Omaha residents call for better public transit
November 18th, 2010
Omaha, NE – The city of Omaha took public input Tuesday night about the cityâ€™s transportation future. And fixing the bus system was a primary concern.
“Raise your hand if you took public transportation to this meeting?”
Michael Shinholser is a downtown Omaha resident.Â He asked the first question of the night, directed toward the audience at the public meeting. Â Four people in the crowd of about 100 raised their hands to say theyâ€™d used public transit that night. Shinholser said he walks, bikes or rides the bus whenever he can, but the cityâ€™s public transit system is inadequate.
“Buses donâ€™t run on time, or they donâ€™t show up at all or people theyâ€™re so inconvenient that people would prefer to just drive their own car.Â Itâ€™s probably a more inconvenience thing than anything else but with the right planning we could eliminate a lot of that.”
Earlier this year, Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle announced a few transportation plans for the city which included the future development of a streetcar. He also announced the hire of a city bike coordinator to improve Omahaâ€™s bicycle trails. This week, at the first public hearing, which begins the process of updating the cityâ€™s decade-old transportation plan, the audienceâ€™s main concern was an inadequate bus system. Rick Cunningham, the cityâ€™s planning director indirectly addressed these concerns.Â Cunningham said although Omaha is an auto-centric city, the plan is to take a holistic approach with an emphasis on all transportation modes.
“One of the goals is to increase our mode split for active transportation from 2% currently to 10%.Â Itâ€™s not huge increase but has a huge impact”.
Funding for the new transportation plan comes from a Douglas County and Live Well Omaha grant received from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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