People who love public infrastructure projects: I’ve got you covered. http://t.co/Lj2hYyGsXQ
— Erin Golden (@golden_erin) August 5, 2013
Check out the entire Capital Improvement Program 2014-2019 plan here.
About $6.4 million of state money will speed up existing plans to repair and maintain some Omaha-area roads, Gov. Dave Heineman and Mayor Jean Stothert announced Tuesday.
Stothert and Heineman’s joint appearance came as the Stothert administration works on its proposed 2014 budget and fields ongoing citizen complaints about local road conditions. The mayor said she would propose adding about $750,000 to next year’s road repair and maintenance budget.
Tuesday’s press conference also underscored Stothert’s efforts to work closer with a Republican governor and the Republican majority in the state’s unicameral legislature.
“I always had a good relationship with Mayor (Mike) Fahey,” Heineman told reporters. “It was a little bit more difficult with Mayor (Jim) Suttle, and Mayor Stothert has said she wants to have a good partnership. We’ve talked about that numerous times and you’re going to see us again more often.”
For now, the job of writing parking tickets, running parking garages and emptying coins from meters belongs to city employees.
But by September, at least some of those operations will likely be in the hands of a private company. The city has sent out a request for proposals from companies that would like to manage the 4,199 parking spaces in seven city garages and 483 spaces in five surface lots. Parking manager Ken Smith said the city hopes to have a company in place by September.
Companies can also offer bids for handling on-street parking enforcement, though Smith said he’s not sure if the city will move in that direction.
The good: Helped in part by Omaha’s strong economy, the overall burden of the $2 billion (and growing) project is classified as “medium.”
The bad: That’s probably not good enough to lobby for more time or assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Omaha officials have been watching as some of the other cities working on similar projects have tried to catch a break. And while the University of Cincinnati Economics Center researcher hired by the city didn’t think the problem here was dire, he did say he expects things to get worse.
The tree battle of Dundee continues.
Columnist Matthew Hansen has a look today at the latest in the neighborhood-versus-city tension brewing over trees being taken out along and around Underwood Avenue.
The city is removing the trees in preparation for a $2.5 million renovation of the Dundee business district, though as Hansen notes, officials have also said the trees have to go because of utility work. Residents didn’t seem to put up much of a fight in a series of meetings the city held to discuss the work. Now, however, they’re pushing back.
The eastern entrance to Benson’s main stretch of businesses is getting a face lift.
Mayor Jim Suttle, City Councilman Pete Festersen and a handful of neighborhood leaders met Monday to mark the start of construction near the intersection of North 58th Street and Northwest Radial Highway. The $560,000 project will include changes to the sometimes-dangerous intersection, new landscaping and a new sign and monument.
A similar project at the other end of Benson’s business district is scheduled to start next year. Traffic will be rerouted around the east end of Benson during construction, which is expected to wrap up in July.
Omaha’s new credit card-accepting parking meters have arrived.
The first 400 of the 1,000 new meters went up Tuesday around the Old Market and near the city and county offices a few blocks west. Another 600 are expected to arrive in mid-May and will replace the old, coin-only meters on streets between those two areas. In total, the project will cost $492,000.
The new, solar-powered meters will take coins or cards (with a minimum of a $1 charge for the card option) and offer the city the ability to get real-time information about which meters are in use or out of order. Ken Smith, the city’s parking manager, says that information will help guide future decisions about parking changes in the city.
So this is good news*. Omaha snow removal crews are “planning for the worst,” said Scott McIntyre, the city’s street maintenance engineer.
“This really has the potential to be a pretty significant snowfall,” McIntyre said of this week’s expected storm. “It’s going to be a difficult snow operation to stay on top of.”
The city will also declare a snow emergency late Thursday/Friday, meaning new parking regulations will take effect.
The good news: It’s not the worst pothole season we’ve seen in recent years. Mild temperatures and limited snowfall (so far, anyway) have meant fewer massive craters in Omaha’s roads.
City crews starting filling in the holes in December, when there were 10 work orders for potholes. The number jumped to 186 in January and was already at 151 by late last week.
The bad news: A few more snow-melt cycles might make the numbers jump even higher. But the city does have several ways to get in touch about a pothole that needs repaired.
Yes, the gearheads at The Hall have eagerly updated you on the Omaha Police Department’s new cruiser fleet.
Now we’re getting our first looks of the department’s Chevrolet Caprice PPV’s. Count me as a fan of the new light bar system.
The City Council already signed off on the acquisition of 40 Caprice cruisers and five Ford sport utility vehicles under a three-year leasing program that will cost about $670,000 annually. The city has the option to buy the cruisers at a cut rate once the leases expire. We’ll keep a close eye on the success of the leasing program as it moves forward.
The department has more video of the cars in action. Take a look after the jump.