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B is for BIKES! | Looking for 111 bicyclists to participate in iconic performance

September 7th, 2016 | Author: Paige Reitz
Category: Advocacy, Bike Performance Art, Community, Event, Uncategorized, Urban Design | Tags: , , ,

The New Philharmonic​, an Omaha-­based ensemble of contemporary classical performers, is looking for bicyclists to participate in ‘B is for BIKES!’ the midwest premiere of the iconic work Eine Brise (A Breeze): A fleeting action for 111 bicyclists ​by renowned composer Mauricio Kagel.

This project serves to highlight cyclist and pedestrian awareness in the urban landscape of Omaha through aesthetic means. Performing entails riding around a few blocks in Benson at a slow pace with all the other performers – in sort of a critical mass formation – and participating in the creation of a unique soundscape using both a bicycle bell (will be provided) and your mouth in the form of whistles and whooshes. It is a very small time commitment – the actual performance is expected to take less than 4 minutes. All participants will receive a bell, t-shirt, and dinner + drinks post performance. No previous performing experience necessary.

Sign-up to participate: https://goo.gl/forms/MfKKZncmPtYDLSTS2

B is for BIKES! is generously sponsored through the Omaha Gives! Back Grant through the Omaha Creative Institute with organizational assistance from our partners at ModeShift Omaha, Benson First Friday, Omaha Bikes, and LiveWell Omaha.

EVENT DETAILS
Program: B is for BIKES!
Organizer: The New Philharmonic
Location: Benson First Friday | Maple Street between N 58th and N 63rd Streets
Date and time: Friday October 7th, 6PM
Admission: free on the street performance
Questions: contact Paige Reitz at paige.reitz@gmail.com

September Trail Updates

September 6th, 2016 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Trails

RIVERFRONT TRAIL CLOSURE

September 2, 2016 (Omaha, NE) – A section of the Riverfront Trail at the MUD Water

Treatment Facility on John J. Pershing Drive will be closed starting on Wednesday,

September 7th through Friday, September 30th so that MUD can undertake a project

related to their NDEQ discharge permit. There is no suggested detour for this

closing. Please refer to the below map for additional information.

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 8.45.03 AM

 

SOUTH OMAHA TRAIL CONSTRUCTION UPDATE

The section of the South Omaha Trail between S. 45th & Dayton Streets and S. 50th Street was suppose to open up Friday, September 2nd.  Unfortunately the work to regrade the swale to keep water off of the trail is not complete.  Park Maintenance will be working next week to finish the improvements.  So this section of the South Omaha Trail will remain closed through Friday, September 9th.

 

Omaha Parks Trail Update

September 2nd, 2016 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Trails
UPDATES FROM OMAHA PARKS & REC!
KEYSTONE TRAIL AT “L” STREET CLOSURE - This work was suppose to begin back on August 24th.  However the weather that week delayed the start of the work.  The revised schedule is to start the work on Tuesday, September 6th and have it completed by Tuesday, September 27th.  The Keystone Trail will be closed at the “L” Street underpass during this time.  There is no detour posted for this closure. We are in the process of getting a new press release out on this.  Revised Map below:
Keystone Trail - Closure-REVISED-2016-09-01
SOUTH OMAHA TRAIL PHASE 2 – “D” STREET TO S. 45TH & DAYTON STREETS – UNDERCONSTRUCTION - This is the section of the Phase 2 portion of the South Omaha Trail that goes under the S. 42nd Street Bridge.  The contractor has reported that there are a number of bikers that are ignoring signs, construction fencing and barricades and riding/walking through this section.  This is a safety issue.  There still is a lot of construction going on here.  There are excavators moving dirt, retaining walls being constructed, fencing going up, etc.  Would appreciate it if you could pass the word on that this section is still underconstruction and closed to trail users.  It is for everyone’s safety that people stay away from this section.  We’ve already had bicycle tire tracks left in newly poured concrete that we will have to redo..  Please pass the word to people to stay away from this section.  It will be completed in about a month or so and then they can use it safely.
South Omaha Trail-Phase2-Underconstruction-2016-09-01

Call for Volunteers – 2016 Bike/Ped Counts

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

Volunteers Needed for the 2016 Omaha Bicycle & Pedestrian Count

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

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

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

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

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

Weekday Count Times

• 4-6pm, Tuesday, September 13

• 4-6pm, Thursday, September 15

• 4-6pm, Tuesday, September 20

• 4-6pm, Thursday, September 22

Weekend Count Times

• 12-2pm, Saturday, September 17

• 12-2pm, Saturday, September 24

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

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

number of volunteers.

