Friday, February 20, 2009

One To Remember

What a Wondrous week!

Thanks to all of the "hipsters" (as the OWH reporter Maggie O'Brien so eloquently put it) who came to that historic meeting Wednesday.
Twas pretty spectacular to fill the entire front row of people who Pedal.

Notice all of the media photos didn't include us 2nd class citizens. Scott Redd was our one true hope to garner the attention of the fat cats who believe a streetcar is the yellow brick road to happiness. I find it hilarious, we can't even get folks to ride the MAT, now they push for a bus on rails. I realize this is looking at the next 30 or heck even 50 years, but it seems like quite a bit of $ moolah as my Pops would say.

There was plenty of good that happened Wednesday, specifically how the general public viewed cycling as transportation and the desire to change and implement new diverse strategies to make Downtown Omaha change.

It was refreshing to see folks in suits that will never straddle a top tube say that Omaha isn't bike friendly, and lobby for bicycle lanes in our streets. That made me want to dance and sing river dance style. (and trust me I did plenty of that)

Weekend Happenings:


17 comments:

RD said...

the shorts were awesome.. I might have to checkout this kaneko open house

The Douglas said...

Good stuff EB.
I have to agree...Wednesday night was a positive experience. However (being the constant buzzkill that I am) we must remember that the type of people who attend meetings like this are already progressive, open minded people. It's the people who DIDN'T attend this meeting we need to convince that Bike=Vehicle. 200 vs 400,000 is the real fight. Once this idea spills out to the GP (general pop)we may see different reactions. But for now lets bask in the warm feeling that SOME people in Omaha want to see change in transportation infrastructure. And as you say...KEEP PEDALING!

The Lucas said...

I am sorry, no matter how many years down the road they are planning, the rail cars or trolly is a bad idea.

Oh, and why did we not decide to wear suits to the meeting? EB how did we miss this thought!

The point made the people already fear MAT is the one and standing point. -- Buses in the future could be electrically driven. Don't many bus systems already run on propane? Zero emissions bus systems do exist. I think the trolly is missing the issue, or dare I say, the bus.

The Douglas said...

Lucas:
I agree 110%. The trolley idea is beyond stupid. You would have loved the comment that the guy from Miami made, which was something to the effect of "It doesn't matter how many people ride the trolley, it only matters that it's there".

Did anyone else catch that comment?

RD said...

while everyone points are valid i have feeling there will be street car in omaha's future. same as some other questionable projects approved in this town

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that there is too much focus on the downtown area. While I agree that bikelanes in the downtown area would be cool and helpful, if you really want to get more people on bikes, and unless I'm grossly mistaken that is our goal here, then we need to find away to connect east Omaha with west Omaha. The Big Papio is the only trail that even comes close and it's northwest to southeast. People in west Omaha want to and do ride bikes too, and a lot of them work east of where they live. We're keeping people stuck in a rec rider mindset even if they want to commute because they feel they have no options. It's nice that we have this hip little area downtown that we can ride around in, now give these people some way to get there.

The Douglas said...

Anonymous:
Not sure how much time you've spent around this blog or other Omaha bike-blogs but we are working on getting a east/west corridor. It's been in the works for a while. The master plan meeting was solely intended for downtown redevelopment. Most of us agree there are other priorities, but this was one chance for us to speak our collective voices and play a role in at least one portion of development.
I'm one of those far west Omaha cyclists so I know first hand how difficult it is to go anywhere east or central.

RD said...

Anonymous,
your point is a valid one but as the saying goes... Rome wasn't build in one day... There are other groups in the city that are trying to get this done through more proper/legal channels with use of federal/state/private grand money. It is a slow process? Yes, yes it is.
This downtown planning became focus not because it was "cool" thing to do, but that's what was on city's agenda. I'm sure members/readers of this blog would agree with me that downtown planning is great start for paradigm shit not an end to public involvement from people on here and members this blog and other groups in omaha metro area. If you have ideas please do bring them forward we are looking towards a healthy dialogue with anyone interested in helping old transportation mindsets

bryan said...

