Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Farnam Street Restrictions To Get Worse

For those of you Omaha bicycle commuters who work or live downtown, you may have noticed that Farnam Street, a one-way street going west out of downtown, has been restricted to two lanes from Park Avenue to 33rd Street. Beginning Tuesday, March 17, 2009, Farnam will be restricted to one lane and will remain that way until September.

There aren't many corridors for passing between Omaha's downtown and midtown. Interstate 480 effectively separates downtown from midtown, and crossing over or under it on one of the few corridors is the only way to pass between the areas in this part of town.

Here's an inventory of the streets suitable for bike commuter traffic in the downtown area that pass between downtown and midtown:

  • Harney Street
  • Leavenworth Street
  • Farnam Street
  • St. Mary's Avenue

Certainly one could take more northerly or southerly routes, such as Cuming Street and Burt Street on the north, and Woolworth Avenue or even Vinton Street on the south. A cyclist could also utilize the sidewalks on these streets, but they aren't intended for both cycle and pedestrian traffic. Traffic on Dodge Street is not recommended.

Farnam Street is a good choice for bike traffic due to its relatively gentler grades and wide lanes going out of downtown. There are four traffic lanes, plus parking lanes on both sides. Farnam also connects with Turner Boulevard at a point just one block north of the current start of the Turner Boulevard Trail at Harney Street, which, in turn, connects with the Field Club Trail further south and west.

With the lane restrictions in place through the summer and the resulting shift in auto traffic to other corridors, caution and vigilance are advised as you cycle in to or out of downtown.

Image credit: WOWT

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