City of Omaha combing through public input on Farnam Two-Way All-Day project

Residents can expect to see changes in the area by 2023.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Last month, the City of Omaha presented findings from a study on the stretch of Farnam street from 46th to Dodge.

For four hours every day, the road becomes one-way.

“Between four and six and seven to nine, it’s a little iffy around here, you’re always expecting to hear a crash,” says Anne Atienne, who has lived on the corner of 51st and Farnam for 30 years.

“The main thing is wrecks, I mean, there have been so many wrecks, not just at our street but at every corner,” says Linda Smith, who has lived in her Dundee home near Farnam for 40 years.

The study showed that the stretch of road, specifically 50th and Farnam, has a crash rate that’s twice as high as the city-wide rate.

Also presented at the meeting were several changes that could be made at the intersections of 50th and 52nd to make it safer for drivers and those who live in the area. The changes include adding left-turn lanes, left and right turn lanes, or roundabouts.

“The third option was the roundabouts which I think would be conducive for the neighborhood,” says Atienne’s husband, Larry. “All the accidents and deaths have been a result of red lights so I think the roundabouts eliminate that issue.”

Until Monday, the city was collecting input from the public, their thoughts, ideas, and which proposal they feel is the best fit for the area.

“Without a doubt, the leading feedback we’re hearing is whatever you do, you need to focus on safety, so that’s good, that’s always our number one priority as well, and that does give us some direction,” says City of Omaha traffic engineer Todd Pfitzer on Thursday.

“I think the folks that live right on the two intersections that are going to be impacted with the potential improvements were maybe less enthusiastic about that, but, the general public overall was were happy something’s finally going to be done, we’re excited to see what that looks like,” Pfitzer adds.

“Three words: it’s about time,” Smith says. “How many years I’ve been here and how many years they’ve said they’re going to do something, and the last time I read something, they said that they had the money. Well if they have the money, why aren’t they doing it?”

“I was very glad, at least to sit down and bring it to the forefront, have a discussion and see what we can do about it,” Ann says.

So what comes next?

“We’ll create a matrix and say here are the top five alternatives we’ve received from the public,” Pfitzer says. “We’ll break that down, look at the percentage of folks that wanted what, what would those costs be, what would the safety benefits be, what would the performance of function be.”

“[Then] we’ll meet with the elected officials that represent that area, we’ll advise the mayor’s office and public works director and try to make a decision.”

Last month’s meeting estimated that residents and drivers could potentially expect changes to begin by next year.

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