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Windchill and Adventure Riding

December 17th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Rides | Tags: , ,

I thought it was cold on the ride to work yesterday. Didn’t realize the air temp was below freezing at 30 F. Add in a wind out of the West at 15-20 mph, and it was cold heading West.

Let’s look at the different feels-like temperature based on which direction I was going:

Windchill in 10 Degree Bands

Windchill in 10 Degree Bands

Going with the wind at 10mph, there would be a 5mph at my back and the temp would feel like 25. But head into the wind at 5mph, there would be a 20mph in my face and the temp would feel like 17.

In actuality, the difference in direction felt like much more than 8 degrees. It was the difference from a pleasant ride to a painful ride for any exposed skin around my balaclava.

Everyone has a different comfort zone, from searing cold to stifling heat; and different band widths of tolerable, comfortable, enjoyable. For me, part of the calculus is psychological as well, until I reach the boundary of prolonged pain from cold in my extremities, specifically hands and feet, or the small area of exposed facial skin. This moves the psychological pain to physically detrimental.

The psychological part comes from understanding the amount of heat we generate while riding. We are a veritable furnace that works like heating a building that uses windows to adjust the temperature, i.e. with layers of clothes that we can adjust via zippers or remove. We can also adjust the temperature by the effort we are putting out. Most of it has to be at low speeds because of the windchill affect. But climbing hills, increasing snow depth, or challenging snow ruts all can be used to adjust our heat to ride in our comfort zone.

For me, it is easier to wear normal seasonal clothing for shorter rides in the cold because I can adjust the heat with effort; whereas in hot temperatures, I sweat just standing around in the 80′s. There, riding at a couple miles per hour will cool my sweating body until air temps reaches about 100, then one must be very careful not to get heat stroke no matter the effort.

In either temperature extreme, the longer rides should be curtailed unless artificial heating or cooling can be obtained periodically. But for a 4 mile ride to work, the windchill needs to be in the single digits or less for me to consider canceling because of physical danger. Time wise, that is putting me outside for 20-30 minutes.

Wind is more critical than temperature. I have ridden at -5 degrees when the wind is dead calm, chimney smoke going straight up like something out of Mary Poppins. This sight is beautiful because of its uniqueness in the crisp, clear air. But about 30 minutes of putting around at 5 mph is about all I want. A trip through the neighborhood and around Standing Bear Lake fits the bill well.

I encourage all of us to push our comfort envelope and ride short distances in slightly uncomfortable temperatures. We may find after the initial few minutes of coldness, our effort is generating enough heat to create a short, enjoyable adventure. And if we experiment further with clothing and varying environments, we may expand our comfort zone and come across new adventures, maybe even replacing the motor vehicle on short trips to the store, restaurant, coffee shop, or pub. We may work ourselves up to night time snow flake rides on quiet streets except for the snow crunching beneath our tires.

Post Midnight During a Snow Storm to Catch a Great Ride!

Post Midnight During a Snow Storm to Catch a Great Ride!

Enjoy the ride! Experiment in this Winter season and find new adventures!
Dale

Inspiring EVERYONE to Ride

November 21st, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Community | Tags: , , , ,

In my opinion, Omaha Bikes needs to follow Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition‘s approach to inspire everyone to ride. This requires me to read and listen to others’ experience that is different from mine. I need to put myself in their shoes if I want to better understand their view and their ideas. Their view and ideas may be disconcerting to me but necessary to feel some of their emotion and rationale for their response to life and death events. If Omaha Bikes wants to put into action for all our mission to “promotes and advocates for bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding area”, empathy is a first step. Dale

I quote in its entirety the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition’s November 20, 2015 facebook post:

“Last night we thanked our amazing volunteers and members and looked toward the future. We also recognized the enormity of the moment our city is in after the tragic shooting of Jamar Clark. This is a moment fundamentally to advance justice and make a stronger and more meaningful commitment to addressing racial disparities. Local organizers of color are giving us actions and ideas for addressing these real challenges facing too many in our community. We hope that everyone will take this moment to truly listen to those ideas.

We work to inspire people to bike and for a Minneapolis where EVERYONE feels comfortable riding. We do that because we know that the bicycle can be a powerful tool to improve individual’s lives and our community. And we do that while understanding that bicycling intersects with many other issues, including those at the fore of protests along Plymouth Avenue at the 4th Precinct.

