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October 2016 Trail Updates

October 5th, 2016 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, Bike Route, Keystone Connector, Trails

South Omaha Trail:

Final stages of work continue to complete the South Omaha Trail. While the pavement is completed, the signage and erosion control is still in progress. Due to the construction equipment and debris hazards, the newest section trail remains closed for the time being. Please respect the work being done for your own safety! All work is planned to be completed by October 31st, 2016, and the grand opening/ribbon-cutting will be in mid-November! Stay tuned!

Omaha Riverfront Trail:

A section of the Riverfront Trail from Ida Street and Crown Point Avenue to John J. Pershing Drive will be closed to all trail users starting on Monday, October 10, 2016.  The closure will remain closed throughMonday, October 31, 2016.  Trail shall be closed for work occurring on the levee.  There is no suggested detour for this trail closure.

Keystone Trail:

Drainage work at L Street underpass nearing complete and is expected to be completed next week.  Please use caution!

Big Papio Trail:

Drainage work will begin at L Street in early November and will last several weeks.  Please be prepared to detour as needed and use caution!



If you have any questions or concerns about trail closures, contact information is as follows:

City of Omaha:

City of Bellevue, report here


Sarpy County, report  here

City of Council Bluffs report here.


The above update is accurate to the best of our ability, but please see contact local officials for most current information.

Choosing a Bicycle Route

September 18th, 2014 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Bike Route

What goes into making a useable bicycle map? Connecting destinations is fundamental for any map but with the bicycle’s human powered engine, efficiency in energy output must be part of the calculus for laying out routes.

Throughout pre automobile history, travel routes were governed by geography, water/food sources, and topography. Most non-sports oriented riders prefer traveling longer distances over smaller grade hills than shorter, steeper routes to get to their destination.

For a flatter topography, a grid system of routes is most efficient time and energy wise. But for a lumpy topography like much of Omaha, the grid system is very inefficient energy wise, sometimes not even being viable.

Thus, a bike route map that provides viable routes for a wide cross section of riders will give precedence to the third dimension of height rather than direction (length and width).

Another important consideration for bike routes is their Level Of Service or LOS. This refers to the infrastructure and density of automobile traffic. Separated, non motorized, limited access routes like the Keystone Trail have the highest LOS of “A.” A high car traffic route like Saddle Creek Rd during many hours of the day would have an LOS of “D.” But ride Saddle Creek late at night or early in the morning with little car traffic and the LOS becomes an “A” for bicycles.

Thus, for proposing a comprehensive bike network, the LOS is irrelevant because the infrastructure can be repurposed to provide LOS A/B all day in the future. The only thing that cannot realistically be changed is the topography. Thus, like direction, topography again is given precedence over a poor LOS score.

With topography as the key determiner of bike routing between destinations, a map was produced on, with grade (rise over distance) calculated by hand from – the Douglas Counting Geographical Information System. All layers were unchecked except for two foot topographical lines. For historical perspective, choose the 1941 basemap. Outside Douglas County, the USGS topo map was used. In general, a 5% maximum grade was sought. Sections over 5% for 200’ of distance are noted in the route comments. Infrastructure/LOS are indicated by colors:

  • Gold are limited access, with or without grade level street crossing, e.g. West Papio Trail.
  • Green are sidepaths (wide sidewalks) adjacent to or paralleling a street, e.g. Blondo St from 102nd St to 144th St. Trails through parks are also Green.
  • Black are streets with no separate bicycle infrastructure but with a higher non rush hour LOS.
  • Red are streets with no separate bicycle infrastructure and low LOS for a longer duration than normal rush hour.
  • Blue are proposed routes not existent at this time. These usually parallel the gradual grades along drainages and creeks.
  • Salmon are abandoned or active railroad right of ways proposed for routes.

This inspiration for this project developed out of a July 22, 2014 steering committee I was privileged to attend on the Heartland Connections Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. I saw quickly that the proposed routes, and the current Omaha Commuter Map were based more on two dimensional access and LOS while the topography was given subservient decision making in route selection.

As the map developed, the 5% maximum grade was decided on for a goal. There are mistakes and omissions in routes and route comments. Having consumed 200-300 hours on this project as of this writing, it was more important to get the reasoning and product out before perfecting it.

Because the routes take jogs here and there to find the path of least elevation change, they need to be memorized or a cue sheet developed. Ideally, in the future many of these routes will have way-finding signs at each turn.

Given the above as a primer or appetizer, please enjoy the main course (or routes) at

Bon appetit!

–Dale Rabideau

P.S. Here are the key East-West routes generated topographically:

