Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to thereader.com and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

While the future of the Market-to-Midtown Bikeway is still up in the air, the Omaha City Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday Sept. 20 reaffirming their support for the protected bike lane.

The resolution urges city officials to collaborate with Bike Walk Nebraska to study extending the project or potential new locations. Introduced last week, the resolution was amended to remove language asking the Omaha Streetcar Authority (OSA) to study new locations. 

The pilot project currently goes down Harney Street from 10th Street to Turner Boulevard, which overlaps with the recommended streetcar route the OSA released last week. Some advocates have argued the recommended route would lead to safety issues not just along the Market-to-Midtown lane, but in other high-traffic bike routes. OSA President Jay Noddle said the authority recognized the importance of multimodal protection, and they don’t want the streetcar to replace the bike lane.

Julie Harris, executive director of Bike Walk Nebraska, supported the resolution, but she said one bike lane in the urban core isn’t enough. She also said Harney Street was the best location for the protected bike lane.

“We believe that the bike lane and the streetcar can coexist on Harney,” Harris said. “We believe there is space, and I’m not sure that there is space on a different corridor in the urban core.”

The City Council also delayed voting on a sale of city property for use as a music education and performance facility in North Omaha. Dana Murray and North Omaha Music and Arts (NOMA) plan to renovate the former North Omaha Jazz and Cultural Arts Museum at 2506 and 2510 North 24th Street.

Murray said the facility will benefit the youth in the community, as well as spur economic development in North Omaha.

“We need to build destinations to invite the rest of Omaha down, and what we have to sell is our culture, so that it’s not always sold and profited on by other communities,” Murray said

Councilmember Juanita Johnson said she supports the project, but she was concerned with the lack of transparency on the process. Murray was initially expected to raise $415,000 for the purchase through philanthropic funds, but Mayor Jean Stothert recommended instead allocating funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, deputy city attorney Bernard in den Bosch said.

Kelly Johnson-Dorsey from the city planning department said there was an error with the paperwork, so the City Council voted to lay it over. Several proponents from North Omaha spoke in support of Murray and NOMA.

Juliana Taber from Arts for All said even though participation in arts programs is associated with better outcomes for youth, they are being cut from schools. She said NOMA will provide those opportunities.

Musician David Hawkins said Murray helped create the environment for him to meet his potential, and NOMA’s new facility will reach more youth in the community.

“Allowing NOMA to establish its home here brings all of the transformative things that I’ve been able and fortunate enough to benefit from within reach,” Hawkins said.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners also met Tuesday, approving an agreement with SWORD Health for a virtual physical therapy program for county employees.


Subscribe to The Reader Newsletter

Our awesome email newsletter briefing tells you everything you need to know about what’s going on in Omaha. Delivered to your inbox every day at 11:00am.

Become a Supporting Member

Subscribe to thereader.com and become a supporting member to keep locally owned news alive. We need to pay writers, so you can read even more. We won’t waste your time, our news will focus, as it always has, on the stories other media miss and a cultural community — from arts to foods to local independent business — that defines us. Please support your locally-owned news media by becoming a member today.

Leave a comment