May 2nd, 2017 |
| Tags: bikes
, election questionnaire
Omaha Bikes compiled and submitted a brief mayoral candidate election questionnaire (4 questions below) to Mayor Jean Stothert and Senator Health Mello on the topics of Public Safety, Growth & Development, and Trails & Recreation
Over 30% of adults in Omaha rode a bike last year, but recent on-street bike counts are down. We believe this is due to a lack of safe places to ride on the street. What specific projects or policies would you adopt to increase the safety of these users?
First, thank you to Omaha Bikes for all you do to make bicycling in Omaha safer and more enjoyable. Your commitment to enhanced bicycling in our city for recreation, health benefits, and transportation is very much appreciated. I enjoy working with you and other partners including Live Well Omaha, Modeshift Omaha, and my Active Living Advisory Committee.
We are always open to advice and suggestions on how to make Omaha safer for those who love bicycling. Areas with missing or inadequate signage should be brought forward. We will encourage the city and our Public Works Department to implement road diets, like the one planned on North 30th Street.
Finally, a full review of national best practices and innovative steps that can be taken now in Omaha – and which are cost effective – is appropriate and I will ask our Active Living Advisory Committee to engage and lead that effort.
[Editor’s note: Senator Mello combined his response to the first two questions below.]
Will you pledge to implement a Vision Zero policy for the City of Omaha by the end of your term?
I will look to our Active Living Advisory Committee to evaluate and make recommendations regarding a Vision Zero policy for the City of Omaha. Any idea that is proving worthwhile anywhere in world is worth considering, in whole or in part.
Fortunately, there is so much we have done to reduce traffic fatalities in our city and state. I am also encouraged that we are making progress in our country in reducing these fatalities.
In general, our efforts in Omaha and Nebraska should be focused on the following to reduce fatalities:
- Local law enforcement of existing speed limits, since a great number of traffic deaths are caused by excessive speeding.
- Local and state efforts to reduce alcohol-related traffic deaths by public education and enforcing driving while intoxicated laws.
- Public education around the need for seat belt use, proper child car seat use and restraints.
- Public education and laws addressing distracted driving.
- Designing and constructing safer roadways and interchanges.
- Better lighting and pedestrian markings in cities and towns.
- Greater awareness and use of dedicated bicycle lanes.
- Greater use of public transportation and shared vehicle usage such as carpooling and ride-sharing services.
Finally, what may lead to the greatest improvement in highway safety and reducing traffic fatalities is the development of autonomous vehicles and other collision avoidance technologies. With these and other improvements I am hopeful that in a generation or sooner, young people will look back in shock that over 30,000 citizens die on our roads each year in America.
Omaha’s infrastructure crisis creates unique challenges for cyclists. While our city has a number of great bike trails, many of these run north and south and are geared toward recreational use. Expanded bike trails and additional lanes running east and west for greater connectivity and safety is a necessary step forward. In addition, as a candidate for Mayor, I have released a ‘Safer, Stronger Neighborhoods Plan.’ One aspect of that plan is committing Omaha to become a “Vision Zero” city for pedestrian and cyclist safety by 2021. To accomplish this, I will collaborate with community leaders in analyzing our death and injury patterns and work to implement action plans that move us to “zero.”
Growth and Development
As our city continues to grow, what would be the most effective tool would you adopt (e.g. change to specific municipal codes; TIF guidelines; financing mechanisms, etc.) to ensure your government and private partners work together to build bicycle friendly infrastructure?
The full implementation of the Complete Streets Policy we recently adopted and are in the process of finalizing. This policy is one of the best ways to work together to build bicycle friendly infrastructure. This policy is designed to provide safe, accessible streets to all users.
The city will look to leverage City of Omaha funding (Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) funding, and Improvement Funds such as the Downtown Improvement Fund and Midtown Improvement Fund) with development projects to help create additional bicycle-related infrastructure.
And, we must work closely with existing and new Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to identify opportunities within their district boundaries to create bike friendly infrastructure (i.e. bike corrals, racks, etc.)
I am very proud of our commitment to alternate transportation like our expanded partnership with Heartland B-Cycle. To help the bike-sharing program grow, the city purchased the bikes and stations and Heartland B-Cycle continues to manage the program. Our agreement will lead to more than 300 bikes available at 70 stations around the metro area.
As part of my plan to modernize our infrastructure across the city, including bicycle friendly solutions, I will create a citywide Infrastructure Bank—a public-private partnership mechanism that will bring state, local, and federal funding along with private and philanthropic funding. Because our city’s challenges require long-term vision and planning, I will also create a 10-year needs assessment to set priorities for the city’s infrastructure improvements. This assessment will draw on civic engagement from all areas of the city.
Trails & Recreation
Given the success of the recently completed South Omaha trail expansion, how do you propose to fund expansion of trails and other recreational bicycling facilities that benefit our city?
We currently provide some funding for this in our CIP and can expand that as funding is available and project warrant it. The city also has a line item in the CIP for maintenance and repair.
Future trail expansion will largely need to be a partnership of the City and other government entities, philanthropic organizations and recreation interests. Omaha is the perfect place to continue building on the public/private partnerships that have served us so well as a community for so long.
We will also need to further identify where opportunities for expansion of trails are and how they integrate with other bike facilities and infrastructure.
As mentioned above, my citywide Infrastructure Bank will be used to fund and modernize our infrastructure system, including expanded pedestrian and bike trails and lanes. In addition, Omaha is now set to receive an additional $6.5 million annually for street repair because of legislation I supported as a State Senator. As we form a comprehensive plan for infrastructure improvements, we must include bike-friendly infrastructure in that plan. To not do so is to let crucial opportunities pass us by. Finally, I believe that we can lead from the Mayor’s Office in using best practices such as budgeting for outcomes to make sure our budget priorities move us towards a stated goal.
