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Future of protected bike lane on Harney Street is uncertain but a city council vote continues the conversation

Posted at 8:16 PM, Sep 20, 2022

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The protected bike lane on Harney is a pilot program that is reaching its end date, Tuesday City Council worked towards what a protected bike lane in the future would look like.

Tuesday's approval vote passes the responsibility that was previously charted for the Streetcar Authority to the Mayor's office and the Public Works Department to find a way for a protected bike land to co-exist with the possible streetcar.

City Council members said they hope a bike lane will be established somewhere, but that might mean moving it from Harney Street. But protected bike lane advocates think Harney Street is the only way.

"The amendment today, just reiterates to the public that bikes are important, the bike trail is important in the urban core and throughout the city and we want to see continued development of bike trails in Omaha," said Don Rowe, Omaha City Council District 5.

"I don't see any real other option other than Harney, to be quite honest with you, we have streets that are state highways. We have streets that don't cross over the top of the interstate. We have streets that don't have enough space," Julie Harris, the executive director of Bike Walk Nebraska, said.

The vote also urges the Mayor and the Public Works Department to evaluate an extension of the bike lane pilot program as streetcar plans continue to develop.

But it is important to note that this vote does not ensure a permanent bike lane in Omaha, but it continues this ongoing conversation we've seen for years.

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