March 28th, 2017 |
Author: Pell Duvall
, Urban Design
, You name it
| Tags: advocacy
, omaha bikes
This is blog 2 of 5 in our 2017 focus on positivity. This series is designed to offer perspective of how our approach to be a trusted resource to make the Omaha Metro Area safer for people on bikes.
With news and social media feeds bombarding us with information daily, it is often difficult to determine if or how to respond to statements we see. The goal of this summary is to illustrate how a few truthful statements combined with limited substantive data led to a perceived bicycle advocacy crisis.
As I was socializing with friends after a day full of meetings and catching up after the National Bike Summit (more on this in our next blog post), a Twitter mention notification appeared the evening of March 16th on @omahabikes from an individual prompted my response.
I excused myself from the group to investigate. From the scope of what I could recall and/or find on my phone, I quickly determined that I had not been briefed on any pending project with possible negative impact on bicycle infrastructure in that area (nor in any part of the metro area). I promptly responded that we would investigate. Several responses from other individuals and organizations, including @ModeShiftOmaha and @AEPNAtweets, offered a few snippets of information for follow up. I added this to my trusty task list to follow up.
The following morning, I dug in a little to find out more about what was happening. I could find no evidence on cityofomaha.org and was then unable to view the AEPNA update on Facebook as I was not yet approved by the group admin. I was then quickly distracted by the daily flurry of emails, social media, and general Friday catch up work. Later that day, I spoke with Stephen Osberg, the City of Omaha’s designated contact for bicycle and active living, and he was unaware of existing plans to remove bike lanes on 63rd St and recommended I contact Omaha Public Works for more information.
KETV later published a story about safety concerns after several serious crashes and a fatality at this intersection. With a several important meetings at the start of the week and focused on several key events and some internal organizational necessities, I was delayed in reaching out to Omaha Public Works for more information about how Omaha Bikes could help. After a bit of phone tag, we coordinated a time to chat by phone the following afternoon. And this is where positivity becomes a key value to this exchange.
At 3pm on a Friday after a very long week, the city engineer took time to discuss the situation with no goal other than to understand how to make our city safer and help each other do just that. He verified that there were several proposed plans and confirmed that there several plans proposed to calm traffic at this dangerous intersection in various methods. These plans will be presented to the Active Living Advisory Committee later this month and none involve removing current bike lanes. (Some proposed plans even extend existing lanes to the south!)
He also explained some details about what their traffic studies have revealed about this street with a 30 mph speed limit:
- Vehicles traveling on S 63rd St to the north of Shirley St (where the bike lanes are) averaged over 8 mph over the posted speed limit
- Vehicles traveling on S 63rd St to the south of Shirley St (with no bike lanes) averaged only 3 mph over the posted speed limit
Traffic calming methods vary by situation but generally use several principles: vertical deflections (speed bumps), horizontal deflections (traffic circles or chicanes), and/or lane narrowing slow the traffic. Parking lanes, striped bike lanes, and curb bump-outs are a few examples of how to narrow the actual or perspective of a lane to slow traffic.
To offer some perspective about why this is 100% relevant to the safety of all road users in that area, I offer the following graphic representation around pedestrian deaths from a Vision Zero collaborative presentation I gave at the Nebraska Bike/Walk Summit just last week (bicycling statistics are also very comparable):
We discussed our mutual concerns at length about availability of information as well as what is most important to address here: safety. With the current design, we would essentially double the chance that a person riding a bike or walking would be killed in the event of a crash with a motor vehicle. We agreed this was an opportunity better understand our mutual goals with future projects, so Omaha Bikes can be a source of information and reassurance when questions are raised.
In the end, we learned that this tempest in a teapot is not a wrongful response of any one person or organization. It was a series of public statements about proposed bike infrastructure changes with limited access to planning resources. We see this as an opportunity to continue to strengthen and build relationships between public agencies and advocacy organizations be a trusted resource to make the Omaha Metro Area safer for people on bikes.
February 28th, 2017 |
As we all begin to get our bikes tuned up for spring, we want to set our intention for bicycling and bike advocacy in Omaha for 2017: positivity.
