Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Activate!


Activate Omaha is shaking things Up!


Hello all!

There is a bill proposed in the legislature that I am sure you are aware of: LB 134. This would prohibit the use of eminent domain by Papio NRD's when building recreational trails. If passed, this would have a devastating affect on the ability to expand the trail system throughout the state. Normally they do not use this technique to acquire land, but if there is one, single hold-out on a whole trail system, it could eliminate the entire project. I believe this was introduced on behalf of a small number of landowners in Cass County affected by the planned trail from Omaha to Lincoln. If you have not done so I would encourage you and your peers to let your senators know how you feel. There is a hearing on this bill tomorrow at 1:30 PM in Lincoln before the Natural Resources Committee.(Happened Last Week Oops) Members are:

Sen. Chris Langemeier, Chairperson clangemeier@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Tom Carlson tcarlson@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Tanya Cook tcook@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Annette Dubas adubas@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Deb Fischer dfischer@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Ken Haar khaar@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Beau McCoy bmccoy@leg.ne.gov
Sen. Ken Schilz kschilz@leg.ne.gov

Furthermore, Papio NRD will be down there testifying on the passage of LB 160 which is their bonding bill. This would allow them a funding mechanism to build both water quantity and water quality structures. With these lakes, they usually design a trail around them. There are other elements of the bill to assist in funding the raising of levees and implementation of low impact development environmental situations. The ability to issue bonds would be within their current mil levy authority which is 4.5 cents. They currently assess about 3.5 cents on the dollar. The hearing is scheduled after LB 134. I sincerely encourage you and your peers to contact the above senators and express a favorable vote on LB 160.


Thank you!

Tammie Dodge

Project Manager

Activate Omaha

12565 West Center Rd Suite 220

Omaha NE 68144

402.934.5923

tammie@activateomaha.org

http://www.activateomaha.org

27 comments:

Biker Bob said...

I believe the meeting that was mentioned was last week, but we should all try to keep tabs on those two Bills.

Thanks for the heads up.

The Douglas said...

Not to be a buzz-kill, but how much work is being done by Activate Omaha on making Omaha a bike friendly city? Trails are nice, and being able to ride a recreation trail from Omaha to Lincoln would be dandy...but I'm more concerned with being able to ride to work, the store, a friends house etc without being crushed by a dozen soccer moms on cell phones than a trail system to Lincoln. What's being done to get more bikes on the streets and OFF trails?

EB said...

Absolutely!

We should never be satisfied!

And to tell ya the truth I posted that to show they're doing something. But boy oh boy do I desire to see Omahan's Hitting the Streets.

It is really a deep-set passion of mine.It's always on my mind and in my thoughts.The hope is that we can all come together as a community and agree that trails are great, bike lanes are great but nothing will happen if people don't get out and pedal.

Translation- We need to chat Mr. Douglas!

The Douglas said...

EB:
And chat we will Mr. Brunt. Over a steamin' cup o' joe on Saturday and hopefully a solid (conversational) ride.

Coffee Talk: Reminds me of the old SNL skit.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqPiJ0L7YmY

www.andrewchasteen.com said...

I like your thinking The Douglas...

The Lucas said...

Give me a bottle of wine, a decent suit, and moves like Justin Timberlake and I will take care of those soccer moms for you. Buh BAM!

Steve said...

I agree with the Douglas here. Recreational trails are fine, but I'm much more interested in riding safely on the roads. Bikes are vehicles for transport, not just recreation. Dundee streetscape redesign brainstorming sessions anyone? Let's get some signage.

The Douglas said...

