Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge May Close During Inclement Weather

According to the City of Omaha Official Web Site, the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge may be temporarily closed due to inclement weather and/or periodic maintenance.

During a presentation on the construction of the bridge during the 2008 Omaha Bike Summit on October 18, 2008, I asked about winter maintenance of the bridge. Someone answered that the bridge would be swept, but not salted or sanded.

I can understand how that would lead to icy conditions, but I feel a "cross at your own risk" policy would be more appropriate than an outright closing. This is especially important for year round bike commuters who have come to depend on the bridge for an easy and safe crossing of the river. Regular Winter bike commuters are well aware of handling icy riding conditions and should be allowed to continue to make the crossing.

If you have any questions or comments for the City, please contact the Parks Department at 402-444-5900.


EB said...

We can be a voice-
Make it happen Omaha!

erik said...

Yes, it was closed last friday night. They had zip-tied an orange fence across either side. I took that to mean "cross at your own risk" and climbed over.

In my mind, the succinct argument was that I'm going to cross the river (as a commuter or otherwise) somehow. It will either be the 'pedestrian' bridge or 480 that takes me. I opted to avoid tons of metal hurdling out of control at 70 mph during an ice storm and opt for a bit of positive traction on ice with studded tires. I imagine the city's lawyers could only concur with my risk assesment, and I wasn't going to complain if I fell.

It should be viewed as any other sort of bridge, and the fact that they try to close it during snowstorms only goes to show how confused people are about the nature of both non-auto transit and their relation to nature. In more northern climes, I think such a decision would be laughed at.

I will call tomorrow.

EB said...

I've got a feeling you won't be the only person dialing.

erik said...

hell yes
please enjoy.

Scott Redd said...

To further paraphrase Beck, I'll say that we're working our legs, and our beat is correct. Hell yes.

A few phone calls to the Parks department might be a good thing.

I'm glad to hear that a fabric fence was the barrier, rather than a chain link.

Biker Bob said...

I just called to check on this with the parks department. The person I talked to said the bridge "would not" be closed due to inclimate weather. She pointed out that a special machine was purchased for the purpose of keeping that bridge cleared.

Erik, did you call and find out why it was blocked off last Friday?

EB said...

I called as well, same stuff

Good work Bob!

erik said...

I called yesterday, and was told the same as all of you.

Bob, I did not think to ask why the bridge was closed friday, but I assume we have it on good authority that there it should not be in the future.

Maybe they changed their minds?

I call it victory #1!

Scott Redd said...

Nice activism. Way to go.