To volunteer, visit the following website: https://goo.gl/forms/vjToyJSrRHJAO2pk1

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

stephen.osberg@cityofomaha.org

More closures and the same responses

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

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

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

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

City of Omaha’s suggested detour via existing sidewalks

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

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

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

Trail Closure Detour Advocacy Update #2:

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

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

I proposed the following solutions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keystone Trail Closure & Lessons Learned

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

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

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

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

Copper Creek Detour

Copper Creek Detour

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

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

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

A bit of a grey area...

A bit of a grey area…

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

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

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

Mind the Gap!

Mind the Gap!

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

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

Be safe out there!

Wet/Slippery Area on South O Trail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20160802 Field Club detour alternate

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

Field Club Trail-Closure-2016-08-02

 

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

The Field Club Connection – an update and recap

June 13th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy, Events, News, Trails

More than 30 riders participated in a ride to see the most awesome South Omaha Trail connection on Sunday, and we had a great time! This connecting segment is a huge step for trail connectivity in Omaha with the full connection scheduled to be completed this fall!

With the sun blazing and 95 degree temperatures, we are were all grateful for the shade. (even if it means our picture was a little dark)

It was hot enough that we opted for this shady spot for the picture.

It was hot enough that we opted for this shady spot for the picture.

After a conversational pace ride south on the Field Club, we continued on the new South Omaha Trail connection by the silos. We reached the end of the new construction, and everyone hiked to see the work underway near 40th &D. It’s amazing to see how much prep work goes into constructing the trail, and the planning process for this has happened over years!

Looking west where trail will go under 42nd St

Looking west where trail will go under 42nd St

Looking northeast from the  end of the South O where it will cross under F St.

Looking northeast from the end of the South O where it will cross under F St.

After heading back north on the Trail, we climbed up Marcy Street to find our way to The Down Under Lounge.  With great drink specials, free hot dogs, and bingo, they were a most excellent host!

Our pre-warmed racks were nearly full!

Our pre-warmed racks were nearly full!

 

After some cold beverages and conversations about the awesomeness of bikes, we we played some bingo and laughed together for a great social hangout.

Reasons to Give – So, you ask, what is it ‘ya do here’?

May 24th, 2016 | Author: Pell Duvall
Category: Advocacy

As we wind down from all the excitement of Bike to Work Week, Mayor’s ride, Handlebar Happy Hour, and riding out the rest of National Bike Month, I want to get some information out to the Omaha bicycling community about what we’ve been doing here at Omaha Bikes and where we plan to go next.

First off, as you may or may not have heard, we have paid staff now! Well, me. Omaha Bikes hired me, Pell Duvall, as its Executive Director in mid-April of this year. I’m incredibly excited to make bicycle advocacy my profession!

If you haven’t yet, take some time to read up on the history of Omaha Bikes on our about us page. The board of directors meets monthly to discuss administrative issues, provide updates on current projects, and present new ideas about initiatives. If you have an issue that you think needs action, email us, and we’ll do what we can and/or get you connected to the person who can take action.

Our 2016 goal are as follows:

  1. Augment our Bicycle Friendly Destination program. By partnering with local business, employers, and other destinations around the city, we not only encourage people to ride their bikes there, but we increase bicycle traffic on the surrounding connecting streets around that destination. As bicycle traffic increases, surrounding businesses’ revenue tends to increase as does the demand for better bicycle infrastructure such as buffered bike lanes, protected bike lanes, and better trail connectivity. When local businesses and destinations have rapport with people on bikes, they want that infrastructure as well.  Everyone is positively engaged with the municipal planning process, and everyone gets well designed, complete streets.
  2. Bicycle Valet Service - Omaha Bikes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is committed to making Omaha a premier metropolitan area for the bicycling public.  For many years, our bike valet was limited to our Dust Off Your Bike tune-up and bike Parking at Earth Day Omaha and Bike to the Ballpark Bike Valet at College World series. With funding generously provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Omaha Bikes is expanding its bike valet services and we hope to offer bicycle valet parking for more than 30 events in 2016!
  3. Signature Events – Omaha Bikes is proud to continue our signature events: Dust Off Your Bike, Bike to the Ballpark, Handlebar Happy Hour, and Bike De’Lights.

As much as I don’t like to talk about money, it’s a necessary thing to continue and help make Omaha a premier metropolitan area for the bicycling public!

  1. Omaha Gives! We are one of many organizations participating in Omaha Gives this year on May 25th, and we can use your donations to help with general operating funds. Even $10 helps! And join us for our celebration with other bicycle nonprofits that day.
  2. You can check out ongoing programs here, and many are free to participate; a portion of your purchase goes directly to us!
  3. Become a member! We are working with several local organizations to provide incentives/discounts for or members, but more on that soon.

In summary, we are dedicated to our mission, and I truly believe in this city and its future. With positively engaged members, we can be proactive with municipalities, and we can make Omaha safer and better for people on bikes.

Thank you!

 

Omaha Bikes

info@omahabikes.org
1516 Cuming Street | Omaha, NE 68102
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