I'm guessing most of us here at Pedal-Omaha have the same philosophy when it comes to bicycle transportation and accessibility. I too would like extended and better maintained trail systems, but this is secondary to the need to drive my bicycle with the same rights and relative safety as an automobile. For those who remember, when Omaha first attempted to obtain "Bike Friendly" status they did so by adding paved trails that connected areas like Zorinski and Standing Bear, etc. Omaha failed. It was almost laughable when we were shut down from receiving this status. Anyone who rides a bike for transportation knows that trail systems are not what we need. But this is what Omaha spent it's money on. How much did Activate Omaha have to do with this lame attempt? I'm not sure. I know that I have stepped up countless times to be a voice within A.O. and have been shut out. They blamed it on clerical issues. I blame it on incompetence. I have a sneaky suspicion that Activate Omaha does not have an agenda to address integrating bicycles into city streets. Dave at Bike Masters would know better. My feeling is that Activate Omaha is more interested in family and child activities, programs and park trails. Remember the 'Sun Dogs' programs? Tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on wooden sheds that housed soccer balls and play toys for urban children. This was supposed to motivate children to be active? All it did was motivate thieves to break into these sheds and get themselves a new basketball. So once again Omaha receives transportation grants and have money budgeted to enhance these grants and what do we get? A multi-million dollar Dodge Street overpass that has done nothing to alleviate traffic congestion. And the pedestrian bridge. Nice...but I'd sure like something more than a bridge to Council Bluffs.
Alright...I'll stop. I need a beer.

EB said...

Yeah baby stir the pot!

erik said...

i doubt activate omaha is reading this.

but i might be wrong.

though if they were, i imagine they stopped after lucas's comment. and even if so, such crap (sorry fellow) really makes it sound like we're just a group of immature kids rather than a voice that should be respected in the community.

we should probably do some work on political advocacy, maintaining a coherent and workable platform, and not using sexually loaded language. that is, if we want change and not just a place to talk about bicycle trips.

in the end i don't really mind, as this thing is whatever people make it to be. however, it's my appraisal that a bit more could be done to unify, instead of divide.

have you all gone to the dundee meeting that steve posted about? it is a pragmatic first step to ameliorating at least part of the problem.

one thing i'd love to see mentioned by more than just me concerns placement of share the road signs on corridors such as underwood--a street that is even worse than dodge to ride on at times, but by no means should be.

as always, best regards,

erik

EB said...

You should never be ashamed of who you are.

EB said...

And yes, I went to the mtg this morning.

erik said...

my contention is that being immature (here better defined as patriarchal) is a great way not to wield influence on what i took was the purpose of this blog.

effecting a change in perception of cycling across the larger omaha community (which contains "soccer moms" and those sympathetic to them), which would be able to get people to "turn the cranks instead of the keys."

don't get angry or defensive when someone simply voices their opinion that certain attitudes are best left to the bro-party.

i also know for a fact, that such behavior actively excludes the female contingent of cyclists in this community--of which many do things such as commute to work by bicycle. i'm just not sure what the advantage of the comment is, and i'm not sure that i can support an effort that allows such things to go unchecked. in respect for the larger cycling community in omaha, who would take offense at such things (something those in power are quick to note and subsequently use as justification for marginalization of our voice, if it goes on).

as always, in good faith and best regard,

erik

EB said...

Thanks!

The Douglas said...

Erik:
Much respect for your words and intellect. Never mind the fact I had to use a thesaurus to get through your posts. (kidding of course). In regards to my comments regarding soccer moms, SUVs and cell phones...this was not meant as a "poke" at women. This was a factual statement regarding a real issue I have and that is female drivers of large vehicles who have a phone stuck to their head. Anyone who spends any time on a bike on the road particularly in the suburbs where I live and commute, would have to agree. I'm also confident that any female cyclist who actually rides would not only agree with my comment, but would not be offended by it. If I think back to my last 10 vehicle encounters I would venture to guess 8 of them were females either on the phone or distracted by someone in their car/suv. As for Lucas's comment...I guess I missed the insult there. I thought the comment was light hearted and funny. In a world where it IS us against them (literally) we have to laugh at times.

In my humble opinion...there's a time for big words and a time for big action. Words go unnoticed when your the hoi polloi, so action is what's called for. I for one am active, have been active, and will do what I can to stir the pot until someone hears me. THIS blog may be the very thing that we've needed in Omaha. A place where serious cyclists (not in the physical sense) can join together to ensure our voices are heard. And sometimes our voices may not be so friendly.

erik said...

