Tag Archives: safety

3′ Season is upon us!

7 Apr

As Omaha shakes off the chill of winter and welcomes the dawn of spring, we are beginning to see the kind of weather that makes us want to jump on our bikes and ride. With more people on bikes hitting the road, it’s a good time to review safe cycling and driving practices to keep everyone safe while sharing the road.

First, we encourage all people on bikes to ride to their level of comfort. If you don’t feel safe on the street, no worries. Omaha has an expanding system of trails for people to walk and cycle. Some people feel more comfortable riding on sidewalks. In Omaha it is legal to ride on sidewalks, except in the Old Market. A good rule of thumb, however, is to ride no faster than a pedestrian can move. Speeding down sidewalks on a bike can be dangerous, especially with driveways and intersections where people in cars aren’t looking for, or expecting, a fast moving person on a bike in the pedestrian space.

Also, a quick reminder: when sharing a space (such as a trail or sidepath) with people walking and people on bikes, always make sure to give a voiced notice when passing. A quick, “on your left!” will avoid startling someone unaware of your presence. Continue reading

Safe Crossings at 72 & Dodge

5 Mar

72-dodge-2As part of the Omaha Safe Crossings project, one of the intersections Mode Shift Omaha has been focused on monitoring is 72 and Dodge Streets. This intersection is a major East/West and North/South thoroughfare so one of the busiest intersections in Omaha. At one time, this intersection had nice wide crosswalk markings and stop lines (indicating where cars should stop when the light is red), but these have long disappeared. Without these markings, motor vehicles typically stop for a red light far into the area meant for people walking across the street, making it unsafe, especially for those who are visually impaired.

About a year ago, advocates started making calls to the Mayor’s hotline and posting on the City Mobile App, asking for the crosswalks and stop lines at the intersection to be maintained—all to no avail. At a Mayor’s Town Hall last fall 2016, Cindy Tefft, a ModeShift member, asked the Mayor: if her main objective was Public Safety, why not maintain this intersection for pedestrian safety? Bob Stubbe, Public Works Director, answered the question and said the City only paints crosswalks east of 42 Street and around schools elsewhere (!). He also said the last pedestrian count for this intersection, done in April 2014, did not warrant maintaining the crosswalk. At that time, they counted 246 pedestrians using the intersection (this was before major changes made to bus routes last year and new businesses like Do Space opening). Continue reading

Omaha Safe Crossings Update: What We’ve Learned So Far and Next Steps

30 Aug

We kicked off our Omaha Safe Crossings campaign this past June and have been piloting an intersection assessment tool that volunteers can use to record data over one hour at intersections in the Omaha area.IMG_0371

We’re grateful for the several people* who have used the tool to gather data, including at key intersections shown to be dangerous for people bicycling or walking in the past. Intersections where data has been gathered so far include: 18 & Vinton, 72 & Maple, 72 & Cass, 72 & Dodge, 76 & Western, Saddle Creek & Farnam, Raynor Parkway & Papio Trail, and Leavenworth & Happy Hollow.

Some key data points from the assessments include:

  • People crossing the street often have to wait quite a while before they get a walk signal after pushing the button—more than two minutes at 72 & Maple; at other intersections where there were signals, about 30-60 seconds. Only one of the signals (at 72 & Dodge) was audible, posing a significant challenge for people crossing who are blind or visually-impaired. If an intersection did have a walk signal, it was working and all intersections had ADA ramps.

Continue reading