City of Omaha retiming lights on Dodge Street to reduce travel time, improve safety

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Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 10:00 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Monday, the City of Omaha’s Public Works Department announced changes to the Dodge Street corridor that will help improve efficiency.

According to a release from the public works department, the traffic engineering division ‘strategically’ changed the signal timings at 37 intersections along Dodge, Harney, and Farnam streets, between 67th and 33rd streets.

Avery Schnitker works at the Dundee Double Shot coffee shop just off 50th and Dodge and has for the last eight years. She commutes on Dodge.

“Pretty much every day, I’ll go from 50th and Dodge all the way to 132nd so, pretty much every evening.”

Driving on the road can be stressful, dangerous, and time-consuming.

“A lot of people are trying to win a race instead of just get home safely,” she says.

But now, the city says safety and travel times on Dodge will be improved because of the change. The city estimates that by re-timing intersection lights, travel times during peak traffic hours could be reduced up to 20%.

“I would not say I’ve not noticed any improvements [yet], but that definitely is a good idea in theory,” Schnitker adds.

Adjustments were also made to traffic lights during non-peak hours, to help make signals ‘more responsive to side-street traffic.’

The city’s release doesn’t indicate when the changes first began but says the move will also improve pedestrian safety.

Re-programmed pedestrian crossing lights at 72 different crosswalks allow those on foot to begin crossing the road before cars that are turning have the green light. The city says this allows pedestrians ‘to establish a more visible presence in the intersection.’

The release states that ‘cycle lengths at Dodge Street signals were lowered during 18 hours of a typical weekday, resulting in lower overall delays for pedestrians as well as drivers.’

And when it comes to crashes, the city says the signal adjustments are estimated to reduce over 50 crashes, something Schnitker says is definitely needed.

“The intersection at 50th and Dodge, in particular, I see a crashes at least maybe once a week or every two weeks, we watch it all the time.”

The changes, the city estimates, are expected to reduce 427 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, save Omaha drivers more than 48,000 gallons of gas, and save drivers 30,300 hours of travel time.