Monday, February 16, 2009

Call to Action! We need riders...

This Wednesday February 18th is the Master Plan meeting at Embassy Suites where the City Planning Department is seeking input on Omaha's future downtown development. The meeting starts at 6:00 PM. I suggested in Biker Bob's post that we meet before attending the meeting. Very few have responded so far. If only a handful of us show up we won't be taken seriously if we try and have a voice in future development. Do you want bike lanes? More bike racks? Blue boxes at intersections? Pedicabs rather than a stupid trolley? Then show the phuck up and speak your mind! Even though I don't ride downtown very often I'm still willing to play my part in helping improve Omaha's cycle'ability in downtown. Did I happen to mention the Omaha Weird Herald will be there? The reporter covering this is a friend of mine and I'm willing to bet we can slant this our way IF we do it right.

Who's with me? Bob and RD have responded so far. Where's everyone else?

For those who can attend a pre-meeting, meeting let's meet at the Blue Line at 5:00 PM. We can then pedal off to the Embassy at 5:45. For those who can't attend the pre-meeting then plan on meeting us along the way OR at the meeting itself. We Need People To Show!

EB: can you cross post this in your circle-of-friends blogs?

14 comments:

Biker Bob said...

See you at the Blue Line at 5:00.

MOD said...

Don't be dissing the the Trolley. Each has there place in a mass transit/alternative transit car(less) culture.

EB said...

As many of you know I'm all about the bicycle, but we mustn't forget about alternative forms of transportation. Specifically what a diverse blend of busing, walking and cycling can do for our Community.
We need them all!

Eager to have a strategy session with all of you pedal-heads beforehand at BL NODO .

The Douglas said...

Sorry MOD, I guess you're right. All forms of mass transit are a step forward. Maybe I have the wrong idea about what the trolley is all about. My impression is that it is a tourist thing. I just have a hard time imagining anyone want to ride a trolley around Omaha. But that's just me.
If I were looking to site see I'd prefer to ride (or drive) a pedicab.
But hey.....there's room for all of us.

The Unicycle Guy said...

im down for the meeting...see you there.

btw...does embassy suits have bike racks?

RD said...

the douglas, If you put nice bike rack in/on trolley/tram i'm down. I will see all of you wed night at blue line downtown... toodles there is plenty of light posts downtown james

2sean9er said...

I will try to see if I can get off work and early and meet you guys down there.

Scott Redd said...

I'll see you all there at the Blue Line at 5pm.

I'll be wearing my office clothes, so count me out of any sprintfests on the one mile ride from the coffee shop to the hotel. :)

I'd also suggest that everyone have some other ideas ready to express on downtown improvement ideas not specifically related to cycling.

The Douglas said...

Scott:
I agree.
For example...here's a couple of ideas I have in mind that are not particularly cycle related, but still effect us cyclists.
- Extended & Beautify pedestrian paths, landscaped, widened, well-connected to encourage ped travel.
- Traffic calming devices, decrease speed limits, round-a-bouts, raised crosswalks.
- Lane restructuring, off street parking to allow bike/ped pathway. Closed roads during peak ped time, shut down old market area to encourage bike/ped traffic w/no vehicle traffic allowed.
- Business development that encourages peds/bike travel...tour by foot, sidewalk caffe, etc.

I have a lot of other ideas that are all Bike related. We'll see if we actually get a chance to sell these ideas.

See you tomorrow.

Biker Bob said...

Great ideas guys. I like the traffic calming idea. Just mellow things out a bit to encourage walking/cycling. Shutting down the old market to car traffic would be great. I think it would be a much more enjoyable experience down there if you didn't have to worry about getting run over crossing the street from one shop to another. Plus, there is rarely a parking spot available in there anyways.

Steve said...

I just got back into town. What time is this meeting going to end? I've got to work until maybe 830 at BLC#1.

Biker Bob said...

Meeting is from 6 till 10:00. So you could stop in towards the end.

erik said...

did you all see what steve did there?

i found some 5/32" bearings I used awhile back, we could use those to shut down the old market.

are "they" going to come after me for saying it?

Scott Redd said...

Here are some talking points I came up with. I don't know what kind of opportunity citizen will have to speak, and this would be a long list of items for a single person to voice.

Some are specifically cycling related. Most are more at downtown improvement in general.


Cycling
• Bike lanes with signs for motorists
• Bike parking (new racks or slip on collars for parking meters)
• Awareness for motorists (remember focus is for downtown, not the city in general)
• Incentives for bike commuting, car pooling, busing (Birmingham example: http://commutesmarter.org/ $2 a day)


Other
• Car free weekends in central part of Old Market
• Incent the homeless not to hang out in Mall, commercial districts (how to say this without sounding uncaring?)
• Affordable downtown housing. Look at all the vacant+expensive housing and stalled condo development (Brandeis stops and starts, Wall Street Tower delayed, Barker Building sits boarded up). Make it affordable for ordinary people, families
• Downtown Improvement District services (ala Reading, PA [http://www.downtownreading.com/services.htm]):
o Ambassadors
o Escorts
o Cleaning and maintenance
• Graffiti cleanup. Why not allow low-risk correctional facility inmates out on work detail to paint over, remove graffiti
• Remove parking lanes on core Old Market streets, widen sidewalks to encourage pedestrian traffic, vendors, sidewalk cafĂ© seating, etc.
• Free or really cheap trolly-style circulator bus providing service between key parking facilities and Old Market, NODO, etc. (Austin example: “Dillo” trolly http://www.capmetro.org/riding/downtown_trollies.asp)
• Beautiful, open, and wide walkable/bikeable boulevard linking NODO with Old Market