To0 often, we are caught up in the negative headlines of the world, the stories we hear from people getting harassed on their bicycles, or just that colleague who can’t seem to find a reason to enjoy the day. At Omaha Bikes, we seek to be the positive voice to make Omaha safer for people on bikes and make Omaha a premier metropolitan area for the bicycling public. This blog series is dedicated to celebrating the amazing accomplishments that bring us to those goals. To kick of the series we’re going to look at one of the most unexpectedly positive pieces of bicycle infrastructure to affect our city since 2009: bus mounted bike racks.
Every Metro Transit bus has a 2-bike rack that can be used for FREE with your paid fare on any route in the metro area. The use of these racks has skyrocketed since they were installed in late 2008 continues to grow each year! Usage increased by over 570% from 2009 to 2016. (No that’s not a typo)
Some of the most amazing things begin with happenstance; here’s a little history about how it happened. Seed money for the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge was total around $19 million congressional earmark former Senator Kerrey. The total included a little more than $3 million in Federal Transit Administration funds.
The award of federal funds and spending them is often a complicated task. And, it was that way, at least, with the FTA funds. City officials had to develop a travel model defining a transit link to the bridge for transit funds to be part of the budget, and it occurred to them that being able to put bike racks on buses would be a way to spend those FTA funds.
Every day, many people work hard to make our city better, and this is one example of ingenuity and a positive outcome. Stay tuned for more positivity!
January 23rd, 2017 |
, Bike Congress
, Bike Lanes
Last fall Omaha Bikes began hosting the Omaha Bike Congress, a round table gathering of metro area representatives from bicycle organizations, municipalities, bike clubs, and organizations that wish to participate. We will be hosting sessions quarterly for 2017 and beyond.
The goal of the session is to share knowledge and updates among active organizations, so we can share this with you! This is a casual, round-table format where each organization (when possible) provides a 2-3 minute update on their current bicycle-related projects with a group and/or small group discussion after. Please contact us if your organization would like to be included in future! Please note that space is limited, and we may limit attendance to one representative per organization.
Here is the recap of updates provided by organization:
Pell Duvall – Omaha Bikes
- Event Bike Parking continues for 2017 – Earth Day and Dust Off Your Bike Apr 22nd
- Fundraising for comprehensive bike education
- partnership with Metro Transit to present bike safety at Metro driver training
- League Certified Instructor Training March 31 to April 2 – looking for 8-12 candidates (funded by LWO)
Ben Turner – Heartland Bike Share
- macro -Expansion to double bike share capacity in process, pending decisions on key intersections. City & NDOR agreement in place.
- micro – battery management, software updates, bike overhauls
- 11 months continuous ridership! Only 19 days not ridden in 2016. 18.5% increase in ridership and 10% increase in revenue, 5-6% increase in trips per rider.
Jason Rose – Metro Transit
- BRT design & branding firms in early February
- onboard bike racks – public input
- Goal is 6 bikes on bus – now 60’ bus instead of 40’
- Boarding much easier with platform
- B-cycle east of 72nd
- Discussion on bike lockers
Eric Williams – Papio NRD
- West Papio extension 30% design - construction in 2018
- RFP for design work on stormwater facilities that will come with recreation areas and trail connectivity
- 114th from Giles to Cornhusker update
- Possible B-cycle station at Chalco to start long-term West O connections
- Trees on Aksarben Drive – Ash trees – City will treat some to delay – plant intermediate trees $1 million per year for 5-8 years. Only one location (Polasky Park) where was found but history shows cities can’t keep up once started. – If maintenance issues with Army Corps of Engineers to not replace. NRD plans to pay for replacement trees.
- Aksarben bridges – Official trail bridge is southernmost by softball field owned by city. Aksarben Trust owns others. – Looking for input on which bridges are most used.
Mark Stursma – City of Papillion Planning
- ALAC – Mark is new chair. Congrats! Continuing to define role as a committee. Also, a lot of work with Pwks on projects.
- Lincoln Road – portions complete – bike lanes would go from 96th to 132 – narrow bridge at 96th so trail. Ultimately connect Downton Papillion to 132nd
- Building new ped bridge downtown by middle school. Will be ADA compliant. Construction possible summer 2017.
