Went to Barnes&Noble at Oak View a few weeks ago and perused the magazines looking for something to broaden my horizons. Bought and read Good, Issue 018, Winter 2010, http://www.good.is/issues/issue-018.
The theme of issue 018 is "Slow Down". It contains a good cross section of thinking in, and about, the slow movement, http://www.slowmovement.com/.
One thing I've noticed: the more I commute by bike, the slower and more relaxed I drive a car. I average about 30 mph city driving (mileage/engine time) and about 12 mph commuting by bike. Those who average 20 mph biking are not commuting, they are racing. If you want to commute by bike, figure about three times the travel time of a car for a comfortable, non hurried commute.
One of the benefits of biking not often mentioned is the necessity to slow down. With most people's lives too full of stuff, speeding by car to somewhere because they didn't plan enough time to get there, a slower lifestyle connected through commuting is healthy for the mind and the body.
The second article in Good, Pushing the Limits, discusses Portland, Oregon's assault on urban sprawl, what it has produced, what is at stake. Next to improving Omaha's biking infrastructure and changing the car-centric level of service for transportation, a sustainable urban design is key.
Urban Form and Transportation(pdf) is Omaha by Design's draft proposal for new guidelines. Active transportation (biking and walking) starts on page 24. One problem I see is that goals for moving cars more efficiently (car-centric level of service) are at odds with active transport. Car transportation (Leavenworth for example) has to be slowed down (lane diets) and made more expensive (gas prices) to make active transportation more attractive and increase participation.
Comments are still being taken on the proposal, click contacts on http://www.environmentomaha.com/. Please read at least the Active Transport section of Urban Form and Transportation, if not the entire document, and give suggestions and encouragement.