As you turn out from downtown to head west on Interstate 80, you’re going to hit the wall.
Anymore, the traffic crawl home starts by 42nd Street. Like in a lot of big cities, you stop and go from there.
Anymore, the crawl lasts almost all the way into Sarpy County.
This commute home during rush hour isn’t what it used to be.
I know because that’s my commute. If my commute is changing, a lot of your commutes are changing, too. They are taking longer, going slower and, I suspect, have gone from a relatively quick drive to something closer to a hassle. A 20-minute city? Not for me.
It’s not just commuting. Big discussions are happening in Omaha around our entire transportation system.
We’re starting to grapple with the idea that our city can’t just keep cramming more cars on the road. That is elevating the debate over our mass transit system, buses and even a streetcar.
Our bicycling community is asking for a bigger commitment so it can be more than a small niche shoved onto a dangerous side of the road.
I’m here to give coverage to it all. For the past couple of months, The World-Herald has devoted extra attention to transportation, commuting and transit issues in our community.
So I’ve been listening to these discussions, talking to people in these circles and experiencing the issues facing our city. I hope you’ve had a chance to read some of these stories.
- A couple of weeks ago, I rode my bike from Millard to downtown as part of a Bike to Work Day event. Progressive cities get thousands of commuters biking to work. Could Omaha follow their lead? The opportunity is there.
- In April, I wrote about Metro transit’s new ORBT system, in line to start next year. It’s called Bus Rapid Transit, and it will be Omaha’s biggest mass transit investment in decades. It could mean real changes in our city.
- It just so happens my reporting coincided with Omaha’s pothole calamity this year. Ker-clunk! I heard your frustration.
- Street construction? I know it’s an annual annoyance to drivers around the Omaha metro area. So I’ve been cluing in to the major street projects, which are only getting started for this summer.
But there’s so much more happening: Floods closing highways around eastern Nebraska and western Iowa, scooters on our streets, legislative debate over a regional transit authority, a dispute over neighborhood traffic in Dundee, even plans for a potential $500 million rebuild of Eppley Airfield’s terminal.
Now I want you to know: I’d like to hear from you about the issues you see.
Is a street project annoying you? A coming project concerning you?
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What are we doing wrong with our streets, highways and trails? What are we doing right?
What questions do you want answered around this whole wide topic? What do you want to know?
Reach out. I’d like to talk. Contact me on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 402-444-1128. My Twitter handle is @jeffreyrobb
And if you happen to see me around Omaha’s streets milking more gas mileage out of my Toyota Prius, give me a polite salute, please.