- Community center 2018-2020 – opportunities for B-cycle and shower facilities near trail system
- Papillion Twilight Crit August 19 – Opportunity weekend of June 10, needs TT road, and Bellevue needs to move their crit.
Dennis Bryers – City of Omaha Parks
- South O Trail Done!
- 30th St Trail nearly done
- Bid to go out soon for Turner Blvd trail at Pacific connection
- Erosion near standing bear
- Riverfront Trail Phase Four – held on environmental with wetland mitigation
- Some burglaries along South Omaha Trail 50th to Kiewit – truck painted black with no lights – city adding bollards
- Standing bear lake – issues with cars damaging grounds at RC plane area
Adam Blowers – Community Bike Project Omaha
- CBPO’s 2017 goal is to get increase number of bikes ready and to people in community! Goal to get 600 bikes out this year.
- 200 bikes to be given out during Omaha Spring Cleanup – details TBD
Madison Haugland – Live Well Omaha
- Transportation Enhancement grant continues – 2017 is last year
- Updating commuter bike map for this year. (Will print 30K)
- 11th year of Commuter Challenge – RFP pending to build website for Bike Safety as well as new commuter challenge tracking tool.
- Bike Omaha Network – continuing final connections, way-finding in process for Aksarben Route
Angie Eikenberry* – Mode Shift Omaha
- Commuter Tutor – MSO is looking for people to serve as mentors for people that want to try active transportation for commuting.
Stephen Osberg* – City of Omaha Planning
- Work continues on the Complete Streets Design Manual. We are currently focusing on how context plays a role in shaping street design. As you know, the Stakeholders Committee meets tomorrow.
- We’re continuing to wade through the paperwork in support of our expansion of the bike share system. We’re using federal CMAQ funds to roughly double the size of the current system.
- With Live Well Omaha, we are finalizing our new wayfinding manual for the Bike Omaha network. Hopefully we’ll see the first route signed in the coming year. We are planning to shift away from using the labor-intensive sharrows to a significantly more visible presence of bike route signs.
- The 24th Street Safety project is moving forward, and we’ll begin the next phase of public outreach before too long. The project will reconfigure the current four lanes of 24th St to three lanes (one lane in each direction with a shared turning lane) and add bike lanes from Leavenworth to just north of L Street
- City will continue to install permanent bike racks on Dodge St
Peter Pellerito* – OwL Ride
- The OwL Ride has simplified the way it chooses the date for the event. It is now going to be the second Saturday in July. In 2017, that is July 8th.
Bob Mancuso* – Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club/Corporate Cycling Challenge/Mid-America Expositions
- Omaha Health Expo — April 8-9, 2017 at Baxter Arena — Bike Expo area ——– get exposure for your group, join Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club, Bellevue Bicycle Club, Eastern Nebraska Trails Network, and others at the event.
- Omaha Bike to the Taste of Omaha —- and other events —- Select your event – Sunday June 4, 2017
- Omaha Biathlon
- Midwest Gran Fondo
- 5K Run
- Omaha Bike events – recreational bike rides — 3 routes 9 mile, 15 mile and 43 mile….
- All events include tickets for food and drink at the Taste of Omaha.
- Corporate Cycling Challenge - Sunday August 20, 2017
- and includes the CCC Gran Fondo – Timed bike ride
- From the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club
- We are still checking into Movie night.
- Swap Meet is scheduled for Sunday March 12, 2017 at College of St Mary
*updates provided by email
December 14th, 2016 |
Category: Bike De'Lights
LET’S STAY IN WHERE IT’S WARM!
All, Saturday is looking like a potentially dangerous situation. Current forecast shows ambient temperature around 0 degrees at the start time with wind chills around -20, and ambient temp falling throughout the night. Your safety is our primary concern, and we just can’t encourage people to ride in conditions like this. Frostbite onset at these temperatures can be as soon as 10 minutes, and a small mechanical issue or complication may leave someone in the cold too long.
