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January 2017 Bike Congress Recap

January 23rd, 2017 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, B-cycle, 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

The Potential of Bike Boulevards in Omaha

January 16th, 2013 | Author: Sam
Category: Advocacy, Bike Commuting, Bike Lanes

Ideas on How to Make Cycling Networks in Omaha a Reality in the Short Term

posted by Sam on behalf of Jim Rogers

The Omaha trail network is slowly but steadily growing and promises someday to result in a comprehensive cycling network covering the entire city in such a way as to make bike travel in this city safe and easy.

However, trail construction, while a laudable goal that should definitely remain a priority, is a slow and expensive process. The vast resources needed to support such construction requires political commitment that cannot always be counted on. In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, many citizens and legislators are hesitant to commit the resources necessary to create something as ambitious as a comprehensive cycling network, especially when most non-cyclists do not consider it a priority when the economy is slumping and unemployment is high.

Therefore it is my opinion that Omaha Bikes and the entire biking community should also consider other options that might achieve many of the same goals in a less expensive or politically dependent way. One intriguing possibility is the Bicycle Boulevard. Here is a video presentation of a very sophisticated Bicycle Boulevard system in Berkeley, CA:
The Berkley system is very nice but also very fancy (and probably very expensive)– it includes roundabouts, chicanes, speed bumps, signals, traffic blocking staples, etc. But is it possible to achieve the same effectiveness without all the bells and whistles? How about using simple barricades such as plastic, sand-filled barriers often used in construction? These could be used at the ends of blocks in order to block through traffic along a street as shown in this schematic.

Bikes and pedestrians could get through the barriers (and emergency vehicles could push them out of the way if necessary), and bicycles would be allowed to ride the full width of the street. The only cars that would be on these streets would be local to that block and be able to enter only on one end (and thus move slowly over short distances with little potential for conflict with cyclists). Unlike bicycle lanes and Berkley-style BB’s, this type of system is very low cost, very reversible, and easily changed. I think they would require about as close to zero money as one could get, yet it would be very effective at creating safe routes immediately for cyclists in any direction.

And the immediate part is what I most like about it. To do something bigger takes so much time and effort and always risks alienating the majority of the public that won’t use this type of facility. I’m not getting any younger and I want to be able to travel this city safely by bike before I’m too old to do it!

Another advantage is for us year-round cyclists; since a residential street Bicycle Boulevard will still just be a regular street, the snow will be cleared just like any other street. I can tell you that there is no way I’d use a one of the bicycle lanes created as part of the 20-mile loop after a snow– the plows will likely put the snow in the bike lane, it will always be icier near the curb than at the crown due to runoff, and all that with cars whizzing by a few feet from your elbow! In a residential street Bicycle Boulevard one could ride at the crown of the road or dodge icy spots by riding wherever necessary in the road to avoid hazards. Add to this the elimination of the “door zone” problem year round and we’re talking about a much safer system for cyclists year-round.

What about the impact on residents of a Bicycle Boulevard? I have heard (but don’t know for a fact) that people living along these types of routes like them because it effectively turns their street into a cul de sac, a feature that is usually associated with high home values and greater safety for children to play in the street. Again, this is just hearsay (and possibly untrue), but I’ve read that once these systems get going, many neighbors are enamored of them enough that they actually compete to have a Bicycle Boulevard on their street. Even if that’s not true, it seems hard to imagine that people would be too upset about them, and if they were it’s easy enough to simply pick up the barrier and move it elsewhere.

So how would it be decided which streets/routes would become a Bicycle Boulevard? My idea for the development of these types of route would be crowd-sourcing. Much like the Omaha Bike/Pedestrian Map, I think the bicycling community should contribute information they have as to good routes and then build the system according to that. Again, if any problem comes up with a route or a better one is found, it’s simple a matter of moving the barriers. I think it would be a fun way to engage the entire community and give them a sense of ownership of the system.

Personally, I don’t see any real downside to this type of system, but then I’m not a transportation expert. So what do you all think? Good idea worthy of trying? Or is there a fatal flaw that I’m missing?