Of all of the places I've ridden in Omaha, downtown is easily the best place to ride. It's one of the only bike-friendly places in town, actually. I've never, ever thought twice about riding downtown -- even when I didn't know what I was doing.

More lanes, more one-way traffic. Slower traffic in general.
Wider streets.
Those all equal bike friendliness.

Getting downtown is the issue, specifically from any point west of 90th Street. The way the city west of there was designed contributes to that. Only a few main roads (think Dodge, Blondo, Maple, Fort) and no other through streets. It's a giant mess of subdivisions.

And in true fashion (for me, at least) I have no solution. Just spouting things again ...

bryan said...

Oh, and by "best" I mean least likely to get me killed. The hills north of I-680 are the best place to ride.

Single_Speeder said...

I understand that things are being done, and I'm not trying to get on here and just bitch and piss people off. It just seems like there is a disconnect between the riders in east and west Omaha. More specifically the newer cyclists in west Omaha. It's frustrating to me (being a shop employee and a former northwest resident), to hear people complain about the lack of trails(quite a few planned, very few built) out west, and then to see all of this work going in to the downtown area. I have to agree with Bryan and say that it's relativly bike-friendly compared to the rest of the city. I just think that we're focusing on the wrong part of the city. I mean, doesn't this all come out of the same budget? Can we say, "Yeah, we're pretty okay down here, that money would be put to better use somewhere else."? Is that possible? Or is this a, "This is where we ride and we speak the loudest so give the money to us", situation? Wouldn't we be stronger as a whole city of cyclists rather then just a few old pros on one end of the city who ride year round and a bunch of new guys who are only serious when it's nice out? Again, not trying to piss people off, this is just what I'm seeing.

The Lucas said...

Anon said it and Bryan really hit it too. Now that I think about it, screw the down town area. Screw Dundee.
** I know the meetings as of late were specifically about these areas.
These areas are fine. The biggest problem with Omaha is all streets West of 90th -- even West of 72nd. Nothing goes thru. A GPS wouldn't be able to get you thru that mess of concrete.
You want signs? How about signs that would guide you through neighborhoods if you wanted to stay off the main arteries (which can be really challenging) ? There is no East-West travel options. Diagonals don't count.
I really don't know what there is for hope for Omaha on this scene. There is a definite separation and I guess you can source the blame just to how hilly Omaha is. Building straight East/West roads especially in Res areas is nearly impossible.
SS Rider is right. Not that we have any say, but the downtown area does not really need any help. You wanna ride West right now, you better prepare yourself for battle or spend some time looking at city maps. I am a nerd, and I do this all the time, but it lets me know where to go. If you live in West O and work down town or vice versa: move, grow wings, or learn to ignore horns and people "buzzing the tower." (The tower being your ass.)

I will side with Bryan. I don't know what there is to do. Bueller ?

The Unicycle Guy said...

Hipster - One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term "cool"; a Hipster would instead say "deck.") The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.

The Douglas said...

Chiming in again.
Big picture-wise I can care less about downtown Omaha as well, but my impression of this whole "Master Plan" thing is that it's restricted to downtown redevelopment. At least that's the vibe I got at the meeting. Those that didn't attend the meeting may not understand why midtown and west-O are not included in this "plan". It was explained at this meeting that every 40-50 years environments are redeveloped, or rejuvenated. West O and Midtown don't need redeveloped or rejunivated (business/residential). They're still relatively new as far as business and residential development is concerned. So why did I attend this meeting if it doesn't effect me? (I live near Standing Bear Lake and rarely travel downtown.) We, as cycling advocates need to be a voice whenever given the opportunity...even if it doesn't effect each of us directly.

99.9% of my cycling is done west of 72nd street. I commute through the burbs so I'm well aware of the lack of accessibility and danger. I'm vested in the idea of a east-west corridor, but I think we should still remain active in all parts of the city. If we don't we'll wind up with trolley cars, million dollar expressways and other wasteful BS.

The Douglas said...

T.U.G.: Speaking of hipsters....if you haven't already watched this video you should. It's hilarious.

erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Unicycle Guy said...

i tried out for the hipster olympics...didnt make the cut. i was too fin.