Tag Archives: Legislature

Five Questions for Legislative District 8

13 Mar
2018 is a legislature election year, and we are going to make an effort to get all the candidates for Nebraska State Senate in to meet our members before the general election. To start us off, we have the term-limited seat of Sen. Burke Harr, LD-8. Harr’s seat is contested by three candidates, (in alphabetical order) Mina Davis, Josh Henningsen, and Megan Hunt. These are our guests for our Coffee Chat — Friday, March 16. at 8 a.m. in our usual haunt, Spielbound, located at 3229 Harney St.
We asked them each Five Questions.

Mina Davis

Mina is 25 years old, a data scientist at Creighton and a community organizer at heart. Mina is also the Vice Chair of Chapter Building for Young Democrats of America, an active member in her local chapter of Young Dems, and the Secretary/Treasurer of Douglas County Farmers Union.

1. What is your preferred mode of transportation?
My preferred mode of transportation is light rail.
2. What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge to multi-modal transportation in Omaha?
I believe the greatest challenge is getting political leadership on the state and municipal levels to embrace a transportation/infrastructure policies that are innovative and environmentally friendly.
3. What, in your opinion, the the greatest multi-modal success in Omaha?
I believe the greatest multi-modal success is the ORBT bus. I really enjoyed hearing about it and hope to see more projects like this come to fruition.
4. How did you come to have an interest in transportation?
I came to have an interest because I grew up in cities that had fantastic transportation systems. I also at one point did not have a car and to be left in a place where there was not a good infrastructure inspired me to be a more ardent advocate for transportation policies that work for all.
5. If you could magically change one thing about the transportation systems in Omaha, without limit to budget or feasibility, what would it be?
 I would love to have a simple light rail/bus system that was actually on time and could connect all parts of the city. I would love to drive my car less. Continue reading

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

Bills to Support or Oppose in the 2016 NE State Legislature

7 Mar

There are three 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 or opposition.

LB 716 – Provides and Eliminates Provisions Regarding Pedestrians and Bicyclists

Description:  Introduced by Senator Rick Kolowski (Omaha), LB 716 would repeal the mandatory side path law and clarify the right of way for when people on bikes and people walking are crossing streets while using a trail.

Analysis: Nebraska’s current law is based on the 1968 version of the Uniform Vehicle Code, which repealed its mandatory side path provision in the 1990s. We are one of only four states that still have such a provision in the law. The provision currently on the books does not give a person on a bike the choice to ride safely on the road if the available side path is poorly designed, poorly maintained, or if the sidepath has debris that could be dangerous through which to ride.

This provision is also important from a planning perspective. Cities should be given the flexibility to plan, design and build infrastructure that optimizes the safety of all users. Side paths should be allowed to coexist next to a street with a bike lane if a city feels that this creates the safest environment for all users. Under current law, this example would technically make it illegal for a person on a bike to ride in a bike lane if there is a side path adjacent to the street.

These provisions clarify the law with regards to who has the right of way when bicyclists and pedestrians cross streets while using a path designed for pedestrians and bicyclists. This only applies to trails; not to sidewalks that are not designated trails. Many Nebraska cities have trail systems where these types of crossings are an issue, and many of them are expanding or actively looking to expand their systems. Current statutes do not specifically address this type of crossing, and a clarification in the law is needed.

Analysis provided by Nebraska Bicycling Alliance. See their full analysis here.

RecommendationSUPPORT. Please write to your state senator to let them know you want them to support this bill. See also Nebraska Bicycling Alliance’s talking points. Continue reading