Sunday, March 29, 2009

Omaha Cycling News Update

Thursday, March 26, 2009 I pedaled my bike to the First United Methodist Church at 69th and Cass to sit in on their monthly Sierra Club meeting. The topic was "Bicycling as Commuting" and was presented by many notable local authorities on the subject of cycling, community, and health.

First to speak was Stuart Shell, with RDG Planning and Design and a board member of the Community Bicycle Shop of Omaha. Stuart introduced the CBSO and reported on the wonderful work that they do to mentor Gifford Park children by teaching bike mechanics and promoting bike safety to the community.

Up second was Kerri Peterson, Executive Director of Our Healthy Communities Partnership. She spoke about how cycling can help treat some of the health problems affecting our society. Many modern health issues stem from inactivity. Other health issues are related to urban pollution, most of which comes directly from automobiles operating within the neighborhoods in which we live.

Finally, Marty Shukert, also with RDG and former Director of Planning for the City of Omaha, provided an update on the Omaha bikeway, tentatively called "Bike Omaha." Among other things, Marty mentioned:
  • a logo has been designed to use on signage. It appears to be a circle with the top half showing a stylized image of the soon-to-be iconic image of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, and the bottom half showing a spoked bicycle wheel.
  • the northen part of the 20-mile bikeway will be called the Fontenelle Route and will be the first part to be marked, possibly this year
  • the central part will be called the Aksarben Route, and will include a sidepath "climbing lane" up Leavenworth between Saddle Creek Road and Elmwood Park. This will involve construction of a new sidewalk/sidepath
  • Woolworth Avenue running through the Field Club will get proper shoulders
  • the proposed Saddle Creek Road relocation project includes a bike lane
  • the City of Omaha will consider incorporating bike lanes/paths as part of the transportation plan when building new roads, and more importantly, on reconstruction projects. This may be a shift in thinking where previously the City might not allocate street money to bike facilities unless bike money was specifically provided.
Before adjourning, another gentleman, whose name I didn't note, spoke on the Nebraska Legislative Bill 134. LB134 is a proposed change to the statutes of Nebraska that restrict natural resource districts in their ability to construct trails unless said trails are along a flood control system. This bill is in response to a planned path to connect Omaha and Lincoln via a trail. If this is important to you, please consider contacting your state legislator and ask them to vote no.

Some great things are happening in Omaha with respect to cycling as transportation. Be sure to get out and participate in the cycling community, and as always, keep pedaling.

Stuart Shell speaks about the Community Bike Shop of Omaha.

Kerri Peterson talks about the importance of living an active lifestyle.

Marty Shukert presents the latest information about Bike Omaha.

A possible design for the Bike Omaha logo and signage.

Proposed routes for the Bike Omaha system.

1 comment:

The Douglas said...

Good stuff Scott. Thanks for sharing and thanks for volunteering your time to represent the cycling public at this meeting. Keep us posted on upcoming meetings.