Five Questions for Jason Valandra

15 Feb

Energy policy is closely associated with transportation, so we would like to welcome Jason Valandra from Bold NE to be our February Coffee Chat guest, Friday, February 16, 8 a.m. at Spielbound, 3229 Harney Street.

Jason Valandra, Bold Organizer, is a proud Nebraskan and longtime supporter of Bold. Jason is thrilled to be part of the Bold team and has enjoyed working on projects such as the “Give Keystone XL the Boot” march and the ongoing Solar XL clean energy projects. Jason has over 20 years of professional event planning, sales and fundraising experience, and is passionate about volunteering regularly in his community to support local nonprofits and progressive causes in his hometown of Omaha, NE. A lifelong Democrat, he also serves as the Douglas County Democratic Central Committee Diversity Representative and the Nebraska Democratic Party Native Caucus Vice-Chair, working to bolster progressive politics, especially for Native communities. In his spare time, Jason can be found renovating his 1950s era North Omaha home, cooking with his wife, playing online video games, or discussing politics over coffee with friends. Jason is looking forward to the expansion of clean energy efforts, and will continue to advocate for growing the good life in Nebraska.

We asked him five questions . . .

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
Light rail would be awesome. I travel back and forth from Omaha to Lincoln and Omaha to Hastings pretty often. I would really like it if there was a public system in place to accommodate that.

2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Lack of political will by leaders in Omaha. They fail to see the importance of this issue and how it effects our economy and growth as a city.

3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
The implementation of ORBT seems like a move in the right direction. I hope it’s successful.

4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
My work with BOLD is to stop the KXL pipeline and end our dependency on fossil fuels. Part of our mission is to influence legislation and promote projects like light rail, more bike lanes, and government vehicles shifting to electric vehicles.

5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
More self driving cars and car sharing programs. Would be nice to have to that available. Shared systems in place would be great. Especially when you consider the number of university and community college people we have in the city

Keystone Trailhead Closure at 75th

15 Feb

The Keystone Trail parking lot trailhead on S. 75th Street just north of Jackson Plaza will be closed for two weeks starting on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2018 so the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can undertake stream and embankment improvements to the Little Papio Creek. Parking lot will reopen on MONDAY, MARCH 5, 2018.

S 75th North of Jackson

When More is Not Nearly Enough: Pothole Season Edition

29 Jan

During the last race for Mayor of Omaha, an undisputed detail of the state of the city’s transportation infrastructure is that we, as a city, are more than a half century behind schedule resurfacing our vehicle lanes.  And the breakdown of vehicle lanes leads to our annual vehicle lane issue of winter potholes. Mayor Stothert recognizes that the resurfacing backlog is an issue that requires action. She has nearly doubled the budget for resurfacing projects in her time in office from $6.6 million to $12 million.

In her first term, Mayor Stothert reports that she spent $44.6 million resurfacing 400 lane miles throughout the city. That roughly works out to 100 lane miles per year at a cost of $111,500 per lane mile. According to public works, the city currently maintains 4823 lane miles throughout the city. A well maintained road should last approximately 20 years, depending on environmental conditions and use. Let’s look at the math and see where we end up.

First, if we are only resurfacing 100 lane miles per year, it will take 48 years to resurface all the lanes currently being maintained by the city. That’s well beyond the expected useful life of our streets. But let’s assume the demand for resurfacing continues at a consistent rate, and we are going to resurface on the anticipated schedule of every 20 years. The 4823 lane miles multiplied by the $111,500 per lane mile cost gives us a total of $537,764,500 to resurface all the current lanes. To meet the goal of resurfacing all the lanes every 20 years (and assuming a consistent rate of demand) we would need to be spending $26,888,225 every year, or more than twice the current budget. And these numbers only account for resurfacing; some roads will need to be entirely replaced at a higher cost per lane mile. Continue reading