Work to advance bicycling in Minneapolis simply cannot be successful if we do not serve the needs of all our diverse communities. We cannot be successful if we leave behind, ignore, or do not serve communities of color. We cannot be successful if we ignore concerns that both fear of crime and fears of police racial profiling and brutality are barriers to more biking.

We are not shy in saying that the status quo can and needs to be improved for many things that impact biking. There can be no doubt that police conduct and community relations can and must be improved and that will require change. There can be no doubt that the disparities between black community members (and other communities of color) and white community members in our city are unacceptable and addressing them will require change.

We are committed to proactively doing what we can within our work around biking to address racial disparities, institutional racism, and injustices. We know that biking is only a small part of a much larger body of work that touches all parts of government and society, but we know that biking can play a role. At this challenging time, we hope that our community will come together like never before to advance justice and opportunity for all.

For more on the intersection of these complex issues, we recommend this piece from last year from Adonia Lugo, a national leader on the bicycling and equity issues.”

Seeing & Believing In Bike Equity

Do Riders, Walkers, or Drivers have Lowest Traffic Death Rate?

November 19th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: News | Tags: ,

speed kills people walking, riding, and driving

speed kills people walking, riding, and driving


Nebraska Bicycling Alliance put out a press release Wednesday, Nov 18 on AAA Nebraska’s report of the high number of people walking and riding bicycles that have been killed so far in 2015: 16 walking and 4 riding. The last time we reached this number of people killed riding in Nebraska was in 2001 with 5.
One death is one too many and I believe every person who rides on the streets and roads is sensitized and occassionally feels in danger of being hit by a motor vehicle. I think most would agree that the perceived lack of safety when riding a bicycle amongst motor vehicles is the biggest hinderance to more people riding.

I decided to look at the Nebraska traffic statistics from 10 years, 2005-14, and get a better feel for the likelyhood of death by collision while riding a bicycle. Here is the webpage where the data is located, e.g. the 2014 annual report was read along with the corresponding year end fatality toll comparisons.

Over the 10 years, there were a total of 333,335 crashes and 2251 deaths. Of these, there were 3570 crashes involving pedestrians and 95 deaths; and 2702 crashes involving bicycles and 16 deaths. Thus, the 16 pedestrian deaths this year are 1.68 times the 10 year average; while the 4 rider deaths this year is 2.5 times the 10 year average. Hopefully, there are data in the police reports about the environment and causes that would help explain this year’s death rate aberation.

The crashes involving bicycles account for 0.81% of the total. If we had an estimate of the total number of bike rides on the road versus the total number of motor vehicle trips, we could see how the bicycle mode share percentage compares against the crash percentage, and thus determine if we are more likely to get into a crash with a bicycle or motor vehicle. Not having this data keeps us from determing which mode of movement is least likely to be involved in a crash.

The death rate per bicycle crash is 0.59%, about 1 death in 169 crashes. This sounds high, but we must remember that these are police reported bicycle crashes. Crashes not reported would lower this death/crash rate whereas we can assume that all traffic deaths involving a bicycle are reported.

The death/crash rate for people in a motor vehicle is 0.64%, about 1 death in 156 crashes (total crashes/(total deaths – (bicycle and pedestrian deaths))). Thus, the data reveal a person is more likely to die in a crash riding a motor vehicle than riding a bicycle. The caveat here is that the data are describing different crashes – the person(s) in the motor vehicle die(s) at a non bicycle crash.

On the surface, these data seem counterintuitive. My guess is that the speed of the non bicycle, motor vehicle crash is higher; coupled with the ‘first harmful event’ which caused the crash, e.g. over 90% of deadly crashes involved vehicle on vehicle, overturned, and fixed objects. I am guessing more bicycle crashes are on lower speed streets. Another part of the cause may be the ‘perceived safety’ of a motor vehicle encourages one to drive faster and less carefully.

To bring our intuition in line with the data, we should increase our ‘perceived safety’ of riding by improving our skills via Cycling Savvy or LCI classes; lower our feeling of safety riding a motor vehicle (tank syndrome), and drive more carefully.

