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Mayor Stothert shifting gears on bike lane, streetcar coexistence


The future of downtown Omaha’s protected bike lane is in limbo Wednesday night.City officials said they might be switching gears, possibly making a future streetcar the priority. The 18-month pilot project on the Market to Midtown Bikeway wraps up at the end of September.This bike lane uses Harney Street from Turner Boulevard to 10th Street — the same stretch of road approved for the future streetcar.The street car, not scheduled to be finished until 2026, would head east on Harney Street.Mayor Jean Stothert said it’s a great spot for multi-modal transportation, with commercial and residential locations along the street. “We are absolutely, seriously committed to having bike lanes in the urban core,” she told KETV on Wednesday. “We need to make sure we get them on the right streets and analyze the data we get from our pilot.”But she also said the streetcar and the bike lane likely wouldn’t mix well together, citing fatal incidents in Seattle, which tried to use both on the same street.This week, the Omaha city council passed a resolution asking the mayor’s office and public works to do an evaluation. “We have to analyze the data we have, but we know it’s a huge challenge to put a bikeway in the same lane as a streetcar,” she said. “Could they coexist? It would be a challenge.”She also said the resolution passed Tuesday to require an evaluation has no binding legal power. She’ll decide tomorrow on whether to veto the resolution.

The future of downtown Omaha’s protected bike lane is in limbo Wednesday night.

City officials said they might be switching gears, possibly making a future streetcar the priority.

The 18-month pilot project on the Market to Midtown Bikeway wraps up at the end of September.

This bike lane uses Harney Street from Turner Boulevard to 10th Street — the same stretch of road approved for the future streetcar.

streetcar route

Omaha Streetcar Authority

Omaha streetcar route.

The street car, not scheduled to be finished until 2026, would head east on Harney Street.

Mayor Jean Stothert said it’s a great spot for multi-modal transportation, with commercial and residential locations along the street.

“We are absolutely, seriously committed to having bike lanes in the urban core,” she told KETV on Wednesday. “We need to make sure we get them on the right streets and analyze the data we get from our pilot.”

But she also said the streetcar and the bike lane likely wouldn’t mix well together, citing fatal incidents in Seattle, which tried to use both on the same street.

This week, the Omaha city council passed a resolution asking the mayor’s office and public works to do an evaluation.

“We have to analyze the data we have, but we know it’s a huge challenge to put a bikeway in the same lane as a streetcar,” she said. “Could they coexist? It would be a challenge.”

She also said the resolution passed Tuesday to require an evaluation has no binding legal power. She’ll decide tomorrow on whether to veto the resolution.



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