Omaha group working to improve road safety for pedestrians, cyclists

A group in Omaha is working to make the city's roadways safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Published: Nov. 2, 2023 at 5:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The City of Omaha is working on a comprehensive action plan to reduce traffic deaths.

Thursday night, a local nonprofit called Mode Shift Omaha held its quarterly “Walk with Us” event to raise awareness about dangerous intersections. This time around they walked near 30th and Ames Avenue, close to the North Omaha Transit Center, businesses, and a couple of schools.

“We like to highlight areas that need improvement that are high-traffic areas for pedestrians and bikers,” said Matt Wayne with Mode Shift Omaha.

Crash data compiled by the city shows the area to be potentially dangerous for the community.

“Because of the high pedestrian traffic with have the kids from school crossing 30th and Ames all the time using the grocery store, Big Jims, and McDonald’s,” said Wayne. “We just want to make sure everything is clearly marked so people can move safely across the street.”

In Omaha, there are roads where data shows it’s just more dangerous, more fatal or serious injury crashes, and more pedestrian and biker fatalities or injuries.

The city calls them “High Injury Networks.”

According to the city’s Vision Zero presentation in August, Ames Ave is marked as one of those roads that is considered a “High Injury Network.”

Over the past decade, there have been more than 10 serious injuries just along a 10-block strip of Ames Avenue, according to data presented by the city.

City engineer Austin Rowser told 6 News the area where Mode Shift is walking is already a target in the city’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

“We’re very glad to be ahead of the game with programming already proactively in progress for this corridor,” said Rowser. He added they recently won a grant from the Department of Transportation for $2 million to study ways to make that particular corridor safer.

The Vision Zero Action Plan maps 117 priority projects split into 5 priority levels; Ames Avenue is on the list.

Some improvements Mode Shift Omaha would like to see to the area include: “We’d like to see the sidewalks widen, the street markings be done better, and also maybe a lead time for pedestrians and the corner so they have a chance to get out into the street before cars start moving,” said Wayne.

The Omaha City Council will review the Vision Zero Action Plan in the coming weeks, set for Nov. 14.