Omahans will see street projects next year that slim down traffic lanes and incorporate bike lanes, fix worn-out sections of 78th Street and 168th Street, and redo a couple of north downtown routes.
Last week, the City of Omaha released its proposed six-year capital improvement program as part of Mayor Jean Stothert’s annual budget.
More than $300 million in transportation projects are budgeted over the course of the plan.
Here are some city street projects set to start in 2020.
Three major routes fall under the category of “complete streets” — projects that make room for all the ways people get around, namely walking and biking, along with driving. The projects involve implementing a “road diet,” or cutting down unnecessary lanes of car traffic to make safe paths for other users.
- 24th Street, from L Street in South Omaha north to Leavenworth Street: $4.5 million. The four-lane street will be reduced to three lanes for vehicles (one lane each direction with a middle turning lane). Bike lanes will go in each direction, and parking will be dedicated outside those bike lanes.
- 30th Street, from Ames Avenue in north Omaha to Cuming Street at the edge of Creighton University: $3.3 million. The street will be resurfaced and reduced from five lanes to three (one lane each direction with a middle turning lane). Bike lanes and separate sidewalks will be set up on each side, with parking on one side.
- Crown Point Avenue in northwest Omaha, from 72nd Street to Blair High Road: $7 million. Four traffic lanes will be trimmed to three. Four roundabouts will be installed, three of which are near Northwest High School. And a multiuse trail will be built just off the street’s north side.
As currently designed, the 24th Street and 30th Street bike lanes would be striped lanes, said Kevin Andersen, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff for economic development and development services.
In other cities, the trend is to do more than stripe lanes by physically separating them from car traffic. Andersen said the city still plans to study that idea in an unannounced pilot project.
Throughout southwest Omaha, 168th Street has worn down. The city is scheduled to start a multiyear, multiphase plan to fix it south to Harrison Street.
In a lot of places, 168th Street was built as a rural road — two lanes paved in asphalt without sidewalks or storm sewers.
From West Center Road north to Poppleton Avenue near Pacific Street, a $14.3 million project will change that. It will become a full four-lane street.
“It’s been long overdue,” Andersen said.
The section of 78th Street south of Pacific Street will be rebuilt to Mercy Road at Creighton University Medical Center-Bergan Mercy. The rebuilt street will remain two lanes but get storm sewers and sidewalks.
It will cost nearly $6 million.
The city will rehab this brick street through the Old Market from 11th to 13th Streets.
In August, sewer work under the street is expected to get started. Work on a rehabbed brick street and on sidewalks is scheduled to start in March.
The project will cost $4 million. The city also will ask for construction bids for related work on 12th Street just north of Jones and is trying to get funds for that work.
The first will reroute heavy truck traffic off 11th Street and Nicholas Street onto a new truck bypass, which will be built to run north and west of the Millwork area. The other project will rebuild Indiana Street from 11th to 13th Streets, aiming to make it a district centerpiece worthy of holding local events.
Combined, the work will cost nearly $6.2 million. For the bypass, Andersen said the city anticipates a developer contribution of $1.5 million in funding, land or a combination of the two.
72nd and Maple
The intersection will get a $4.3 million project to make it safer. Drivers on Maple Street will get two left-turn lanes at the intersection, and the driveways, sidewalks and traffic signals will be rebuilt.
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Dodge Street: Dodge was believed to be named for U.S. Sen. Augustus Caesar Dodge, of Iowa, who championed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 — along with Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, for whom Douglas Street is named. The 1854 act established the two territories, opened new lands, repealed the 1820 Missouri Compromise and allowed new settlers to decide whether they would allow slavery. But, over the years, it became less clear of the origin of the street name, and many took issue with what they called Augustus Caesar Dodge's pro-slavery stances. And so, in 2016, an effort was launched to officially name Dodge Street in honor of Civil War Brig. Gen. Grenville Mellen Dodge and his brother, real estate pioneer N.P. Dodge. Those efforts were approved by the city, county and state in 2016.
Jones Street: Alfred D. Jones did Omaha City’s first survey in 1854. It was said that, as Omaha’s first postmaster, the lawyer carried the mail in his hat.
Johnny Rodgers Street: Marlin Briscoe, left, and Johnny Rodgers pose for a photo before a ceremony to rename a section of Burt Street, between 30th and 33rd Streets, Johnny Rodgers Street on July 30, 2015. Read more
Capitol Avenue: This route led from the Missouri River to the second Nebraska territorial capitol, located on top of a hill near 20th and Dodge Streets. That building was replaced by Omaha High School in 1872, then by the school’s second building, which was completed in 1912. Omaha High School is now known as Omaha Central High School.
Mike Fahey Street: Fahey, pictured in 2009 at the ceremony renaming seven blocks of Webster Street from 10th Street to Creighton University as Mike Fahey Street, was the city’s longest-serving mayor since the City Charter was approved by voters in 1956.