All that said, we have a great evening planned, so the event is NOT cancelled, it’s just changing from a bike ride to an indoor festival, raffle, and bike decoration contest at Bancroft Street Market. Here’s the details!
6-6:15pm – Gather, setup bikes for judging*
6:15-7:00pm – Voting for best decorated bike, buy raffle tickets
7:00pm – Volunteer award and recognition, decoration award, and raffle drawing
7:30pm-9:00pm – Mingling time
- The first 100 hot drinks from Tap Dancers Coffee (hot chocolate, tea, and coffee courtesy of Bancroft Street Market).
- Volunteer of the year award – Caps off to all of our amazing volunteers. We’ll honor the folks who helped out at our events! (And they get a free raffle ticket for each hour volunteered!)
- RAFFLE!** – We’ll have over $1000 in prizes divided into 4 prize packs. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase for $5 each or 5 for $20. Cash and cards accepted. Each pack contains an annual pass to Heartland B-cycle and other donated goods from local bike shops!
- Enter your decorated bike in the best decorated bike contest!
- Add string lights, garland, a giant yard ornament, or whatever you like! In the spirit of the event, the only requirement is that the bike should be rideable. (meaning wheels and cranks must spin and such)
- Everyone will be given 3 tokens for voting. You may vote all tokens on bike or split them up as you see fit. The person with the most tokens will win the Jolly Roller Award! (We’ll have a custom-made stainless steel trophy fabricated for you, oh yeah!) You’ll also get some donated prizes!
The ride is officially canceled. Persons choosing to ride do so at their own risk. The route will not be marked, and no support stops will be offered. Sorry!!
**Volunteers need not be present to win, however holder of purchased ticket must be present to win. All proceeds go to Omaha Bikes general funds.
November 29th, 2016 |
Author: Pell Duvall
, Bicycle Friendly Destination
, Bike Shop
, Get Involved
, How to Help
| Tags: bicycles
, giving tuesday
, omaha bikes
Today is Giving Tuesday, and Omaha Bikes can use your support today, tomorrow, and in the future. As we approach our ‘off season’ for events, we focus on community impact, planning for 2017, and our favorite signature event: Bike De’Lights! Make sure an join us for an evening enjoying of holiday decorated bicycles and enjoying our festive city by bike!
2016 is a landmark year for Omaha Bikes. This year we accomplished the following:
- Secured funding to expand event bike parking
- Hired first employee since 2014 reorganization
- Increased bicycle event parking equipment to over 200 bike capacity
- Increased bicycle valet parking from 2 to 10 events
- Saved over 700,000 kg of emissions with event parking
- Advocated for improved bike trail closure process
- Hosted the first Omaha Bike Congress
- Guaranteed maintenance agreements for 20 new Bike Fixit stations in 2017
- Cranksgiving – Coordinated with local bike shops to deliver 1000 lbs of supplies to the Siena/Francis House by bike!
- Secured bike safety education in Metro Transit bus driver training curriculum
As we look to 2017, our goals are set even higher:
- Continue current programs
- Expand bike event parking to 15 events
- Expand event parking equipment by 50%
- Expand permanent bike parking rack program to entire metropolitan area
- Represent Omaha at the National Bike Summit
- Guarantee bicycle event parking requirements for events
- Update website with bike valet integration
- Create and implement comprehensive bicycle education to all road users
- Provide funding for children’s bike safety education
- Expand Bicycle-Friendly Destination program
- Secure maintenance agreements for and repair existing Bike Fixit stations
To accomplish our 2017 plan, we have applied for over $60,000 in grants from area foundations. Many of these would be awarded shortly after the first of the year, but there’s no guarantee. Even with full grant funding, we will still be short on general operating expenses. With our current funds near depletion, we need your help to continue our mission.
If you can’t give today, please consider Omaha Bikes and many of your favorite charities this season.
You can support us in many ways, and your donations are tax-deductible!
On a personal note:
To Omaha Bikes’ Board of Directors, thank you for making this year possible. I don’t know where I’d be without your leadership, confidence, and guidance.
To the amazing group of volunteers, your passion for bicycling is incredible. Thank you enduring the hot sun, pouring rain, and all the other battles of the elements!
