Group hoping to tackle traffic safety in Omaha while remembering traffic death victims

An organization hopes to improve pedestrian safety in Omaha
Published: Nov. 20, 2022 at 9:51 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - If you drive on Dodge St. near UNO, you may notice a new, bright yellow sign on the pedestrian bridge that reads #SafeStreetsSaveLives.

It’s placed just a block away from where a pregnant woman was hit and killed while crossing the road in September.

“We’re trying to put a spotlight on our road traffic victims in Omaha,” says Matt Wayne with Mode Shift Omaha on Sunday.

Wayne and others gathered at the pedestrian bridge Sunday to share a message about safety on the roads.

It comes on the World Day of Remembrance for Traffic Road Victims.

The local organization also has a goal.

“The city adopted a Vision Zero program in 2017, and right now they follow it on a volunteer basis, we would like to see some of those policies implemented as a permanent part of our infrastructure to create safer streets,” Wayne says.

Wayne says this year, Omaha is at a seven-year high for pedestrian traffic deaths with 10.

The crashes impact family after family, like Dale and Dillon Shuman, who lost their daughter and sister Jerica in a pedestrian hit-and-run crash at 75th and Maple earlier this month.

“Sometimes I have to remind myself to breathe because it just doesn’t feel real,” Dale told 6 News.

The Vision Zero strategy is a goal to eliminate traffic deaths in Omaha, and around the country, too.

As part of the plan, in April, the city made changes to the Blackstone district following a series of serious and fatal pedestrian crashes.

“These changes are 100% about improving public safety, which is our number one responsibility,” Mayor Jean Stothert said at the announcement of the pedestrian safety pilot project in the area.

Sunday, Stohert signed a proclamation recognizing the World Day of Remembrance, which states the vision zero action plan will be finished next year.

Matt Wayne hopes to see that happen.

“Holding the city accountable for their Vision Zero program is important,” he says. “It’s about setting policy for safety over speed because speed is the leading indicator of if someone gets severely injured or killed in a crash.”