A.V. Sorensen Parkway: Omaha businessman Axel Vergman Sorensen, mayor from 1965 to 1969, chaired a convention in 1956 that wrote the city’s current governing charter.
Farnam Street: Originally the main drag in Omaha, Farnam Street was named for railroad promoter Henry Farnam.
Bob Gibson Boulevard: Bob Gibson speaks after the unveiling of the street named after him in 1999. Deer Park Boulevard near Rosenblatt Stadium was renamed Bob Gibson Boulevard after the former St. Louis Cardinal pitching great and Hall of Fame member. Read more
Neal Mosser Boulevard: The stretch of Cuming Street from 30th to 33rd Streets was named after longtime Tech High basketball coach Neal Mosser in 2005. His coaching tenure stretched from 1948 to the late 1960s, and he was recognized as a positive influence on countless athletes, including Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson and NBA star and Olympic gold medalist Bob Boozer.
Bud Crawford Street: Larimore Avenue between 31st Avenue and 33rd Street was designated Terence "Bud" Crawford Street. The professional boxer was born and raised on that stretch of Larimore. Read more
Millard Avenue: Ezra Millard was president of the Omaha National Bank, which he organized in 1866. In 1871, he bought the land that was to become Millard.
Carol Van Metre Lane: Named in honor of the late Carol Van Metre, who worked to help ensure that the children of Omaha had parks and fields in which to play. It winds east from 24th Street at Woolworth Avenue and leads to Columbus Park, the Columbus Community Center, and Van Metre Field, which is named for Carol’s husband, Dave. Read more
College World Series Avenue: The section of 13th Street between Cuming Street and Mike Fahey Street was renamed College World Series Avenue in 2011 as a permanent reminder that TD Ameritrade Park is the home of the CWS. Read more
Dave Rimington Street: Mayor Mike Fahey with football great and philanthropist Dave Rimington, an Omaha South grad, during the dedication of the 20th Street to 24th Street section of L Street as Dave Rimington Street in 2002. Rimington redefined the center position at Nebraska, winning two Outland Trophies and a Lombardi Award before launching a seven-year NFL career. Read more
Boyd Street: James E. Boyd was twice mayor of Omaha in the 1880s. The Irish immigrant became governor of Nebraska in 1890.
California Street: Gold seekers headed west for California landed near this street after crossing the Missouri River.
Cuming Street: Secretary of the Nebraska Territory and acting Gov. Thomas B. Cuming convened the first Nebraska Territorial Legislature in Omaha in 1854, making Omaha the capital.
Harney Street: At the outbreak of the Civil War, Gen. William S. Harney was commander of the Department of the West.
Kyle Wayne LeFlore Street: The block of 29th Street between Fowler Ave and Meredith Ave was renamed Kyle Wayne LeFlore Street in honor of Sgt. LeFlore on July 20, 2018. LeFlore was slain in Omaha while on holiday vacation from the military. Read more
Marlin Briscoe Way: Marlin Briscoe, the first black starting quarterback in the NFL and an Omaha South High School graduate, was honored with a street named in his honor. Read more
Military Avenue: This part of the original Overland Trail twisted through Omaha and Benson starting in 1857. It was used to move military supplies to Fort Kearny and by settlers heading to the Northwest. In 1994, part of Military Road near 82nd and Fort Streets was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Minne Lusa Boulevard: Minne Lusa is a Native American term meaning “clear water.” A Florence pumping station was on the street. An elementary school of the same name is located near Minne Lusa Boulevard today.
Paxton Boulevard: William A. Paxton, known as the “real founder of South Omaha,” organized the Union Stockyards Company. He co-founded Paxton & Gallagher Wholesale Grocery, became co-owner of the Paxton & Vierling Iron Works and served in the Nebraska legislature. The Paxton Hotel was named for him.
Poppleton Avenue: Andrew Jackson Poppleton, a member of the first territorial legislature, was involved in deciding the territorial capital’s location. The attorney successfully represented Standing Bear in the Ponca chief’s 1879 trial. Poppleton served three times as mayor of Omaha.
Saddle Creek Road: This one sounds like it could be a tall tale, right? Details are sparse, but a man was apparently heading west out of Omaha to make his fortune mining gold. He didn’t get very far before a saddle fell off his wagon and into a creek that then flowed in the area. Hence the name Saddle Creek.
Woolworth Avenue: Attorney James Woolworth helped develop South Omaha’s stockyards. He wrote and published “The History of Omaha” in 1857. The city was only three years old.
Fred Astaire Avenue: On May 11, 2019, the day after what would’ve been dancing and acting legend Fred Astaire’s 120th birthday, Omaha honored its native son with his own street. The Fred Astaire Avenue sign is visible on 10th Street at Martha Street, less than a block from the house where Astaire was born. The family moved from Omaha to New York City in 1905. Read more