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Call for Volunteers – 2016 Bike/Ped Counts

August 24th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Community, Volunteer Opportunities, You name it

Volunteers Needed for the 2016 Omaha Bicycle & Pedestrian Count

The City of Omaha is conducting its third bicycle/pedestrian count to gauge the level of bicycle and pedestrian traffic

in the city, and we need your help. This type of information is critical in directing future investments in bicycle and

pedestrian infrastructure. We need volunteers to stand or sit at selected locations for 2-hour shifts and count

people on bikes and pedestrians. The study area will include a wide swath of land between 72nd Street and the

Missouri River. The counts will occur at the following times:

Weekday Count Times

• 4-6pm, Tuesday, September 13

• 4-6pm, Thursday, September 15

• 4-6pm, Tuesday, September 20

• 4-6pm, Thursday, September 22

Weekend Count Times

• 12-2pm, Saturday, September 17

• 12-2pm, Saturday, September 24

Volunteers can work just one or all six shifts depending on availability.

We hope to count at approximately 25 locations (each on both a weekend and a weekday), so we will need a large

number of volunteers.

To volunteer, visit the following website:

Contact Stephen Osberg, City Planner, with any questions at 402.444.5150 x2069 or

More closures and the same responses

August 23rd, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Trails

Howdy, folks! Well, we have two more closures to report (one belated again, sorry!) as well as an advocacy update about the detours and reroute options! (Spoiler alert: it didn’t get far.)

First, the South Omaha Trail closure from City of Omaha Parks:

A section of the South Omaha Trail from S. 50th Street to S. 45th & Dayton Streets will be closed starting Monday, August 22nd through Friday, September 2nd so the Parks & Recreation Department can address drainage issues along this section of the trail. There is a suggested detour using existing sidewalks along city streets. Refer to the attached map below for additional information.”

City of Omaha’s suggested detour via existing sidewalks

Keystone Trail Closure (also from City of Omaha Parks):

“A section of the Keystone Trail at the “L” Street Underpass will be closed starting Wednesday, August 24th through Wednesday, September 14th so that the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District can address drainage and erosion issues at this section of the trail. There is no suggested detour for this closing. Refer to the attached map below for additional information.”

Trail Closure Notices-South Omaha Trail-Keystone Trail-August-2016

Trail Closure Detour Advocacy Update #2:

Upon receiving this notification, I was on the phone with Dennis Bryers with city parks within hours. We had a very promising and engaging conversation about the complications of temporary detours (or lack thereof being an unacceptable long-term solution) as well as all the entities involved. I briefly mentioned the lowering speed limits on the South O Trail detour as well as using a temporary signal for Keystone Trail closure at L Street. As L Street is a state hwy, Dennis informed me that Nebraska Deparment of Roads (NDOR) would need to be involved. Having just learned from a fellow colleague that NDOR has a Bicycle & Pedestrian Coordinator, I decided to give him a call.

David is a fantastic person who listened intently to my concerns. He offered to connect with Dennis and discuss the options and explained that a traffic engineer would need to be consulted. I was excited! Did I just get a win with NDOR?

I proposed the following solutions:

South O: Knowing that many riders would review the proposed sidewalk detour, I was afraid they would choose to ride 50th and F Streets with drivers passing exceeding the 35mph speed limit on roads with no shoulder or safety measures for bicycle traffic. With a two-way protected bike line not a valid option of F Street, simply suggested that the speed limit be lowered to 25mph during the closure to increase rider safety and comfort on the roadway. (Not to mention that pedestrians and cyclists have a 90 percent survival rate if hit at 20 mph or below, but that rate drops to 50 percent at 30 mph or above.)

Late Friday, I received a reply in response to my suggestions. Disheartened, I read the response that lowering the speed limit is usually not effective. Regarding the Keystone Trail, that the types of temporary changes I am suggesting would require an unjustified expense of a traffic study as well as not supporting all user groups.

I spent the weekend contemplating action and response while riding 145 miles at Gravel Worlds this weekend. I apologize for the delay in getting this out, but I hadn’t fully thought through this.

Although new solutions are in the works as the City Planning Department develops guidelines for closures on bike routes, this should not be the answer now.

Ultimately, the detours (or lack thereof) are the best solutions given the current surrounding bike/ped infrastructure. These roads were designed for motor vehicles and are not the complete streets we want for our city. Changes are coming.

In the meantime, let’s keep doing what we do best; keep riding and be safe!

