Omaha Insurance capital Transit Map vs Hartford CT Insurance capital battle discussion starter...No light rail/commuter rail on radar for O-Town...

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Omaha Insurance capital Transit Map vs Hartford CT Insurance capital battle discussion starter...No light rail/commuter rail on radar for O-Town...
Posted by divebardave on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:04 AM

Omaha has a number of satilite communities that feed into it but no express bus service and from the looks of it a very spartan city bus system-http://www.ometro.com/index.php/bus-system/system-map/ this is spite of being the Insurance Capital of the Midwest/World and being larger then Hartford CT which is/was the Insurance Capital of the world. Hartford CT has a larger system with 2 real bus rapid transit lines on dedicated right of ways and a commuter train...but then again Hartford is part of the Northeast Corridor. However Omaha has two large train stations so I imagine at one time there was a lot of local/intercity passenger trains and a streetcar/Interurban system at one time, Locals here say its not needed as the city is not dence enough, However Boys Town was at the edge of the built up area and now its part of the suberban Grid.-Note would post map of Hartford to compare side by side but hotel computer wont let me.

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:32 AM
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Posted by MikeF90 on Saturday, January 4, 2020 3:05 PM

@DBD, hate to break it to you but Insurance is not a major growth industry employee-wise. My large insurance companies are headquartered in Texas and Illinois. They use these thangs called computers and telephones to serve their customers around the country.

Other industries will find transportation costs daunting, try pricing an airline flight to Omaha or even Kansas City. Fortunately, UPRR's management has been keeping their trackage quite underutilized for the benefit of the CZ.

Omaha may be a good place to grow up, but I'll bet young folks rocket out of there when possible.

I know, I know. Sorry.

Links to my Google Maps ---> Sunset Route overview, SoCal metro, Yuma sub, Gila sub, SR east of Tucson, BNSF Northern Transcon and Southern Transcon

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:03 PM

There's a lot more to Omaha than Mutual of Omaha. There are the headquarters of Berkshire Hathaway, the Union Pacific, and Gallup, to name a few. The city has grown from 318,000 in 1980 to 468,000 in 2018. And the CSA is 970,000 as of 2017. 

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:21 PM

This is the last I found- https://www.omaha.com/news/local/report-pegs-cost-of-omaha-streetcar-at-million-stothert-wants/article_ddce7e9b-c635-5fc2-b083-18b618d52dbf.html   Seems Omaha has about the same population of Columbus OH or Indy IN with about 500,000 people city and 1.1 million metro

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:27 PM

None of the outlying towns have any commuter bus connection to the downtown Omaha..its drive or die out here. As far as the rail network there is a blanket of railroads around here so a piece of lumber can get across town but you cant.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, January 4, 2020 6:23 PM

Lincoln is state capital and home of the U of Nebraska.  It's not far from Omaha.  Does it have good bus service to Omaha? 

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, January 4, 2020 10:39 PM

And is highway congestion any kind of a problem?  Highway congestion is what has driven most improvements in public transportation in North America, both USA and Canada.

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, January 5, 2020 12:44 AM

divebardave
...but then again Hartford is part of the Northeast Corridor.

Not really.  It is considerably north of the Corridor and is reached by branching off at New Haven on the recently-improved Springfield line.

One of the more promising plans for 'second spine' true HSR for the NEC explicitly involves going through Hartford to finally give it "NEC-quality" high-speed regular access.  (Although I still think the Orient Point Bridge is a grander alternative...)

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 5, 2020 10:08 PM

Can somebody answer the question as to Omaha (and Council Bluffs) traffic congestion?  Compared to Hartford?

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, January 5, 2020 10:19 PM

daveklepper
Can somebody answer the question as to Omaha (and Council Bluffs) traffic congestion?  Compared to Hartford?

 

I can't comment on Hartford.  I do know Omaha's traffic congestion is not bad compared to other cities.

Omaha Metro runs a bus service on main routes inside the city.  They do not connect with many outlying areas.  It crosses the river into Council Bluffs.  I don't know about the daily ridership, but I'm sure it is not anywhere near what some eastern cities would have.

The move to build a transit system in Omaha is not being driven by traffic congestion.  It is a result of the city lobbying for more tech firms.  Often, the tech firms want a transit system, whether it is needed or not.

 

charlie hebdo
Lincoln is state capital and home of the U of Nebraska.  It's not far from Omaha.  Does it have good bus service to Omaha? 

 

Megabus and several other bus lines offer service.  I don't know how much they are used.

