Omaha's 13th Street Walkability Study

Omaha, Nebraska’s 13th Street Corridor is a gateway to the Little Bohemia and Little Italy neighborhoods. It connects numerous city landmarks, downtown businesses, and residents. At present, 13th Street is quite autocentric. Existing constraints along the corridor are both physical and policy-based.

The corridor is a truck route and primary entrance to downtown. Our walkability study was born from a desire to connect these areas with a common vision and open the corridor to all modes of travel, as prescribed by the Omaha Complete Streets Policy. Olsson was the perfect consultant for the job.

Our multifaceted approach to the study combined engineering analysis, transportation planning, and a robust public outreach effort.

We began by collecting data that identified traffic demands, pedestrian space conditions, existing crash patterns, and more. This review informed discussions with stakeholders and helped guide alternative development.

A central focus of the study was public engagement. In addition to general outreach, we engaged specific stakeholders, like neighborhood residents and park visitors. We wanted to hear from people who used the corridor daily and help them understand the purpose of plan and the impacts of future changes.

In the final stages of the study, we designed a series of potential cross-sections, testing them against technical feasibility and layering in multimodal treatments to further enhance the attractiveness and comfort of the corridor for all modes of travel. The final plan is a combination of practical and feasible solutions tailored to Omaha residents and landmarks. It honors the corridor vision, solves many of the transportation challenges facing the area, and serves as a model for future projects of this nature.

Chris Rolling
Group Leader
Sketch of 13th Street in Downtown Omaha.
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