Tag Archives: safety

Slowing down Blackstone

13 Apr

Four years ago I moved to Omaha from Portland mostly sight unseen.

I decided the Blackstone district looked like the best place to land.

You see, I gave up my car when I moved to Portland and didn’t want to go back. 

Blackstone seemed to be extremely walkable, had several bus lines near it, and wasn’t too far from where I would be working. 

It wasn’t long before I got my reality check: that walkable street came with a narrow sidewalk and three lanes of traffic hightailing it at 45+ despite the 30mph (double check this number) speed limit.

Yes, technically I could walk along it and even get to work fairly easily, but not comfortably- especially compared to the streets I was used to walking in Portland.

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Upcoming Benson Block Talk

15 Oct

We’re helping spread the word about an upcoming event gathering feedback on some issues at an intersection that Mode Shift Omaha has brought attention to previously: 52nd & Radial! This is the dangerous spot near Benson High that pushed us to rally for a Vision Zero plan in Omaha, and due to our advocacy, Omaha hired its first Vision Zero Coordinator, Jeff Sobczyk. While we haven’t heard much from him so far, he is currently working on an action plan!

So, how can you share your thoughts on this area’s safety issues? Join an upcoming virtual event on October 20th, or submit your thoughts on your own time using the survey.

Metropolitan Area Planning Agency (MAPA) is partnering with the City of Omaha, the Nebraska Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Benson Neighborhood Association, the Benson Business Improvement District, and other partners to host a Block Talk for the area around 52nd Street and NW Radial Highway in Benson, near Benson High School, Monroe Middle School and Gallagher Park.

Block Talks help communities understand the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users in a specific area and identify projects, programs and policies to make improvements and increase safety

Register now to attend the virtual facilitated walk event on Wednesday, October 20th from 6-7:30 pm.

During the event, project staff and stakeholders will take you on a virtual walk through the study area and record your questions and comments.

Registration is required. https://tinyurl.com/3apyfh8v 

TAKE THE SURVEY if you can’t join virtually on the 20th. (You know how we love surveys!)

If you prefer to provide feedback at your own convenience, visit the online StoryMap anytime before October 29th and share the concerns you have when walking, biking or using transit in the study area! https://bit.ly/3EPXzsr 

Omaha does not require transportation management plans, and it should

4 Apr

A friend of Mode Shift Omaha sent us the photograph below, with the accompanying text:

Photo credit: Farrah Grant

 This is the section on Dodge Street I was telling you about. Both sides of the sidewalk are closed so there is no pedestrian access. On the north side, a sign says “Sidewalk closed: Use other side”…

We have discussed in the past that this is not the norm in other cities of similar size. Other cities require that construction projects that alter or inhibit transportation access submit and execute a transportation management plan (TMP) that reroutes or otherwise accommodates the traffic that is being affected by the construction. Omaha has no such requirement. It never has.

This isn’t some recent decision or a cost cutting device of our fiscally conservative administration. Not requiring a TMP is how business has always been done in Omaha. Consequently, we run into situations where two concurrent projects can entirely eliminate pedestrian access to a major transportation corridor. Without sidewalk access, we eliminate people walking and people using public transportation as safe modes of transportation in the area — and this is on a major bus route near critical health and governmental resources.

With Omaha’s stated objective of becoming a Vision Zero city, it is important that city policies account for the safety of all traffic, not merely the convenience of vehicular traffic. Requiring developers to manage the traffic their projects interrupt is a good way to keep everyone accountable and safe, regardless of their mode of transportation. Continue reading