The highest death rate per crash is for pedestrians, 2.66% or about 1 death in 38 crashes. Because we walk so much in non roadways, that gives us the perception that walking is safe, but that peception needs to be replace with non distracted awareness of our surroundings when walking on sidewalks and streets.

As thinking individuals, we need to employ a better frame of mind in order to engage our fellow travelers more skillfully no matter which mode of movement we choose.

Bridging the West Papio Trail Gap

October 26th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Trails | Tags:

With the recent extension of the West Papio Trail to 108th and Giles, now we just need a road route to reach the end of the west section at Hwy 50 (138th and P St). Looking at dogis.org topo layer and driving through a couple alternatives, here is the suggested route for the least amount of traffic and least elevation change. There is a challenging climb on two lane 132nd St with no shoulder nor sidewalk. The cool part is a little off road section that incorporates an isolated section of old Harrison St that hasn’t been used since the Harrison St was rerouted around 1993.

Here is a snip of the route taken from the Omaha Area Bike Routes Map:

Hwy 50- P St  to Giles Rd-108th St

Hwy 50- P St to Giles Rd-108th St

West Papio Trail-Hwy 50, P St, 136th St, Discovery Dr, 132nd St, Sky Park Dr, Old Harrison, Eastport Pkwy, Giles Rd, 108th St, West Papio Trail

132nd St looking South

132nd St looking South

The challenging section is a total of 1/2 mile on two lane 132nd St. There is a sidewalk available on the West side to the right turn near the car. From there to the left turn up the hill, 600′ distance, 40′ of climbing (6.7%), no shoulder, no sidewalk. Fortunately, this section of 132nd St is two lane because there is not a lot of traffic most of the day.

Going North down the hill, one will feel like they have Armstrong legs on EPO, and some may come close to the 45 mph speed limit.

Aerial View of Sky Park Dr, Old Harrison St, Eastport Pkwy

Aerial View of Sky Park Dr, Old Harrison St, Eastport Pkwy

Looking SW at Sky Park Dr and Harrison St

Looking Southeast at Sky Park Dr and Harrison St

Jump curb and ride grass to old Harrison St

Jump curb and ride grass to old Harrison St

Old Harrison St to Sky Park Dr

Old Harrison St to Sky Park Dr

Old Harrison St looking East

Old Harrison St looking East

Old Harrison St up shoulder to Eastport Pkwy

Old Harrison St up shoulder to Eastport Pkwy

Looking South on Eastport Pkwy. 3 lanes, 25 mph, little traffic.

Looking Southeast on Eastport Pkwy. 3 lanes, 25 mph, little traffic.

Going West on Eastport, exit right just past Storage One entrance

Going West on Eastport, exit right just past Storage One entrance

Down shoulder from Eastport Pkwy to Old Harrison St

Down shoulder from Eastport Pkwy to Old Harrison St

Looking West on Old Harrison St

Looking West on Old Harrison St

Giles Road has cement shoulders that look fairly clean to ride on.

I am stoked about riding on historical roads that have been taken out of service, imagining an earlier time out and environment. Bicycles allow one to get off the beaten path, even if it requires walking a short section here or there.

Enjoy the ride!

P.S. Some older aerial shots from dogis.org:

1993 old Harrison St isolated

1993 old Harrison St isolated

1962 Harrison and I-80

1962 Harrison and I-80

1941 Harrison and West Papillion Creek

1941 Harrison and West Papillion Creek

South Omaha Trail – Oct Update

October 21st, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Trails | Tags:
Feb 2016 is scheduled completion date.

Feb 2016 is scheduled completion date.

The dirt is in place for most of the South Omaha Trail from 38th and D St to the Field Club Trail and Vinton St. Hopefully these two sections separated by 36th St will have the cement laid before the ground gets frost for the Winter.

Nothing beyond the Spring tree removal has taken place from the current end of the SOT at 45th and G St to where it will cross D St at approximately 40th Ave. The current height of the trail corridor at 43rd and D St is to be 10′ lower if I recall the blueprints correctly. The rubble which was dumped on top of the old RR bed years ago will be pushed further East to help fill in the gap to the 42nd St bridge. A large retaining wall also needs to be built along the trail where it parallels an active RR line between 43rd and 42nd St.

Here are Oct 20 pics moving from West to East:

Near 43rd and D St looking West

Near 43rd and D St looking Southwest


Looking up towards 43rd and D St.