"i would venture to guess" seems significant of allowing a stereotype and a few dominant experiences overshadow the sum reality of the situation.

i'm sorry, but i don't feel that the problem preventing cyclists from using the road is more a result of the soccer mom w/c.p.&suv than the soccer dad w/c.p.&suv or anyone else.

my main objection isn't even to that delineation, though i think it is overly stereotypical--rather to the implication of fucking a bunch of soccer moms as a good way to solve it, as something overly immature and contrary to any practical objectives we might hope to achieve.

finally, as regards objection. I know several men and women who find such stereotypes offensive, and ride everyday. I don't think "riding" has anything to do with understanding what constitutes effective social dialogue.

they don't appreciate this site as much as they might, and i think the opinion is resultant to many of the attitudes thrown about.

my criticism, only aimed towards enlarging this community in a better manner.

EB said...

Love it!
Can't wait to have these convo's over some pedaling and some espresso.

The Lucas said...

If you read into my remarks as anything but fun, light banter on serious matters, then you need to take a step back and realize what composes the larger picture. This is a blog. A log of comments and thoughts used to express one's self. It basically gives me someone to voice to because quite frankly, my cats could give a f@ck about me riding my bike.
Any city, every city. A human powered vehicle is a minority. I have been a runner for thousands upon thousands of miles before becoming a cyclist. I have had running friends killed by cop cars while out at odd times of the night, I've known people getting beaten for no reason at all aside from just circumstance of being where they were, when they were. These are all hardships of being unique.

When Douglas points out things that begin with, "Not to be a buzz kill," I believe he is on target. People will not change. Cities will not change. People will take out their daily stresses on a cyclist because they are more vulnerable than a big metal and glass, gas powered vehicle. The stronger will always prey on those of a 'weaker stature.'

Speaking of weak, if someone reading this cannot take an blatant satirical comment as what it is, then they need to get the space between their audio intakes checked. You cannot have light without dark. It's better that way. My mom said that perhaps I should take down the link to my blog so it does not connect my professionalism to things that I do that are not professional. I am me. There is no way around that-- take this to heart: Do not hide who you are. You are better being you without hiding things that may make you more of an individual. People, even corporate, are beginning to understand that. Shoot, look at commercials. The more I see of them, the more I see them bending to my type of humor. It's freaking great.

I don't think there is much that can be done by city planners. People will continue to do what they do. "A stop sign is nearly a suggestion" comes into my mind. "Share the road" is only another expensive sign. It is unfortunate, but it's true. You want people to bend to our decisions? All you can do is keep doing what you do. Ride your bike, do what you know is right, and when the time comes, say what is right-- what is on your mind. And to those city planners, if you think you've got something? I would be honored for you to raise my eye brows.

I think we have some great minds here. I honor all that speak. I am excited by all points of view. We are all unique snowflakes just waiting to be melted into the gutter of our 2 feet of asphalt that we take up.

Pedal on my brothers. On this ride, cadences can differ immensely, but the speed and goal can remain the same.

Erik: " Turn Cranks instead of keys" is absolutely awesome!

The Douglas said...

Can I get an Amen!

EB said...

Hallelujah!

Steve said...

As much as I'd like to see an end to this comment thread from which so much animosity has erupted, I feel the need to add one more thing. It seems that there is a general view among those who have posted here that city planning can contribute little to help us bicycle commuters in our struggles with automobile-driving folks. I have been pushing all of us to attend a planning meeting, and it seems necessary that I now explain my reasoning in the face of this skepticism. (Due to the seemingly high level of tension here, I'd like to point out that I have not been offended by any of this particular skepticism, nor am I angry in the least.)

As has been pointed out, the problems we face as cyclists in a car-oriented city (and nation) are deeply rooted. People's entire mindsets regarding their relationships with each other and the world itself need to change, and that is an extremely difficult thing to accomplish. How do we do it? Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is to just keep riding (or running/walking). We need to continue to exemplify the modes of transportation and the lifestyles we'd like to see others use and live, but that will only take us part of the way. Some folks will not respond to passive attempts at change. We need to actively engage the populace, just as other cities have already done. This is where city planning can potentially help.

