OMAHA, Nebraska – We are gaining a better understanding of the Omaha streetcar route.
However, this is not without controversy.
A report published on Monday concerns whether decision-makers are moving too quickly at the expense of bicyclists’ safety.
Monday afternoon, the Streetcar Authority overwhelmingly authorized the HDR-recommended route, which includes twin tracks from Blackstone on Farnam to Turner Boulevard.
When this occurs, the downtown rails will be located on Harney Street.
The downtown corridor will have a track that ascends 10th Street to the CHI Health Center, curves to Capitol Avenue, and then heads to the riverfront before retracing its steps on Farnam to Blackstone.
Tonight, we have a better understanding of the Omaha streetcar’s journey. However, this is not without controversy.
Things may change, but this is the current path.
It is a crucial milestone given that the City will now begin spending money on the project.
Can bicycles and streetcars coexist in Omaha? Some individuals have doubts.
“One of the ways to prevent the danger is to ensure that the infrastructure molds the way cyclists cross the tracks, so they don’t cross at sharp angles,” said Ryan Wishart of Creighton University.
Today, Wishart released a report investigating this very topic.
The environmental sociologist rode his bicycle to City Hall in order to convey his safety concerns to the Streetcar Authority.
A comparison of the Omaha bike network and streetcar route reveals more than a dozen sites of friction, and not just in the Harney market to midtown trial cycle track.
Jay Noddle, chairman of the Streetcar Authority, reminded everyone that the design phase is still in its infancy and reaffirmed his commitment to the safety of cycling.
Noddle stated that the Omaha Streetcar Authority and Project Planning had always included cycling and bike routes.
Tuesday, the City Council will deliberate how to proceed with the bike lane pilot project on Harney; this will determine the Streetcar Authority’s next actions.
An amendment requests that Public Works and the mayor collaborate with the groups on the route in combination with a streetcar and determine how to implement a permanent bike lane when municipal funds are committed to the project.