Orsi’s Italian Bakery and Pizzaria is nestled in Little Italy.

The co-owner of Orsi’s Bakery and a former state senator who lives in Little Italy want a one-way street in the neighborhood changed back to two-way traffic.

Jim Hall of Orsi’s and Pat Venditte said Wednesday that a one-way stretch of Pierce Street, from Sixth to Eighth Streets, is confusing to older residents, inconvenient and potentially dangerous.

They said they want the city to convert the two blocks of Pierce Street back to two-way traffic. The historic Little Italy area is just south of downtown Omaha.

Assistant Omaha Public Works Director Todd Pfitzer said the street is safer the way it is, with a portion of it one-way. He said the city made the change in 2012 after residents complained about heavy truck traffic from a business in the area. More truck traffic from a major sewer project was looming at the time. New housing was being built. The city also installed speed bumps on Pierce.

While the sewer project is over, the business still generates truck traffic, and it’s safer for the trucks to travel on Sixth Street to Pacific Street on their way west out of the neighborhood, Pfitzer said. Those streets are better suited for truck traffic than Pierce is, he said.

Sign up for World-Herald news alerts

Be the first to know when news happens. Get the latest breaking headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Hall and Venditte, who owns a driving education business, said the one-way stretch of Pierce is confusing and inconvenient. Venditte said he has to drive three blocks around to get out of the neighborhood. They said they worry that it will cause accidents.

Hall said Pierce was a two-way for 45 of the 52 years he has been in the neighborhood. He and Venditte said their understanding was the Pierce Street stretch would be one-way temporarily, only during the sewer project construction.

But Pfitzer said it was never meant to be temporary, but to fix the truck traffic problem long term. He said the city would convert the street back to two-way traffic if Venditte collects signatures from 75% of the people who live along the affected stretch.

Venditte said he has been unable to do that, because some people don’t want the street changed back to two-way.

Omaha’s 10 busiest intersections

Chris Burbach covers the Douglas County Board, Planning Board and other local government bodies, as well as local neighborhood issues. Follow him on Twitter @chrisburbach. Phone: 402-444-1057.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.

Recommended for you

Load comments

You must be a full digital subscriber to read this article You must be a digital subscriber to view this article.

Your sports-only digital subscription does not include access to this section.

Upgrade to full digital for only $3 extra per month. If you need assistance, call us at (844) 466-1452 or e-mail owhdigital@ggl.bhmginc.com.

To start a new subscription or to add digital access to your print subscription, click Sign Up to join Subscriber Plus.

If you’re already a digital subscriber, Log In.

If you need other assistance, call (844) 466-1452 or email owhdigital@ggl.bhmginc.com.

Learn more about Subscriber Plus.