Omaha to Lose its Only Protected Bike Lane

With an 18-month pilot program coming to an end, local officials plan to dismantle the city’s only protected bike lane.

Read Time: 2 minutes

October 2, 2022, 9:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Aerial view of downtown Omaha, Nebraska with lake in foreground

Aspects and Angles / Omaha, Nebraska

Editor's Note: After receiving a donation of $600,000 from the Sherwood Foundation on September 30, the bikeway will remain in place for roughly three years.

Omaha bike advocates are rallying to protest the removal of the city’s only protected bike lane, which the city plans to eliminate after the end of its pilot program despite support for the project from the City Council. As Jessica Wade reports for the Omaha World Herald, the protests were planned after Mayor Jean Stothert announced the decision not to extend the program.

“The city first opened the protected bike lane, known as the Market to Midtown Bikeway, in July 2021. The 2-mile, two-way lane is protected by bollards and set between the curb and parallel parking spaces,” Wade explains. An article by Arjav Rawal and Chris Bowling in The Reader points out that “In August, Bike Walk Nebraska released an evaluation of the bikeway that showed a 69% increase in the usage of bike share programs.”

Bike Walk Nebraska, an organization that lobbied for the bike lane, said it would cut ties with Metro Smart Cities, the advisory board co-chaired by Mayor Stothert that was convened to pilot innovative transit projects in the city.

According to the mayor, the city will evaluate the results of the project to inform future decisions about new bike infrastructure. The mayor also noted that the current Harney Street bike lane raises concerns because of a planned streetcar route that would run alongside the bike lane. Notably, according to the Reader article, “Jay Noddle, the president of the Omaha Streetcar Authority, said he didn’t want the streetcar to replace the Bikeway.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 in Omaha World-Herald


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