Farnam street sign

Most of the new signs will be static, like this one, and will be installed in a few weeks. A sign at the traffic light at 52nd Street will be electronic and will go up in a few months.

The part-time one-way system along Farnam Street will remain for now, despite complaints from neighbors.

But the City of Omaha is adding signs on the street between Dodge Street and Saddle Creek Road to make the situation clearer to drivers.

Members of the Dundee-Memorial Park Association raised concerns about the street last summer, and the neighborhood’s councilman, Chris Jerram, asked the Public Works Department to look into the matter.

Neighbors questioned the safety of the situation on Farnam, which becomes eastbound-only in the morning and westbound-only in the afternoon on weekdays.

Public Works agreed to study the issue, and city engineers produced a memo last month that said an analysis didn’t show that the area was particularly dangerous.

“We didn’t really find any alarming trends,” said City Traffic Engineer Murthy Koti.

Taking away one rush-hour lane would increase congestion — and possibly crashes — on Dodge and Leavenworth Streets, a report says.

But according to the memo, engineers found that the most crashes happen where there are gaps in signs. So they recommended the city install signs in six areas.

One sign, at the traffic light at 52nd Street, would be an electronic sign similar to those near Dodge Street to tell drivers when the street is designated as one-way. That sign will be put up in a few months, Koti said.

The others would be normal static signs, and those are scheduled to be installed within a few weeks.

Big changes coming to the area and several large development projects could alter the traffic.

Changes to Omaha’s transportation system, including a new Bus Rapid Transit system, could also affect Farnam Street in unpredictable ways.

Koti said those projects will have traffic studies, and that could lead to changes.

Neighborhood association President Adam Langdon said he appreciates the city’s work but still would like the street to be converted to two-way permanently.

“I’m appreciative of the fact that Chris Jerram got this teed up with the city and that the city took it seriously enough to study the safety of the street,” he said.

He said he would have liked it if the city had agreed to a trial period to see how a permanent two-way Farnam Street affects the surrounding area.

“I have told neighbors ‘Hang on to hope,’ ” he said. “This isn’t over. This is just one step, and we need the city now to continue to work with us on this and look at us through a different lens.”

Contact the writer: 402-444-1084, roseann.moring@owh.com

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