The questionnaire was submitted with the following guidelines on April 24th.
- Deadline: May 1 by 5pm.
- There is no word limit. 100 words or less would be adequate.
- We will publish response received* on our blog at omahabikes.org on May 2nd and share to our constituents via social media and email newsletter subscribers. May is Bike Month and we view this questionnaire as an important piece of our Bike Month outreach strategy.
- The responses will be posted as received without editing, truncation, etc. No analysis or interpretation will be published by Omaha Bikes based on candidate responses.
- The questions were shared with each candidate simultaneously once the correct contact method was conveyed to us. As such, each candidate’s responses will be published in the same blog post on May 2nd.
*Responses were received before the deadline by both campaigns and are displayed in the order received.
You can find your polling place on the Douglas County Election Commission website.
May 1st, 2017 |
Category: Bike Month
, Get Involved
| Tags: bicycle
, bike month
Happy Bike Month!
For those of you that haven’t been following this blog series, we’re all about being positive. So, for bike month this year, we want to hear your stories about riding your bike, but we don’t want to hear just any stories. We want to hear about something good, something fun, and/or something that you’ve experienced riding that you wouldn’t have if you weren’t on your bike! For example, maybe someone smiled and waved as they yielded to you at a crossing, or maybe you just rode to get groceries and had a great time! It doesn’t have to be monumental, but to be eligible for prizes, it does have to be positive!
We’ll reward you for your positivity!
Here’s how it works:
- Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter! (and sign up for our email list at the bottom of this page)
- Share your story with #OMAbikestory from May 1st through May 10th (Don’t forget to make it a public post, we may not be able to see it!) –EXTENDED through Saturday 5/13
- We’ll select our favorites and put it up for vote on our Mayors’ Ride Facebook event page on May 14th
- The winner will win a Po Campo Loop Pannier and have the opportunity to share her/his story at the Mayors’ Ride on May 18th!
Enjoyed the beautiful sunrise today on my ride to work. #OMAbikestory
I got a smile and a thumbs up from a driver as I pedaled up a huge hill. #OMAbikestory
I really wanted to win that bag, so I rode to get ice cream for my #OMAbikestory
April 25th, 2017 |
| Tags: bikes
, city of Omaha trail projects
, Keystone Trail
Here at Omaha Bikes, we strive to focus on positivity. May is Bike Month, and we want to hear stories from you about how biking is a positive experience. Look for future posts on how you can share the fun and maybe with a prize for your positivity!
Even with our positivity focus, we sometimes must approach difficult advocacy issues to keep people on bikes safe! Here’s a summary and update on our efforts to improve safety at a blind turn on the Keystone Trail
Several local bicyclists contacted Omaha Bikes this March about the blind turn on the Keystone Trail as it travels under 72nd St in between Dodge St and Pacific St. They identified several crashes where people were seriously injured and/or hospitalized. This section of the trail is maintained by Omaha Parks & Recreation Department, so we made contact with them in late March. We hadn’t received an official reply before a reporter from KETV emailed to ask about an in early April.
Omaha Bikes spoke with Parks Director Brook Bench and mutually agreed that installing signage improvements would be part of a solution to slow down bicycle traffic at this dangerous turn. With your response to this KETV article, we have since heard from the parks planning division that sign improvements are in process! We will be working to make sure these signs offer messaging to trail users to achieve the goal of slowing bicycle traffic down and remaining in the rightmost portion of the trail. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and ride safely!
March 31st, 2017 |
There’s going to be a LOT of construction this summer; these very necessary repairs will affect trail, bridge, and other bikeway connections. We’ll continue with updates as we hear them.
We’ve worked hard to foster relationships with parks, planning, and engineering staff throughout the metro area to better understand how and these improvement will affect you on your bike. Here’s what we have so far: (we’ll continue to post updates as this changes)
Veteran’s Memorial Bridge – South Omaha to Council Bluffs (US 275)
Sidpath on the bridge will be closed for phase 1 of this project until this fall (estimated early September). Phase 1 preservation work will close the outside lanes of the US-275 South Omaha Veterans Bridge beginning on Monday, April 3 at 9:00 a.m. These lane closures are necessary to apply a protective coating to the steel truss and apply epoxy polymer overlay to the bridge deck surface. The bridge will be closed to all pedestrian traffic. Phase 2 work will close the inside lanes of the bridge. All work is anticipated to be completed this fall.
Keystone Trail Underpass at Maple (NE-64)
Nebraska Department of Roads release shows work will begin as soon as April 3rd, 2017. The Keystone Trail where it crosses under West Maple Road could see periodic closures starting on Tuesday, April 4th and going through the end of May. The Nebraska Department of Roads will be undertaking additional work on the bridge. Trail users can get off at West maple Road and cross the street at Keystone Drive at the traffic signal.
West Papio Trail at West Center Road (US 275/NE 92)
West Papio Trail at West Center Road will be closed starting on Monday, April 4th through the end of June. The Omaha Public Works Department will be replacing a large storm drainage pipe that passes under the trail just north of West Center Road. Trail will be closed at S. 156th Street on the south side of West Center Road and at Gold Circle on the north side of West Center Road. A possible detour when heading north is to get off the trail at S. 156th Street, turn west onto West Center Road, turn north onto S. 160th Street, turn east onto Dorcas Circle and take the 5 foot wide walk to the trail. When heading south just reverse everything.
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!