April 29th, 2013 |
Bicyclists that follow social media in Omaha are probably familiar with the big push recently that encouraged people to vote online to show support for the local non-profit InCommon’s “Recycle Bicycle” project. As a result of this national contest, InCommon received $25,000 that will be used to “… provide low income people part time jobs, purchase bicycles at a discounted price, build strong and lightweight recycling carts, assist inCOMMON in appointing Leslie Wells as the Common Good Coordinator and begin recycling for local businesses who would otherwise throw those recycling items away.” AWESOME!
Does the term “Recycle Bicycle” sound familiar to you? If so, it is probably because you’ve heard of the Recycle Bike Shop, which is located at 47th & Center. Mike Turman and crew sell new and used bikes, new and recycled goods and accessories. They do great work fixing up used bikes and making them available for a reasonable cost. Formerly on S. 13th Street, the shop really bloomed after moving to their new location a couple of years ago. ALSO AWESOME!
It is easy to see where the confusion lies, and it would be easy to get these two things mixed up, and make some assumptions that may not be correct as a result.
The Recycle Bike Shop is a small business that relies strictly on sales to make ends meet. They also rely on the donation of used bikes for a portion of their business.
InCommon is a local non-profit that works hard to leverage grant opportunities to fund the projects they champion. They also rely on the community’s support through awareness and donations.
BOTH are awesome members of our growing cycling community, and we celebrate them as they continue to work to meet the needs of their neighbors and customers!
April 17th, 2013 |
Category: Bike Commuting
| Tags: Bicycle Safety Classes
Thanks to a Transportation Enhancement grant from the Nebraska Department of Roads, Activate Omaha will be providing free bicycle safety classes for adults and kids in 2013 and 2014. The grant was awarded to the Metro Area Planning Agency, with Activate Omaha partnering to put it into action.
Local League Cycling Instructors (LCI’s) will be teaching these classes, which will utilize the League of American Bicyclists’ Smart Cycling curriculum. There will be several 2-hour “Confident Commuter” classes available that will focus on skills needed to ride in traffic, and there will be one more full Traffic Skills 101 class that is available for people who would like to be on the tract to becoming a trained LCI.
The kids classes for 2013 will be offered at the Omaha Open Streets events and select elementary schools.
Stay tuned to the Activate Omaha Facebook page for updates, as additional classes will likely be added to the schedule over the summer. Click here to register!
April 2nd, 2013 |
The primary election for Mayor and City Council (and Omaha Public Schools) is now upon us. Omaha Bikes and Mode Shift Omaha have been working together to determine where the candidates stand on various transportation issues that affect Omaha. Candidate questionnaires were distributed in March, and were returned by Mayor Suttle, Brad Ashford and Jean Stothert. The individual responses can be found here. One of the team’s recommended questions was also included in the League of Women Voters Guide, which can be found here.
Fortunately, the Mayoral Forum sponsored by Omaha by Design, The Greater Omaha Chamber Young Professionals Council, and the Eastern Nebraska Development Council provided additional opportunities to hear the candidates’ views on the issues. Transportation was also a topic at the Forum sponsored the following week by the Benson-Ames Alliance. These Forums, along with questionnaire responses, provide citizens with a clear idea of the candidates’ views.
The following analysis has been provided by members of the Omaha Bikes/Mode Shift Omaha team that worked on the questionnaire and attended the Omaha by Design Mayoral Forum. Please also see the analysis of the questionnaire responses here.
Dan Welch, a former City Council President, spoke of issues in which he was personally involved (such as building the West Dodge Expressway), displaying an understanding of the workings of the decision-making process. When asked what single thing he would do to make Omaha more livable, he said “lower taxes.” He also stated that he does not support the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator within the Planning Department (calling the position “Bike Czar”), and incorrectly said city money was being spent on that position. Additionally, he stated that he drives Leavenworth Street to work every morning, the road diet/buffered bike lane has only caused traffic congestion, and he has never seen a cyclist using the bike lane.
David Nabity took several opportunities to criticize Mayor Suttle and to make claims against the Planning Department, choosing to focus on building permit procedures. When given the chance to discuss what he believed he could do as Mayor to make Omaha more livable, he returned to criticizing the Planning Department, while also mentioning that a permanent Olympic swimming facility or theme park would be a good addition to Omaha. He did mention the need to address labor force transportation mobility, but gave no sense of how he would achieve this. When speaking of developments like Crossroads, he said that his approach would be to personally review the business plan to see if it “made sense,” and he would support it as long as it did not add to traffic delays.
Jean Stothert positioned herself as a supporter of Omaha’s growth, but balanced with fiscal prudence and common sense. She mentioned her support of several projects and measures, and how it contributed to Omaha’s vibrancy. She supports Planning but thinks the Transportation Master Plan lacked funding specifics. She also supports in-fill development and wrote in the answers to our questionnaire that she supports multi-modal transportation if funding is available. Her mix of detailed knowledge and overall process, along her calm and clear responses were impressive. She refrained, however, from extending any clear vision for Omaha.
It is worth mentioning Stothert, Nabity and Welch all seemed to think Omaha by Design’s mission is mainly about making Omaha “prettier,” rather than on improving the quality of Omaha’s built and natural environments.
Brad Ashford spoke of overall process, and collaboration between departments and government entities. He supports more bike and pedestrian traffic, but this got buried in comments about his long relationship with Omaha. His support for a “complete streets” policy came out much more strongly in his written answers to our questions. He was one of only two candidates that mentioned north and south Omaha and spoke of being supportive of historical preservation. He also spoke of his support for bus rapid transit.
Mayor Suttle projected a detailed knowledge of transportation issues. He was the only person who mentioned the “complete streets” concept, having become a proponent following a trip to Boulder several years ago. Suttle was also very knowledgeable about how state legislative issues are impacting transportation and land use in Omaha, discussing his support of the Land Bank bill that is currently pending in the Unicameral, and how federal and state funds are allocated for transportation projects. He was also supportive of a multi-modal transportation system in his questionnaire responses.
Transportation has clearly become a prominent election issue. It is pretty clear which candidates support active transportation and the land use policies that support it. Please review the evidence and vote in the Primary Elections on Tuesday, April 2.