Looking up towards 43rd and D St.


Looking East at 43rd and D.

Looking East at 43rd and D.


This current trail corridor above will be lowered 10′ with excess being pushed down the hill to fill in the gap to 42nd St bridge.
Bottom of corridor looking West up hill.

Bottom of corridor looking West up hill.


Closer view of rubble filled over original RR bed.

Closer view of rubble filled over original RR bed.


Farther East looking West at hill.

Farther East looking West at hill.


Looking East at 42nd St bridge.

Looking East at 42nd St bridge.


Where trail will go under 42nd St bridge.

Where trail will go under 42nd St bridge.


37th and D St looking West.

37th and D St looking West.


37th and D St looking East.

37th and D St looking East.


Near 36th Ave and D St looking East.

Near 36th Ave and D St looking East.


36th Ave and D St looking West.

36th Ave and D St looking West.


Next to I-80 looking West to 36th St.

Next to I-80 looking West to 36th St.


Next to I-80 looking East.

Next to I-80 looking East.


Start of descent to go under I-80.

Start of descent to go under I-80.


Final grade of hill to I-80 viaduct.

Final grade of hill to I-80 viaduct.


Middle of hill looking West

Middle of hill looking West


Middle of hill looking Northeast.

Middle of hill looking Northeast.


Looking North under I-80 towards Field Club Trail.

Looking North under I-80 towards Field Club Trail.


Looking Southwest up hill.

Looking Southwest up hill.


Looking North on Field Club Trail towards Vinton St.

Looking North on Field Club Trail towards Vinton St.


Looking South on Field Club Trail towards I-80.

Looking South on Field Club Trail towards I-80.

Was surprised to see the dirt hill in place to get under I-80. Vinton St is closed while Vrana finishes the CSO (sanitary and storm sewer separation) work. There are still a lot of cement pipe and catch basins sitting there to be installed. In talking with someone a couple weeks ago, there will be more underground overflow pools like the one installed along the elevator further North along the Field Club Trail.

overflow pool south end

overflow pool south end


overflow pool middle

overflow pool middle


overflow pool north end

overflow pool north end

Previous posts on South Omaha Trail:

September Update
August Update
July Update
June Update
March Update
Initial Post with Overview

2015 Cranksgiving

October 13th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Community | Tags:

We had a great day to ride and buy food to donate to the Food Bank of the Heartland. About 40 people took part in the rides, while several others dropped food off at the participating bike shops. We ended up with 13 boxes and 498 lbs of food!
13 boxes
fork lift
weight

Pics from the Rides

Re-Cycle Bike Shop

Re-Cycle Bike Shop


Re-Cycle Bike Shop recovery stop

Re-Cycle Bike Shop recovery stop


bike rack
Omaha Bicycle Co.

Omaha Bicycle Co.


Endless Trail Bike Shop

Endless Trail Bike Shop


Endless Trail bikes

Endless Trail bikes


Bike Masters

Bike Masters


Bike Masters

Bike Masters


At Trader Joes

At Trader Joes


At Hy-Vee

At Hy-Vee


bike masters

There are more Crankgiving photos on facebook at Endless Trails Bike Shop and Bike Masters.

Thank You

Thank you to the people who rode and bought food, or just dropped food off at the shops. The people who find themselves in need of the Food Bank of the Heartland services thank you.

Feedback

People who participated really enjoyed the rides. 4 of 5 shops specifically mentioned wanting to be involved in the multi bike shop event next year. The casual group ride style appealed to riders and shop organizers. Several people mentioned not hearing about the ride. Between moving Cranksgiving from November to October, and Omaha Bikes and the bike shops not pushing out the event info earlier or through multiple media channels, not all who would have participated did. We will do a better job of getting the word out next year.