People are partially products of their environments, so if an environment can be changed, the people residing within that environment will change. When people live in sprawling neighborhoods separated from work, school, food, and entertainment by large stretches roads designed for autos moving at a high rate of speed and surrounded by ample parking, most people will drive. They will do that because they think that is what is expected of them. But, if neighborhoods are designed to house people closer to their destinations, high-speed traffic is slowed or confined to a few main arteries, and parking is limited, then people will find other ways to transport themselves.

Also, it seems as though signage can help. The excuse I hear from most people trying to explain why they don't ride is that they are afraid to ride in the street. Maybe we seasoned commuters are used to it for the most part, but I for one still occasionally get nervous hearing autos approach from behind. People yell "Get on the sidewalk!" or other such things regularly. This is a situation where signage seems appropriate. I don't mean a couple small signs hidden behind trees on the side of the road; I mean a whole bunch of signs on the side of the road combined with reflective markings on the road itself. Other cities have done this, and it does help educate the public that bicyclists have a right to be on the street. It also reminds drivers to keep an eye out for cyclists at intersections.

City planning has much to contribute to our cause. Even little things like having a plethora of noticeable bike racks helps plant the bicycling seed in people's heads.

Of course, city planners need the help of citizens to get city councils and other legislatures behind such measures. Omaha has a reactionary government. We have to communicate the demand for bicycle commuting infrastructure before it will do anything to help us, but we can easily do that. EB, those posts about contacting members of the government and planning organizations are on the right path. We should write letters. We should show up at neighborhood planning meetings in Dundee and in the rest of town. We should go to city council meetings. If we consistently exercise our voices, they might finally be heard.

We have many problems facing us, and I don't mean to suggest that city planning and government action are going to solve them alone; but I don't think they should be counted out. We are going to have to attack this beast from all sides if we really want to accomplish anything worthwhile.

Now, I'm tired of writing. It's time to go ride. Be well, all.

Biker Bob said...

Well said Steve.

erik said...

to follow on steve's well-stated point--
part of effective social work is maintaining a proper image (not to mention part of a good personal life is an ethical behavior and being true to oneself as an ethical being).

if "being yourself" means treating others with intentional and stereotypical disrespect (deserved or otherwise), that's where i sign off. i only hope the same respect is afforded to me as a cyclist by those in cars.

finally, i'm the first to argue against most all aspects of suburban life, let it be known--however, when most of the people didn't actively choose those lifestyles free of a forced ideology, it does us no good to reinforce those ideologies (gender oppression, for one).

am i running far on a relatively minor point? perhaps. but if it can't be otherwise, i don't want to share a part in this. i'll be out on my bicycle for no good reason, with a tent in my bag and smile on my face.

leave spite behind!

not my community

erik said...

really, is it so controversial to say that we shouldn't stereotype on gender?

The Douglas said...

Erik & others:
No disrespect to dead horses, but I'll continue beating this one. I think we're all wanting an end to this thread. Just one last kick.

I think we're all on the same side of the fence when it comes to cycling issues. However it's obvious we have different attitudes, personalities and approaches. Since EB hosts this site I will respect whatever limitations he sets on the tone of our posts. I don't believe he'll set any, but I'll respect it if he does. That being said, let me introduce myself. I'm a 40-year old husband, cyclist, tax-payer, suadehead, beer and coffee loving pessimist and cynic. I don't offend easily and don't care much if I offend anyone. People need to be offended once in a while. Kind of like feeling pain. If you never felt pain you wouldn't know what pleasure feels like. I do stereotype people and I can defend every stereotype I have. I'm not sensitive or emotional. These are traits better left at home or with the feminine crowd. And speaking of femeninas...I love them, particularly when they ride bicycles. I'm an equal opportunity hater/lover. Not for bravado sake, but because I can justify my hatred/love. I do try and keep my angst and hatred internalised so not to offend softer folks, but sometimes I slip.
In a very brief nutshell, this is who I am. Hopefully this puts a little perspective behind my recent posts. Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet everyone subscribed to this blog (I'm riding Saturday) so we can get to know each other outside of our screen names.

Diversity is great and I think the more diverse our group the better.

EB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EB said...

Never Quit