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Posted by divebardave on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 3:14 PM

ran into a O-Town City Councilman at coffee shop. "Omaha is flat and unlike older east coast citys we can just keep building on flat land further and further west. We do not have a shortage of parking and we have good roads and bypasses."  East Coast citys on the Northeast Corriodor are hemmed in by water/hills/railroad yards industrial wastelands.     Boys Town is the baromiter as in the 1960s that was the country and now it is well in the city line. In the link you can see where Boys Town is in the W Center of the map surrounded by culdesacs housing devlopment and golf courses. It is 17 miles from US6/NE31 which is the edge of the built up area to downtown Omaha. Est Drive time is 26 min. From Oak Brook to Downtown Chicago Drive Time is about 30-45 min on a sunday and distance is also about 19 miles.

https://goo.gl/maps/uJPhosmyEwC1Nm6Y8

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 10:08 AM

There is the explanairion, and thanks for posting what you learned from your coffee-shoip meetubg.  Omaha may end-up wanting a light-rail or commoter-rail line as a showpiece, but clearly the traffic congestion that spurred useful light rail development (including Jerusalem, by the way) isn't a problem in Omaha.  And St. Louis Streetcar certainly gives a cautionary tale on providing rail service when a real demand doesn't exist.

Of course installoing any urban rail system and not running it during morning commuter hours is simply nutty in my opnion.  Mainly for tourists?  So are today's San Francisco cable-car operations.  But commuters also do use them with their system-wide monthly passes.

St. Louis also has MAX Light Rail, which is successful.

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Posted by divebardave on Thursday, January 9, 2020 3:11 PM

Talked to Chamber here-- some O-Town companies in the  are running there own van pool service to bring in there own workers. Insurnce and Food Proceessing are doing this for mid-low leval employees.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Thursday, January 9, 2020 8:10 PM

Sounds like the councilman is on a different track from the CC guy and big local companies. 

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Posted by York1 on Thursday, January 9, 2020 9:52 PM

The Chamber has the belief that Omaha could have attracted Amazon and Google headquarters if only it had a light rail system.

There are those who push the idea that a light rail system would pay for itself.  Omahans are smart enough to know that's a dream, and they are unwilling to pay increased taxes to build an unneeded system.

There is not a major traffic problem in Omaha, and there has been no large public push for increased transit.

The companies I know of that run vans do it mainly to get employees to and from classes in Lincoln, 45 minutes away.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Friday, January 10, 2020 12:52 PM

I'm a native of the Chicago area, but I spent 15 years living and working in Omaha.  The "light rail" idea isn't a new one, and it repeatedly came up when I was there.  Obviously, like a bad case of teenage acne, it still hasn't gone away.

I fully agree with the earlier posts questioning whether LRT would serve any real purpose in a place like Omaha.  I lived in the Millard area around 108th Street (downtown is roughly between 10th and 14th Street).  The proposed light rail routing would have been about 10 minutes from my house.  If it had been built and I used it, it would have taken 10 minutes to the station, probably at least another 10 minutes from the parking lot to train departure, at least 15 minutes to get downtown, and another 10 minutes to get from the downtown station (which would probably have been near the Amtrak station) to my workplace - a total of about 45 minutes or more door to door.  I could reliably get from my home to my downtown workplace in 25-30 minutes by car in rush hour (without the long walk through city streets to/from the LRT station).  Needless to say, I wouldn't be using the LRT.

With respect to expansion of the Omaha metro area west to and beyond Boys Town (144th Street), That certainly happened (and is continuing to happen as the built up area spreads west to Elkhorn).  But the expressway system to that area has also been greatly improved, particularly with the conversion of Dodge Street into a limited access expressway west of I-680.  Again, not a market for LRT.

There's a broader issue at play here as well.  Public transit works best when the travel patterns resemble a funnel, with the final city destinations near the neck.  But in Omaha, as in many other places these days, the downtown area isn't the center of business activity in the metro area - it's merely one of several centers.  The rest are scattered throughout the metro area, and wouldn't be a market for a LRT to downtown. 

By the way, the Omaha bus system was lightly used when I was there.  When you see buses running less than half full during rush hours on streets that used to be major transit corridors, it doesn't bode well for a rail transit system.  Chicago it ain't.   

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Posted by York1 on Friday, January 10, 2020 12:59 PM

Falcon48
But in Omaha, as in many other places these days, the downtown area isn't the center of business activity in the metro area - it's scattered throughout the metro area, and wouldn't be a market for a LRT to downtown. 

 

That's a great point.  Especially since ConAgra is now in Chicago.

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Posted by Falcon48 on Friday, January 10, 2020 4:39 PM

divebardave

ran into a O-Town City Councilman at coffee shop. "Omaha is flat and unlike older east coast citys we can just keep building on flat land further and further west. We do not have a shortage of parking and we have good roads and bypasses."  East Coast citys on the Northeast Corriodor are hemmed in by water/hills/railroad yards industrial wastelands.     Boys Town is the baromiter as in the 1960s that was the country and now it is well in the city line. In the link you can see where Boys Town is in the W Center of the map surrounded by culdesacs housing devlopment and golf courses. It is 17 miles from US6/NE31 which is the edge of the built up area to downtown Omaha. Est Drive time is 26 min. From Oak Brook to Downtown Chicago Drive Time is about 30-45 min on a sunday and distance is also about 19 miles.

https://goo.gl/maps/uJPhosmyEwC1Nm6Y8

 

I agree with everything the good councilman said except for the statement that Omaha is "flat".  Maybe it's flat compared to Denver, but it's downright (and surprisingly) hilly compared to a place like Chicago.  Some of the hills are pretty severe.  In fact, the original UP main line west of Omaha wasn't built straight west, primarily because of the difficult geography.  Rather, it was built on a circuitous route (essentially two sides of a triangle) following watercourses south from Omaha and then northwest to what's now Millard (the "Oxbow" line), where it joined UP's existing alignment to the west.  It wasn't until the 20th Century that UP built directly west from Omaha (the Lane Cutoff), which is now UP's main line. 

