Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Omaha Bike Summit - Oct. 18 2008

Brisk October air, fog surrounding the tops of downtown Omaha buildings, and the wish that I'd worn gloves with fingers is how I started Saturday, October 18th, 2008. I was riding my 2000 Marin Palisades Trail down Cass St. towards the Omaha Qwest Center. From there I would take the walking bridge from the Qwest Center to Riverfront Dr. and the National Parks Service Building. This was the site of the 2008 Omaha Bike Summit. When I arrived Bikeable Communities was putting up their banner.

This was the Agenda...
7:45 - 8:30 Registration & Welcome Bikeable Communities!
8:30 - 9:30 City of Omaha progress and status report - Marty Shukert
9:30 - 10:30 PedNet Presentation - Robert Johnson
10:45 - 11:15 Bicycles & Policing in Omaha - Deputy Chief Mark Sundermier
11:15 - 11:45 Green Streets Master Plan - Connie Spellman, Omaha by Design
11:45 - Lunch / Presentation on Missouri Pedestrian Bridge - Chistian Brown, HNTB
12:30 - MAT Bus Bike Rack Demo / Pedestrian Bridge walk or ride
1:15 Bike Parking opportunities & alternatives - Mark Wyatt, Iowa Bicycle Coalition
1:45 Bikeable Communities!

Marty Shukert started his presentation showing the 2008 Omaha Metro Area Bicycle Map and talking about the plan to make 20 miles of Omaha Street biker friendly. I did find an Omaha World-Herald article published back on May 13, 2008 about this plan Omaha to add bicycle lanes to some streets. He focused on north, central and south east-west links to downtown. The plan is to reduce friction for cyclists to use Omaha streets and reduce tension when motorists and cyclists share the streets. It was interesting to hear Marty talk about the history of Omaha streets and how the street car system that was retired in the 50s is what contributed to some of Omaha's wider streets. One of the streets this plan will focus early in the plan is Leavenworth. Marty had examples of good signage and street paint used in other cities for bike traffic.

Bike Signage/Paint

He also showed an example from St. Louis of iconic signs marking the entire biking street system. It sounds like Omaha will use a marking system like that as well. I was happy to hear that the $600,00 grant to fund the implementation of the 20 mile bike plan would start getting used to put some of these ideas into action as early as spring 2009.
There was a second initiative that Marty talked about that would link Omaha and towns west like Elkhorn, Valley, Waterloo and even Fremont. This Western Doulas County Trail System would be paved. This plan includes making "Buffered Bike Lanes" on streets like Old Maple. Marty showed street wide allocation examples that looked like this...

One thing I also learned is that Omaha has a mayor appointed Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committee and they are looking into hiring a coordinator. It was great to hear from someone that is a cycling advocate with plans to make bike transportation more mainstream in our area.

The next speaker was Robert Johnson from Pednet in Columbia, Mo. Pednets focus is on cycling education. Here is the link where you can learn more about their programs. PedNet Pedestrain & Pedaling Network But the point the Robert made that really had some merit was that building bike transportation infrastructure is great but communities need to be educated on cycling to confidently be able to use that infrastructure. I liked that Robert backed up the success of his programs by using surveys showing how his students were using there bikes more after the training. Here are some of Robert's slides ...

Bike Education Slides

In 2006, Columbia was selected as one of four communities in the nation to participate in the Federal Highway Administration's Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot program. Here is a link to "getabout Columbia" which PedNet created. getabout COLUMBIA One of the main ideas Robert teaches his cyclists is that even if there is a bike lane, when stopping at the intersection the cyclist needs to take the car lane. I guess they learned in Portland that this was the way to prevent the "Right Hook". I like what Robert said about education needing to be balanced with the infrastructure.

I was able to stay to listen to presenters until lunch. After lunch I went out to the parking lot of the National Parks Service Building and learned how to put my bike on the MAT Bus. I rode over to 16th and Capitol and put what I learned to use.

My "Pali" and I rode the MAT bus west to 108th and Blondo where I took my normal bike commute route home from work. Made it home it time to get in my truck and head south to Platte River State Park for the Bike Bash!

Friday, October 17, 2008

CHS School Play

Cali got the part of Sadie Finch in the 2008 Central High School Play "Up the Down Staircase". The cast and crew did a fantastic performance.

Who is Stratomatic?

My photo
Stratomatica - is my blog place where I document things happening around me or that interest me. The name Strata, geologically speaking, are layers of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. Too deep? Well, I like guitars. Mostly I like the sound and feel of Stratocasters.