certified Instructor with the League of American Bicyclists. He has worked in healthcare and business project management prior to joining Omaha Bikes as Executive Director.

Bills to Support in the 2017 NE Legislature

30 Jan

There are two legislative bills currently in the Nebraska Legislature of interest to active and public transportation advocates. Please contact your state senator and the appropriate committee members designated below to express your support.

LB339 – Merge the Department of Aeronautics into the Department of Roads and rename as the Department of Transportation

Introduced by Senator Friesen at the request of the Governor.

Nebraska is currently the only state in the nation with a Department of Roads, rather than a Department of Transportation. Merging the Division of Aeronautics and the Department of Roads into a Department of Transportation would be a step in the right direction for enabling our state and local engineers to better meet the needs of all road users—people who drive cars, walk or bike. It might also open up more opportunities for funding and programs that will enable our state to better compete for businesses, and recruit young professionals and others attracted to places with great transportation infrastructure for all users.

The hearing for the bill took place on January 30.

Please write to the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee chairperson, Curt Friesen, to let him know you want the committee to support this bill.

LB471 – Provide for enforcement of the prohibition against using a handheld wireless communication device as a primary action Continue reading