Tag Archives: Coffee chat

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

5 Questions for Mike Helgerson

18 Jan
Mike Helgerson is the Transportation and Data Manager at Metropolitan Area Planning Agency. It is his job to lead the transportation planning process for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area and Regional Planning Affiliation 18 (RPA-18); lead the administration of the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and the development of the Long Range Transportation Plan; provide staff support in the development of the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP); oversee development and management of regional datasets and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He is also our guest for our first Coffee Chat of 2018 — Friday, January 19th at 8 a.m. in our usual haunt, Spielbound, located at 3229 Harney St.
We asked Mike Five Questions.

1 What is your preferred mode of transportation?
I end up driving my car most of the time, but love taking advantage of walking or biking to the bus during the week. Our family loves walking around our neighborhood in Benson to visit the library or grab a bite to eat when it’s not winter.

2 What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
Our development patterns are the biggest challenge. We need to take advantage of our opportunities to bring new people and jobs into the already developed areas of our community. This has the effect of making areas easier to serve with transit, and makes walking and biking more of a choice.

3 What, in your opinion, is the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I think the ORBT project is a tremendous opportunity to change perceptions and make the active, non-auto choice the easy choice. As a regional organization, its hard not to point to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge as a fantastic piece of bike infrastructure that brings Omaha and Council Bluffs together. Continue reading

Five Questions For Nick Weander

11 Dec

We wanted to get to know a bit more about what is happening in Sarpy County, so we invited Nick Weander from Olsson Associates to be the guest speaker for our December Coffee Chat, Friday, December 15, 2017 at 8 a.m. at Spielbound, 3229 Harney Street.

Nick is a certified professional transportation planner with experience in local, regional and statewide transportation programs. Mr. Weander has shown to be a problem solver with experience in developing and managing complex, multi-jurisdictional projects and programs. Nick’s proven experience in building relationships and fostering trust between local, state, and federal agencies and the public at large. Nick is a 2008 graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and completed his Master of Public Administration at UNO in 2011. Since leaving UNO, Nick has worked for the Omaha-Council Bluffs Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, and now works as a Senior Planner at Olsson Associates. Current projects of note include the 30th Street Road Diet in Omaha, the Lincoln Transportation Implementation Strategy, and the 180th/192nd Street Grade and Alignment Study in Sarpy County.

We asked him five questions . . .

What is your preferred mode of transportation?

On the days that I am able, I prefer to walk to work. I can generally make that happen about 3 days a week. Project meetings, client visits, out of town work and other responsibilities often require me to have a car at my disposal.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?

Land use patterns and residential decision-making. Transportation (especially trip distance) should be a part of your consideration about where you live and work. I’m fortunate enough to live and work in a mixed use development here. We really need to do a better job of explaining/educating these trade-offs as a part of how people decide where to live and work. Continue reading