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'You need to slow down': Pedestrian-safety traffic changes coming to Farnam Street in Blackstone District

New safety measures to come to a popular Omaha hangout spot
Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 19:55:43-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — As the Blackstone District continues to be a popular hangout spot for many in Omaha, the city is trying to make vehicles on Farnam Street go slower, and pedestrians safer.

Since 2015, 14 crashes involving pedestrians have taken place on that four-block stretch in midtown. One woman died from her injuries last year.

By May, the city plans to make traffic one lane — both ways — with the middle lane being converted to a turn lane. Lane sizes will also be slightly slimmer.

“So we’re trying to portray to the car driver as they’re driving through this area, is there is something happening here? You need to slow down. There’s pedestrian activity,” said City Engineer Todd Pfitzer.

According to the plans, posts known as bollards are going to be added several feet away from the sidewalk. That’s going to give pedestrians a better view of traffic and a chance to cross the street faster.

“Where people can stop, it's a safe zone, so to speak. They can go halfway across the street, look the other way and continue when it’s safe to go that direction,” said Pfitzer.

Mayor Jean Stothert hopes the changes better alert the drivers to traffic and in turn give clues to pedestrians to be careful.

“All of these things are going to make the users more aware and it’s going to be different for them and it’s going to be safer for them,” said Stothert.

It's likely a streetcar will eventually go down Farnam and the city will redo the street. Pfitzer hopes to incorporate this pilot project when they eventually make major changes to Farnam.

“We don’t want to wait for it. We want to put something in place today that makes it safer,” said Pfitzer.

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