  • Military Ave/Sorensen Pkwy – Military Ave is the oldest road and predates automobiles. Sorensen Pkwy is an abandoned RR line.
  • Fort St/Boyd St/Keystone Dr/Ames Ave – this is more hilly than Military/Sorensen but provides access to Ames Ave business district/North Omaha, and Benson to downtown Omaha.
  • Maple St is shouldered from 196th to 108th. East of 680 is four lane curb to 72nd. A great route to/from Benson when traffic is low.
  • Blondo sidepath to Westroads/Crossroads business districts past UNO to Leavenworth and downtown Omaha.
  • Dodge St parallels west of 680: north side from 180th to Big Papio Trail, south side from 144th to Big Papio Trail. Decision at Big Papio Trail: go north to Blondo or south to cross 680?
  • Surprise finding: From Field Club Trail/Leavenworth to downtown, there are two routes with the same elevation change: St Mary Ave/Leavenworth and Farnam/38th Ave/Leavenworth. Harney St has 70′ more elevation change than Farnam.
  • Pacific St east to 132nd has sidepath and is viable. East of 132nd it gets lumpy, especially between Big Papio Trail and Keystone Trail. Because of traffic, right-of-way limitations, and elevation change, this section of Pacific St does not meet requirements for an east-west corridor.
  • Center Rd – east of Keystone Trail to Hanscom Park and downtown is even better than Leavenworth corridor. A protected bike lane on this section may be as busy as Farnam St protected bike lane. Extend the protected bike lane west to Big Papio Trail for even more traffic.
  • I St/F St from 132nd St to Keystone Trail/South Omaha Trail nexus. This provides the least elevation change from West Papio Trail to downtown Omaha without going to Bellevue. Though this is 4 miles south of Dodge, estimate a ride from West Papio Trail/Dodge would be about same time wise with less effort via I/F Sts because 680/Dodge requires detour one mile to Blondo or Pacific and more elevation change. From 120th East, there is heavy truck traffic and the need for separated bike infrastructure.
  • If I St/F St infrastructure brings LOS to A/B between the West Papio and Big Papio Trails, then South Omaha Trail/Field Club Trail may be one of the busiest east-west corridors. Especially if proposed RR ROW trail to Gretna is built.
  • Q St is 5% grade or less except for Ralston. A lower grade option is available.

ALERT: Keystone Trail Closure

August 10th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Bike Commuting, Bike Route, Trails

The City Parks and Recreation Department needs to close a section of the Keystone Trail from West Dodge Street south to the old Railroad Bridge near Nebraska Furniture Mart. The trail will close on Monday, August 13 and will reopen no later than Thursday, August 16.  There are three areas of the trail where the pavement is damaged enough that it is a safety hazard so they are going to repair these areas starting on Monday.

The map below shows the closure (red) as well as two options for detours (yellow and blue). The detour shown in yellow follows a sidewalk along Rose Blumkin Drive. The detour shown in blue along 78th street presents challenges in the form of hills and lack of sidewalks. Use caution along either detour.

Come be a part of the next stage for Omaha Bikes…

July 28th, 2012 | Author: OmahaBikes
Category: Advocacy, Bicycle Friendly Destination, Bike Parking, Bike Route, Bike Shop, Bike to the Ballpark, Community, Events, Get Involved, Handlebar Happy Hour, Rides, Stolen bike, Valet Bike Parking

As many individuals are aware, Omaha Bikes has recently launched a new website (are you coming to our special HHH to celebrate?), and we are entering a new stage of our journey. We are looking for talented individuals to join the Omaha Bikes leadership team in one of many specific capacities. Do you have a special interest or skill set that can elevate Omaha Bikes’ impact in the metro area? Take a look at the positions we hope to fill and if you are interested or have questions send an email to or leave a comment. Or you can stop by any of our upcoming events and talk with someone about the organization.

We hope to select folks to fill these spots at or before our next meeting on August 14th.

Hey, we’re kind of new at this, so take a look at these responsibilities and tell us what you think. Chances are you can do at least one of them better than we can, and we would love your help. Let us know why you’re the right person for the job:

  • Events and Outreach Coordinator
      • Oversee planning for events such as Bike D’Lights, Discover Omaha tours, Dust Off Your Bike events, and Handlebar Happy Hours
      • Manage and coordinate the Bike Friendly Destination program
      • Ensure events and tags on website are accurate and complete
      • Receive and respond to emails submitted via “events” widget
      • Manage newsletters, email groups, and social media
      • Activate members around advocacy opportunities
  • Volunteer and Bike Valet Coordinator
      • Act as the point person for events wishing to use Omaha Bikes’ valet system
      • Work with events to plan for use of the system
      • Provide expertise on use of the Bike Valet system
      • Maintain and track data on system users for each event
      • Work with the Treasurer to record revenue and donations from Valet
      • Work with Events Coordinator to recruit volunteers as needed for other events (e.g., ride leaders)
  • Blog and News Coordinator
      • Ensure blog is updated with regular content
      • Manage website “users” and monitor blog submissions
      • Recruit other Omaha Bikes leaders to write content
      • Monitor local and national news outlets for relevant stories and compile for blog
      • Monitor and post stolen bike alerts
      • Manage tags for blog post content
  • Bike Shop and Club Liaison
      • Regularly communicate with local bike shop managers and club presidents
      • Ensure managers and presidents are aware of Omaha Bikes’ priorities and events
      • Recruit shops and clubs to help with membership drives, volunteer recruitment, donations, and so on
      • Closely work with Events and Outreach Coordinator to continuously cross-post shop and club events on
  • Treasurer & Membership Coordinator
      • Pull monthly membership data
      • Provide regular reports to group on financial situation and memberships
      • Track financials and work with leadership team to develop Omaha Bikes’ annual budget
      • Work with LiveWell Omaha to establish a financial reporting plan
      • Receive emails submitted through the membership widget
      • Regularly review and approve membership payments

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.

Omaha Bikes
1516 Cuming Street | Omaha, NE 68102

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