Not really relevant to the LRT discussion, but of possible interest to those who like to wallow in such things (like me).

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Posted by divebardave on Friday, January 10, 2020 5:02 PM

Most major cities that I have lived/vistied had a huge underclass of working poor/black/hispanic who could not afford a car and even if they did the expensice would hurt what little income they had to feed there families. How is that in Omaha?

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Posted by Falcon48 on Friday, January 10, 2020 5:09 PM

divebardave

Most major cities that I have lived/vistied had a huge underclass of working poor/black/hispanic who could not afford a car and even if they did the expensice would hurt what little income they had to feed there families. How is that in Omaha?

 

Two answers:

(1) Yes, Omaha has areas like this.

(2) The proposed light rail would not have served these areas

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Posted by York1 on Friday, January 10, 2020 6:01 PM

Falcon48
divebardave

Most major cities that I have lived/vistied had a huge underclass of working poor/black/hispanic who could not afford a car and even if they did the expensice would hurt what little income they had to feed there families. How is that in Omaha?

Two answers:

 

(1) Yes, Omaha has areas like this.

(2) The proposed light rail would not have served these areas

 

 

Yes, the proposed light rail system would have served these areas.

https://www.omaha.com/money/repurposed-omaha-rail-line-would-include-light-rail-system-trail/article_bccf772c-07ea-57bc-8fed-c319220707e7.html

 

Omaha officially has about 8% of households that don't own a car.  This includes households that lease a car, households of elderly without a car, or households that do not want a car (many times young and single).

https://www.governing.com/gov-data/car-ownership-numbers-of-vehicles-by-city-map.html

 

The poorer sections of town have a bus service that very few people ride.

http://www.ometro.com/index.php/bus-system/system-map/

 

One of the Chamber proponents of light rail claimed that the light rail service, running north to south in eastern Omaha, would enable low income residents of north Omaha to travel cheaply to work in Bellevue.  If there were people from north Omaha who could get hired in the Bellevue jobs, they could easily ride the existing bus transit system.  They don't.

 

 

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Posted by Falcon48 on Saturday, January 11, 2020 10:17 AM
 Duplicate post deleted.
 
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Posted by Falcon48 on Saturday, January 11, 2020 10:22 AM

In response to York1, the route illustrated in your note wasn't the route that was talked about when I lived in Omaha.  The main travel pattern for commutation in the Omaha area is east-west.   I doubt that there are enough potential transit riders in the north-south corridor illustrated to make any rail transit system worthwhile (a light rail to Bellevue - who's kidding whom?), and probably not enough to support much of a bus system.   

 

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, January 11, 2020 10:34 AM

Falcon48
In response to York1, the route illustrated in your note wasn't the route that was talked about when I lived in Omaha.  The main travel pattern for commutation in the Omaha area is east-west.   I doubt that there are enough potential transit riders in the north-south corridor illustrated to make any rail transit system worthwhile (a light rail to Bellevue - who's kidding whom?), and probably not enough to support much of a bus system.     

 

I agree.  The new proposed route was done only to appeal to special interest groups.  Buses run that North-South route now, and they are almost always mostly empty. 

This is a continuing attempt to show the need of something that is not needed.

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Posted by divebardave on Saturday, January 11, 2020 5:04 PM

The population in city of Omaha is 443,885. There are 3,449 people per square mile aka population density. 1,600 people per sqaure mile in Douglass county.

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 13, 2020 8:18 AM

Omaha & Council Bluffs 808 crossing from Council Bluffs to Omaha

Photo supplied by Henry Deutsch, son of Carl Deutsch, of Austrian Hiking Club fame.

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Posted by divebardave on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 3:47 PM

Omaha does not have a Major League Sports team of any kind. (no baseball/basketball/hockey) that would draw in thousands of people into the central hub from the burbs/outer towns....Citys that have a rail system depend on white middle class driver voters to support it and would actulay have a reason to use it on occasion like going to the ballgame.Buffalo is now smaller the Omaha but our Hockey Team/Minor Leage Baseball keeps there little rail 6 mile system numbers up.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 19, 2020 11:26 AM

More Omaha and Council Bluffs streetcar pictures from Henry Deutsch's files:

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Posted by divebardave on Friday, January 24, 2020 3:42 PM

Rode Blue Bus to Council Bluffs from Omaha at 600 PM..I was the only passenger on the bus...Also there is not a downtown transit center or hub so finding the bus was a Pain in the Mule..

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