Many thanks to partnering organizations for your support and encouragement.
Thank you to all of you for making this year the most amazing year yet!
November 21st, 2016 |
On Saturday November 19th, Omaha Bikes hosted a gathering of people from bike shops throughout the bicycling community to deliver an estimated 1000 lbs of supplies to the Siena/Francis House and its mission of hospitality for the homeless.
Cranksgiving began in NYC and has expanded to cities across the country. It’s basically a food drive/scavenger hunt race on two wheels. Traditionally, riders are given a list of items, and each rider must by each item at a different store and return to finish location. Prizes for winners, different divisions, a party after, and all the usual bike race things you’d expect.
Ready to roll! – Photo: Scott R.
Omaha has had many Cranksgiving races as well as social rides over the years, often hosted by Bike Masters as well as other local bike shops. This year Omaha Bikes wanted to do something different. We wanted to bring members of the bicycling community together in the spirit of giving. At the fantastic suggestion of Dale Rabideaux, a mechanic at Bike Masters Cycling, we selected the Siena/Francis House as the charity to benefit from goods collected, and we are happy to support the Siena/Francis House’s atmosphere of hospitality for the homeless. After a few email exchanges with SFH staff, they were very excited to have us pedal the goods over at the end of a Saturday.
Rather than have one big race event, each shop was encouraged to participate in the way that worked for them, and Omaha Bikes would host a gathering and opportunity to deliver all the collected goods by bike!
Bike Masters had a ride earlier this month with about 15 folks picking up food, supplies, and clothing. Also, the shop accepted donations throughout November. Dale rolled up with his minivan FULL! There were six bike boxes filled with food, hygiene products, clothing, coffee, and more! (We scratched out heads and cast doubt if our Bikes At Work trailer’s 600 lb capacity would be exceeded.) Dale didn’t even have room for his bike…but more on that later. Caps off to these folks!!
Endless Trail Bike Shop chose to have a food drive and delivered many boxes filled with canned goods!
The Bike Rack had a ride Saturday morning hitting some hills between the shop and a nearby Hy-Vee. Even with just a handful of riders, Katie and Brittney drove up with boxes and bags of clothes, food, and travel-sized toiletries! (I think they pretty much cleaned out the travel section.) Even after their hilly ride, the gals helped haul all the loot over and stay for a drink.
Last but not least, Omaha Bicycle Company rolls in from Benson, and Sarah leads a crew of 6 or 7 folks bringing all kinds of donations in overloaded panniers, cargo bikes, and backpacks.
Dale and I studied, plotted, and picked our loading plan for the cargo trailer. Everyone started transferring the donations to 5 bike boxes and a few small QBP boxes. With some tape, rope, and straps, the group managed to secure a load very likely near or exceeding it’s weight limit. I was glad to have hydraulic brakes on my Surly Pug Ops!
Uh, I don’t know if it’s all going to fit! Photo: Katie M
There were still several things that wouldn’t fit in panniers or on racks, so Brittney (who just started riding bikes in August) volunteered to pull a B.O.B. trailer, yes! We loaded her up as we saw the OBC folks roll up.
Brittney’s going to pull a trailer, too!
Photo: Katie M.
Dale grabbed a Heartland B-cycle and a big box of mac & cheese!
Bike sharing is giving! – Photo: Katie M.
The OBC folks hadn’t seen us inside, so we caught up with them on the street! I rolled slowly and my brakes shimmied as I stopped suddenly before turning onto Cuming Street (or plan to ride Nicholas via the parking lot involved more of climb, so we opted to take a critical mass method).
Rolling off – Photo: Katie M.
Photo: Katie M.
Photo: Scott R.
Much smiling and bell ringing ensued.
Smiles all around – Photo: Scott R.
We were met with the smiling faces of SFH staff and volunteers. Everyone helped bring the ridiculously heavy boxes from the trailer to the loading dock.
Photo: Scott R.
He must have been motivated by Scott Blake’s presence, so Scott Redd opted for the ‘safety second’ ride in the back of the trailer while holding his bike. There was much laughter and selfie taking on the way back.“It looked like it would be fun,” said Scott Redd. “It wasn’t really very comfortable.”