August 16th, 2012 | Author: Sam
Category: Advocacy, Bike Lanes, Community, Health

I came across this article today on that seems to offer a glimpse of the future: doctors prescribing exercise for a disconditioned body. The point: Exercise is a great way to prevent diseases and the medical industry needs to get on the ball about it. Both personal and community approaches can help. Keep biking, folks!


Should Lack Of Exercise Be Considered A Medical Condition?

Doctors need to prescribe exercise to patients who don't get enough exercise, a Mayo Clinic expert says.

by Eliza Barclay

“You’ve got a bad case of deconditioning,” the doctor says.

Actually, it would be the rare doctor who would say that to anyone. And though it might sound like something to do with hair, in fact, deconditioning is a familiar and more profound problem: the decidedly unnatural state of being physically inactive.

At some point in the last few decades, the human race went from being a species that is active most of the time to one that is increasingly sedentary. The Lancet recently called it an “inactivity pandemic,” responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide. That’s a major shift, and a major public health problem, many researchers have pointed out. Inactivity is linked to heart disease, diabetes and some types of cancer.

Now Michael Joyner, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic, argues in a commentary out this month in the Journal of Physiology that one way to deal with the problem is to make physical inactivity a mainstream medical diagnosis. It’s one of the most common preventable causes of illness and death, and Joynes writes, there is “one universally effective treatment for it — exercise training.”

Shots [the NPR series in which this article appears] called up Joyner to get him to elaborate a little more on just why doctors need to get more involved with this problem.

“The entire medical research industrial complex is oriented towards inactivity,” he tells us. Insurance companies will reimburse patients for pills for diseases related to inactivity, but rarely for gym memberships. “Physicians really need to start defining the physically active state as normal,” he says.

Joyner says that he thinks about 30 percent of the responsibility to fight inactivity should fall on the medical community. “Physicians need to interact with patients about being active, and they need to write prescriptions for exercise,” he says.

He points to two of the greatest public health triumphs of the 20th century — improvements in traffic safety and the decline in smoking rates — as models for how we should tackle the inactivity epidemic. About one-third of the behavior change came from individuals who started using seat belts and car seats, and those who quit smoking, and doctors directly influenced that, he says. The rest was up to the public health community — to enact indoor smoking bans and harsh drunken driving laws — that helped support the right behavior.

For inactivity, doctors can push patients to get exercise, and cities and towns can make it easier for them to do it, he says, with more bike lanes and parks that can be an alternative to the gym.

Joyner says he increasingly sees two types of patients in his clinic: the ones who follow health guidelines and keep active; and those whose don’t and see no connection between their behavior and their health outcomes.

“We have to be more innovative and creative to figure out how to help the people who aren’t empowered to exercise for their health,” he says.

August 16, 2012

City to Add Shared Use and Bike Lanes on Leavenworth

July 18th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Bike Commuting, Bike Lanes, Bike Route, Filling in The Gaps, News

Last week the Mayor’s office announced plans to add shared use and bicycle-only lanes on Leavenworth Street from 31st street to 13th street. This one-way section of Leavenworth will improve east-west connectivity for bicyclists and help create a link between midtown and downtown.

The city plans various lane and parking restrictions along this corridor starting Friday, July 27th and ending Sunday, July 29th. By Monday, July 30th, we should have some fancy new bike infrastructure to ride on. This comes less than one week after the July 25th ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of phase 1 of the new South Omaha Trail, another east-west connector between Karen Park and the Field Club Trail.

Read the Mayor’s full press release here.

Paging Leavenworth Commuters…

January 26th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, Bike Commuting, Bike Lanes, Get Involved

If you find yourself searching for the proverbial white courtesy phone after reading the headline, then we have an opportunity for you! This opportunity comes in the form of an upcoming community meeting regarding proposed bicycle infrastrucure improvements along Leavenworth between I-480 and 24th Street.

When: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Where: Greek Orthodox church – 602 Park Avenue

The meeting is primarily for business owners along that corridor, but we’d like to make sure that the cyclist views are also represented. This is a great opportunity to educate business and homeowners about the benefits of bicycle infrastructure.

We’ll continue to keep everyone posted about the project, so stay tuned!

Omaha Bikes
1516 Cuming Street | Omaha, NE 68102

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