Scheduled Food Rides

09:00 Bike Masters Cycling – coffee and brownies at 8:30, snacks post ride
09:00 Omaha Bicycle Co. – donate food and get a 20% discount on one item
10:30 Bike Rack – burgers on the grill post ride
14:30 Re-Ccycle Bike Shop – skip the Husker game and come join us!
15:30 Endless Trail Bike Shop – riding around town to hit every store

Omaha BMX is collecting food at concession stand during races on Tuesday (13th) and Friday (16th)

Locations of Saturday bike shop rides and Friday bmx race collection

Most Needed Food Items

Peanut butter
Macaroni & cheese
Canned tuna & chicken
Cereal
Pancake mix
Canned fruit & vegetables
Pork & beans
Pasta & sauce
Boxed meals

Background

Cranksgiving (http://www.cranksgiving.org/) is an annual food drive on two wheels started in NYC in 1999. From 2007-2012, Omaha has had an event from Bike Masters, and last year from Bike Masters (http://bikemasterscycling.com/) and Omaha Bicycle Co. (http://www.omahabicycleco.com/)

This year, Omaha Bikes (http://OmahaBikes.org) proposed centering cranksgiving through the metro area’s local bike shops. Seven shops committed to host a ride.

What is the shop’s role? Organize a casual or competitive event that starts and ends at the bike shop on Saturday, Oct 17.

Last year, the Bike Masters event was a casual fun ride with a handful of people. We rode together on trails and neighborhood streets to several stores for items and returned.

A more traditional cranksgiving involves a mass start competition in which the riders get one item per store and return the as quickly as possible.

I have scheduled Saturday, October 17 with the Food Bank for the Heartland (http://foodbankheartland.org/). I will get the food drive boxes (18”x15”x12”) holding 30-40 pounds of food and drop them off at your shop by Friday, Oct 16. I will pick up the boxes Saturday afternoon or early next week.

The food drive boxes of food will be given to FBH as a gift from people who ride bicycles. This is not a competition between shops. Cranksgiving is an opportunity for many people to have fun riding and giving to those in need.

If one cannot attend a ride, you may buy meals or products via http://foodbankheartland.org/donate-funds/.

Please consider riding with friends or from a nearby participating bike shop to buy food for those in need.

Dale Rabideau
2015 Cranksgiving Coordinator

South Omaha Trail – Sept Update

September 14th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Trails | Tags:

Christopher Burbach of the Omaha World Herald wrote up an article on the coordination between the CSO (Clean Solutions for Omaha), which separates storm sewer from sanitation sewer, and construction of the South Omaha Trail.

With drier weather, Vrana is moving dirt, pouring cement, building retention walls and water detention chambers. Here are some pictures showing the progress:

West end of sidepath on D St

West end of sidepath on D St

D and 38 St a couple days ago

D and 38 St a couple days ago

D and 38 St today

D and 38 St today

D St sidepath looking west

D St sidepath looking west

Below shows the old curb and storm sewer juxtaposed with the new curb, i.e. the street diet plus a couple feet of land to fit in the 8′ wide sidepath trail. The rest of South Omaha Trail is 10′ wide.

End of D St looking east

End of D St looking east

Prep for retention wall at east end of D St

Prep for retention wall at east end of D St

Trail to 36th St at 5% grade

Trail to 36th St at 5% grade

blocks for the retaining wall

blocks for the retaining wall

moving dirt

moving dirt

Retaining wall just west of 36th St a couple days ago

Retaining wall just west of 36th St a couple days ago

Looking west from 36th St

Looking west from 36th St

Trail side of wall east of 36th

Trail side of wall east of 36th

Looking north under I-80 viaduct

Looking north under I-80 viaduct a couple days ago

Looking west from south of I-80 viaduct a couple days ago

Looking west from south of I-80 viaduct a couple days ago

Spot of previous picture today

Spot of previous picture today

Big toys for big boys and girls

Big toys for big boys and girls

Hauling dirt from water detention chambers

Hauling dirt from water detention chambers

Water detention area

Water detention area

sept pic 07

The stake marks the width yet to be dug out

The stake marks the width yet to be dug out

Water detention chambers will go north to front end loader (almost Vinton St)

Water detention chambers will go north to front end loader (almost Vinton St)

Great to see all the workers, equipment, and dirt moving and making progress!

Previous posts on South Omaha Trail:
August Update
July Update
June Update
March Update
Initial Post with Overview

Omaha Bus Rapid Transit Station comments

August 26th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Advocacy | Tags:

Omaha Metro presented three designs for BRT stations and are soliciting feedback through Aug 29 (this Saturday).

For BRT to be successful, it must appeal to people who have access to automobiles. Thus BRT must provide a service that competes with, or at least comes close to, a person’s experience in a car. Three requirements come to mind: Functionality, Comfort, Speed. These three characteristics need to be experienced in two places: the stations and the buses. We will concentrate on stations here.