Safety Second! – Photo: Katie M.
If you look closely, you can see this is a ‘double selfie’…. Photo: Pell
OBC crew joins for the ride! - Photo: Katie M.
After coming back to Omaha Bikes’ office in the CO-LAB of Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, we all enjoyed some beverages, snacks, a tour of the office (including a game of ping pong). It was a great afternoon and evening to spend with friends, new and old, in the spirit of giving.
Omaha Bikes is committed to making our city safer for people on bikes and is a non-profit community organization that promotes and advocates for bicycling infrastructure, opportunities, and experiences for the people of Omaha, Nebraska and the surrounding area. Your donations help us with program development and general operating expenses!
November 9th, 2016 |
Author: Pell Duvall
| Tags: Bellevue Loop Trail
, Keystone Trail
, Omaha Trails
, Sarpy County
, trail closure
From Papio NRD:
November 9, 2016
Contact: Martin Cleveland, NRD Construction Engineer
Office Phone 402-315-1707
Temporary Trail Closure planned for Bellevue Loop Trail
Sewer repair activity by the City of Omaha will cause a temporary closure of the Bellevue Loop Trail, along the Papillion Creek between Capehart Road and Highway 75 in Sarpy County, from November 9th through November 23rd. There is no planned detour for the closure.
November 7th, 2016 |
Author: Pell Duvall
| Tags: big papio
, trail closure
Please see below from Omaha Parks and Recreation Department:
Big Papio Trail Closure – “F” to South 72nd Street
Omaha, NE, November 7, 2016- A section of the Big Papio Trail from “F” street to South 72nd Street will be closed for drainage and erosion improvements starting Tuesday, November 8, 2016. The trail will remain closed for approximately three weeks, reopening around November 30, 2016. There is no detour posted for this trail closure.
For additional information, contact Zach Nelson at the Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District at 402-444-6222 or Dennis E. Bryers, FASLA, PLA at the City of Omaha Parks, Recreation & Public Property Department at 402-444-3798.
October 27th, 2016 |
| Tags: bike omaha
, trail closure
FROM PAPIO NRD regarding West Papio Trail Closure
October 26, 2016
Contact: Martin Cleveland, NRD Construction Engineer
Office Phone 402-315-1707
Temporary Closure planned for West Papio Trail
The West Papio Trail along the West Branch Papillion Creek will be closed October 27th and reopen November 2nd due to creek channel repair.
The closed area is between 96th Street and Giles Road. The Papio-Missouri River NRD is completing creek bank repair work that will include temporary placement of soil over the trail at that location.
October 13th, 2016 |
Happy Biketober, all! Just wanted to let you know about the Complete Streets Open House from 4-6pm on October 26th at the Bancroft Street Market! Your input on the Complete Streets Design Guide is critical to making Omaha safer for people on bikes as well as all modes of transportation!
If you’re not familiar with complete streets, please check out the City of Omaha’s website to learn more. We are fortunate to have one of the best ranked complete street policies in the country, but without proper implementation strategies, it is just another document in the books! Please come to this important gathering to learn more, provide input, or just show your support to improve our great city!
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
Please see below details from the City of Omaha:
Complete Streets Open House The City of Omaha and our partners are currently developing a Complete Streets Design Guide as part of our continued efforts to provide a transportation system that works safely and comfortably for all. Its purpose is to help implement our new Complete Streets Policy. The Guide will delineate the needs of people traveling by different means and help prioritize the sometimes competing demands in the design and redesign of our streets. The Guide will also outline public engagement strategies that can support the City’s transportation projects. To aid in the development of the Complete Streets Design Guide, the City is holding a public open house from 4-6 pm on October 26th at the Bancroft Street Market (2702 South 10th Street). At the event, people will be able to provide insight into their varying needs when using streets while walking, bicycling, driving, or using in any other way. The open house also provides an opportunity for those new to the concept of “Complete Streets” to learn about how streets can simultaneously support a range of activities. Learn more about Complete Streets in Omaha at www.completestreetsomaha.org. Please come share in our efforts to make Omaha better. We hope to see you there!