City primaries are coming up in both Lincoln and Omaha, and today, Omaha’s mayoral race brought cycling infrastructure to the front and center. During last night’s candidate forum, two candidates — Dave Nabity and Dan Welch — criticized incumbent mayor Jim Suttle for hiring a bike czar and supporting bike infrastructure. Suttle defended his decisions, citing his support of cycling as a part of transportation infrastructure. You can read the full story from the Omaha World-Herald here.
From the comments on Facebook and Twitter today, it appears Omaha cyclists are none too happy about claims that they’re not using the bike lanes. And if informal counts and observations are any indication, there are far more cyclists on the road than some people are seeing. Why is that? What can we do to be more visible?
In the seven years I’ve been commuting in Lincoln, I have plenty of anecdotal evidence from my daily commute that there are more people traveling by bicycle. When I started working at the State Office Building in December of 2006, for example, there were two bike racks, and they were only full on a really nice day. By the time I left in August of 2012, there were five racks, and they were all in use on all but the nastiest winter days. Sometimes, they were so full that I had to find a place to lock up across the street.
On the Lincoln City Council ballot, we have the voting records of both Gene Carroll and Leirion Gaylor-Baird to rely on as indicators of their support of cycling infrastructure: both approved of the Downtown Master Plan including the N Street protected bikeway, Carroll as an incumbent on the City Council, and Gaylor-Baird as a member of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Commission.
Your vote matters, especially in city elections. The primary election is April 9th, so you still have time to contact the remaining candidates and ask them how they feel about cycling in Lincoln.
Eugene “Gene” Carroll: http://www.genecarroll.com/
Roy Christensen: http://www.royforlincoln.com/
Norman Dority: No website found
Trent Fellers: http://trentfellers.com/
Leirion Gaylor-Baird: http://www.leirionforlincoln.com/
Meg Mikolajczyk: http://megforcouncil.com/
Mark Whitehead: http://whiteheadforcitycouncil.com/