Station Characteristics that Serve Functionality, Comfort, Speed

  • protection from the elements (sun, rain, snow, wind, temperature) – this is the most important design criteria but the presented designs are sorely lacking best practices when compared to other BRT stations already in service such as Cleveland cited in ModeShift Omaha’s station writeup.
  • aesthetics – the designs seem to have concentrated on this aspect. Aesthetics is more difficult to judge than protection. Simplicity, robustness, fitting into and complimenting established place settings are some criteria.
  • Heartland B-cycle stations should have space set aside at stations which connect to destinations with stations, e.g. UNO, Dundee, etc.
  • Parking protection for private bicycles. A minimal roof covering the bicycle parking stations should be included. These are common at train commuter stations and BRT is suppose to mimic the experience of a train on wheels. The bicycle roofs can serve double duty by providing protection from sun, rain, and snow for people to stand under if the station seating is filled to capacity.

Putting these all together, I would take the old small town depots pre WWII as a starting template for design.

  • A roof running the length and width of the station platform. Aesthetics should be simple with steel supports and a roof to match the environmental architecture (shag shingle, or UV and infrared blocking sunscreens, or retro train depot, etc.)
  • A pedestrian seating area protected from wind with metro system bus map, ticket station. This would run about half the length of the station.
  • Bicycle corral that holds 10+ bikes perpendicular to the street. If empty, people can lean against them in lieu of seating area.

In areas where the right-of-way is too narrow for a full station, a skinny station simulating full size except the seating is one row all facing the street and the bicycle parking has rings end to end running parallel with the street.

The Westroads Transit Center has a couple of these features. I would tweak that template with the above recommendations and use minor aesthetic cues, trademark, real time display for next buses, to distinguish the BRT from a metro transit center. In other words, use a transit center plus features for each BRT station. If BRT is a train on wheels, a train depot (modern passenger or retro small town) should be the base from which to build on.

If you agree with, or disagree with any of these suggestions or ModeShift Omaha’s suggestions, or have other features you would like to see at these stations, please participate in Omaha Metro’s survey by Saturday, Aug. 29.

South Omaha Trail – August update

August 25th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Trails, Uncategorized | Tags:

After attending the ribbon cutting of the West Papio Trail extension to 108th and Giles, I took a look at the South Omaha Trail construction which is the other Metro Trail extension occurring in 2015.

In the four weeks since the last update, progress in moving painstakingly slowly:

Looking West on D St

Looking West on D St

MUD has finished natural gas main work but storm sewer lines need to be added/updated. There are grade stakes put in for dirt and cement work.

Looking East at end of D St to 36th St

Looking East at end of D St to 36th St

The trail bed is starting to be cut into the side of the hill.

Excavator pulling dirt down the bank

Excavator pulling dirt down the bank

Bull dozer is moving top soil and vegetation off the trail bed

Bull dozer is moving top soil and vegetation off the trail bed

From 36th looking West

From 36th looking West

This 2.5 block (300 yd) 5% grade will build strong muscles going East and provide a break from pedaling going West. Seasoned bicycle riders will slow down for intersections at the bottom along D St. Cars will likely pull onto the trail before stopping, or more likely, just slowing to turn because of little car traffic on the dead end D St. I hope the plan includes bike/pedestrian crossing signs and stop lines for 38th St, 39th St, and 39th Ave that alert the people driving to stop for people on the trail.

Bull dozer dumping top soil

Bull dozer dumping top soil

Cement retaining wall

Cement retaining wall

South side of wall is driveway

South side of wall is driveway

North side of wall is trail side

North side of wall is trail side

9% grade will be a challenge for West bound people riding and walking.

Why the Slow Progress?

In talking with a Vrana employee, two issues were mentioned. First, the amount of rain we’ve been having this year has limited the number of days for moving dirt. Second, the source for dirt has changed. Up to Memorial Day, the dirt was coming from work on the North entrance of the Henry Doorly Zoo. Kiewit suspended dirt removal till Labor Day because of unforeseen issues at the Zoo. Now because of design changes in the African Grassland Safari, all the dirt will stay in the Zoo which leaves Vrana looking for another source for 30,000 cubic yards of dirt.