Please feel free to comment if you find a good detour route!

Keystone Trail Closure & Lessons Learned

August 18th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Trails

When I saw a Live Well Nebraska link that the Keystone had a closure pop up in my Facebook news feed last Friday, I thought to myself, “I need to get on that.”

I read about the 5 day closure from Harrison Street to Cornhusker Road from Monday August 15th through August 19th. In my only mildly caffeinated morning daze, I just read ‘bridge deck and replacement’ and assumed it meant the bridge over Copper Creek (a City of Omaha project not started yet) even though it is clearly stated that this is the road bridge west of 48th St.

I created a reroute to the nearby Bellevue neighborhood, asked a colleague at NRD to verify the route would be open at the access points in the route, then contacted Bellevue Public Works to set up temporary protected bike lane on a section of 48th Street. Boom!

Copper Creek Detour

Copper Creek Detour

After a conversation with a colleague, it turns out I was totally wrong about where this project was. It’s a Sarpy County project to resurface the road bridge on Cornhusker, and Papio NRD opted to close this section of the trail due to possible falling debris during construction. Whoops, swing and a miss!

In all of the craziness of life (in and out of work), I totally forgot to post about it. After a brief Facebook interaction on Mode Shift Omaha‘s Facebook page on Monday, I realized this.  Completely distracted by a grant proposal that was due that day, I attempted to email Sarpy to engage them on the best way to detour around this.  The response I received was positive, both of us acknowledging it was  a little late in the game to do much.

All of this got me thinking that there has to be a better way. While we don’t need to have a dedicated bike lane for every closed road on popular bike routes, our local municipalities do need to consider the socio-economic impact of closing access for bicycles.  What someone lost his/her job for being late due to no legitimate detour? There’s zero bus service from Metro Transit there.

A bit of a grey area...

A bit of a grey area…

Sure, a flat tire can delay you by 10-15 minutes, but finding a new route can be stressful and/or put you on dangerous roads like nearby Cornhusker. The reroutes for this would delay riders by 10-20 minutes or more, and that’s assuming they have access to a smart phone.

Just for fun, let’s say you’re a teacher at G Stanley Hall Elementary School, and you live near Twin Creek. You’d likely catch the West Papio at Raynor Parkway, head north to Harrison, use sidepath and school route to get to work, avoiding most busy streets.

With this closure, you would find the trail closed at Cornhusker. You’d have to back track or brave 45mph on a poor shoulder. Even if you took the came back south and West Papio combined with neighborhood streets, you’d have 72nd to deal with, likely having to take to the sidewalk for safety.

Mind the Gap!

Mind the Gap!

All joking aside, I learned all the people I spoke with were kind and helpful, and they all plan to keep in communication with Omaha Bikes as future projects affect bike routes! Advocacy in action!

If you know of any closures that affect your route and and to share you planned detour, let us know, and we’ll post your suggested route.

Be safe out there!

Wet/Slippery Area on South O Trail

August 10th, 2016 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Trails

Please be careful out there! There is a section to the east of 50th Street that is wet and slippery. Please slow down and use caution.

City of Omaha Parks and Recreation will be placing temporary signage soon until the long-term fix can be addressed later this year. Please see map below for approximate location.

South Omaha Trail - Wet Slippery Section-2016-08-10

Field Club Trail Closure – Monday, August 8th through Friday, August 12th

August 3rd, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Bike Commuting, News, Trails | Tags: ,

Omaha Parks & Recreation Department announced today, August 2, 2016 that a section of the Field Club Trail from Pacific Street to Martha Street will be closed starting on Monday, August 8th through Friday, August 12th so that the Parks & Recreation Department can address drainage issues along this section of the trail. The trail will be closed each day from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will be open in the evenings. There is a suggested detour using sidewalks along city streets.

One option is to detour east on Martha, turn on 35th Ave, dismount at Center St and use south sidewalk to get to crosswalk/stoplight at 36th St, cross Center St and follow sharrows north on 36th St, turn west on Pacific St to reconnect with Field Club Trail. Use extreme caution crossing Center Street! Map as follows:

20160802 Field Club detour alternate

The following route detour is the suggested detour per City of Omaha Parks & Recreation, however riding 42nd St. sidewalk is not a recommended option for bicycles, and 42nd St is a very busy street not on any bicycle routes.

Field Club Trail-Closure-2016-08-02


Any questions about the closure can be directed to Dennis E. Bryers, FASLA, PLA at 402-444-3798 or

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