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Curb bump-out to help Omaha students walking to school confusing drivers

(AP)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Changes are being made to 10th and Pine streets, where students in southeast Omaha will walk to and from a new school. But some neighbors complain that it’s created a snarl for drivers in their neighborhood.

Vince Emmanuel, a retired city street maintenance supervisor opposes the bump-out, says it will cause drivers to face confusion head-on.

“They just push this care over onto the oncoming traffic lane when they did this,” he said.

Omaha City Engineer Todd Pfitzer said a new school up the street created the need for removing a portion of the lane and moving it to the curb.

“It’s going to increase the amount of pedestrians there with the school going in, so it shortens their walking distance.,” he said. “It gives them a safe corner to wait on and slows down the traffic a little bit.”

But the “school up the street” is why some neighbors oppose the change.

The school will have hundreds of students, and that means buses. So neighbors are concerned about a narrower Pine Street when they come and go. Emmanuel said drivers would get frustrated.

“I’m sitting over the center of the street right now,” he said. How can a 48-passenger bus make this turn with me sitting next to this curb?”

Pat Venditte, a neighborhood leader, said drivers meeting at the intersection near the school have to be patient. A pedestrian near the bump-out isn’t bummed out.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Venditte said.

But Emmanuel said the bump-out designed for pedestrian safety will make the intersection hazardous for drivers, who will be forced to face off.

“I want ... to remove this curb and move it back to where it was so the buses can get by and traffic can get by,” he said.

But opponents of the bump-out will have no curb appeal.

“It will not come out,” Pfitzer said.

Omaha Public Schools shared a statement with 6 News:

A study recommends streets around the school be restricted to one-way traffic for student drop-offs and pickups. That’s one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon when drivers shouldn’t face head-to-head traffic. But some neighbors still oppose the bump out and want better communication about changes.

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