I mentioned the CSO work in Spring Lake Park where the lake is being restored as part of the sewer separation and beautification of Spring Lake. I also mentioned that Tranquility Park was tapped during the 2011 flood for dirt to raise the levy around the South Omaha bridge sewer plant.

If you know of a source for large quantities of dirt, preferably near the trail construction area, please let Vrana know.

From the gentleman I was talking to, meeting the February completion date is a concern unless drier weather and a source for dirt come sooner rather than later.

Previous posts on South Omaha Trail:
July Update
June Update
March Update
Initial Post with Overview

Comparing Omaha with Montreal

August 20th, 2015 | Author: Dale Rabideau
Category: Activate Omaha | Tags:

The Guardian reports on Montreal’s bike friendly success.

Upon reading the article about Montreal’s Tour de L’Ile, an 18-60 mile ride with 30K people participating, I wondered how that compares to Omaha’s recent Corporate Cycling Challenge, a 10-42 mile ride with 4.4K people participating.

Montreal has 1.65M people on 140 sq miles of land (11,700/mile) with 400 miles of bike lanes, 150 miles of that separated from motor traffic.
Omaha has 447K people on 127 sq miles of land (3200/mile) with estimated 100 miles of separated bike lanes (Metro trails) and less than 10 miles of bike lanes and less than 20 miles of sharrows.

Omaha has 27% of Montreal’s population and Corporate Challenge was 14.6% of Tour de L’Ile.
Omaha has 27.5% of Montreal’s bike lanes. Thus based on population, we have about the same lane miles per person. But Mayor Denis Coderre has promised to double Montreal’s bike lanes. Thus, with the new Complete Street Policy, we would need to build at least 100 miles of bike lanes to match Montreal’s planned build out for bike lane miles per person.

When we compare bike lane density per square mile, Omaha is only 25% of Montreal. Thus for grid coverage, we need 300 more miles of bike lanes to bring us up to Montreal’s current lane density, and another 700 bike lane miles to match Montreal’s planned density.

Our low population density is a limiting factor for bicycle and transit participation. Couple that with our low bike lane mileage per square mile and low transit route coverage, contributes to low bicycle and transit mode share.

If we tripled our biking infrastructure to match Montreal’s density, would we double the turnout at the Corporate Challenge and match the Tour de L’Ile? Even more important, would adding another 300 miles of bike lanes significantly increase our bike share mode?

Speaking of bike share, Montreal has 5000 Bixi bikes compared to about 300 Heartland B-cycles. Based on population, that would be equivalent to 1350 B-cycles for Omaha. How much would another 1000 B-cycles increase bicycle mode share?

Montreal is more hilly than Omaha with a triple peak hill at the center of the city over 700′ above sea level. They average 82″ of snow, we 32″. There average high of 79F in July produces much less sweat than our 89F.

As the article recounts, bicycling became popular in the 70′s with the oil embargo and never went away. “We had a lot of what I call cycle frustration,” Silverman says. “At the time there was no infrastructure, nothing to encourage biking, all the transport spending since the war had gone into cars.” Montreal has taken 40 years to get where they are today, and have a plan to double lane mileage. Omaha is less than 10 years into advocating for more and improved bicycle infrastructure. With the recent Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, it may be 30 years before major arterial routes like Center Rd, Leavenworth out to Elmwood Park, etc. are completely fitted with protected bike lanes. We can advocate for this to occur more quickly but maybe those long estimates are more realistic since we don’t have a large community that rides bicycles most days.

“The cycling culture is seen as a draw for Montreal, a place regularly included in the various league tables of the world’s most liveable cities….“We’re very proud. We changed the city. It’s rare you get involved in a movement that really changes things.”

To change our opportunities to ride, we need people to get involved. We need more people to figure out how to ride more often to school, the store, with friends, to work. We need more people to participate in large rides like the Corporate Cycling Challenge, the OWL Ride, and the Commuter Challenge. And we need people to contribute ideas, energy, and even money to advocacy groups like Nebraska Bicycle Alliance, Iowa Bicycle Coalition, ModeShift Omaha, Community Bicycle Shop Omaha, The Bike Union Mentoring Program, Omaha Bikes, and others that encourage, educate, and enable people to ride bicycles.

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