Omaha neighbors want a traffic do-over study

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Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 11:12 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For many of us, life is returning to normal after COVID reduced our daily routines.

That’s why some people living in a northwest Omaha neighborhood want the city to take another look at traffic.

The COVID slow down is over in the eyes of North Oaks Blvd homeowners.

“This is way typical,” said a neighbor.

Two years ago, neighbors petitioned the city for speed bumps or stop signs. But a traffic study in 2020 found North Oaks didn’t warrant traffic calming methods with less than a thousand vehicles a day.

“Because when they did it the first time it was during COVID and there was no traffic. It’s way back to the way it was yes,” said petition leader Jill Fleming.

So, Jill Fleming and neighbors are asking the city for a do-over.

Residents on both sides say traffic calming devices should get a second look along North Oaks. That’s because they say this is not your typical residential street.

It’s a boulevard with islands in the middle and two lanes on each side.

Bob Raasch believes COVID reduced traffic but another disease sped it up, the emerald ash borer.

“Most of the large trees were taken out, so visibility is more wide open and because of that people tend to drive a little faster,” said Raasch.

Omaha’s traffic engineer says for the most part traffic counts have returned to pre-COVID levels and some places might have been more affected than others.

“We had a petition for speed bumps would you sign again?” “Yeah.”

The city will perform another study on North Oaks Blvd with no petition required this time. But the traffic count must increase by 58% compared to the numbers during COVID.

Neighbors are confident a second study will be different.

“More traffic and faster traffic. I don’t know can you request a speed trap. Call the cops and come out with a radar gun?” said Bill LaChapelle.

COVID restrictions are almost gone so life is getting back in gear.

But along North Oaks Blvd homeowners want drivers to keep it within limits and they’re grateful for another traffic study since the pandemic has slowed down.

Omaha’s traffic engineer says sensors will be installed for a week on the boulevard probably before school lets out for the summer. The data collected will have to be analyzed.

So it may be several weeks before neighbors get an answer from the city if speed humps or other measures are warranted.

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