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Warren Buffet and the Omaha streetcar

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Posted by Falcon48 on Monday, January 9, 2023 4:21 PM

It's about a 2 mile walk from the proposed streetcar line to Gorat's Steakhouse.  I don't think you're likely to meet Warren on the way. 

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Posted by jeffhergert on Sunday, January 8, 2023 11:22 PM

S-Bahn

Downtown Omaha last I was there seemed pretty dead at night and even during the day. Huge Insurnce Company towers. Insurnce people seem to live a rather boring life. Bus system only seems to go out so far as Boys Town is has been the end of the line and it takes forever and a day to take the city bus anywhere. At one time Omaha had a huge streetcar system and there are some tracks visible in the street. Warren Buffet is God in this town and owning the Newspaper and everything else. The way I see it for 300 million we are getting too little except for the kickbacks and cost overruns and hey theres free money from the feds so let's get it and spread it around our freinds

 

Buffett no longer owns the paper.  Lee Enterprises bought it a few years ago.  It's not the paper it once was.  

Jeff

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Posted by Falcon48 on Sunday, January 8, 2023 9:39 PM

"Pretty dead at night" is a pretty good description of downtown Omaha (the term "ghost town" also comes to mind). The only time downtown really comes alive at night these days is when the College World Series is in town.  I still visit Omaha once in awhile, and I was quite surprised in my 2022 visit to see how much the Old Market entertainment district had declined since I left town (probably not "cause and effect", but you never know).  I suspect a major reason for this is the big new dining and entertainment area that opened near 72nd and Center, where the old Ak Sar Ben race track used to be.  It's much closer to the residental areas than the Old Market.  Of course, the streetcar line, since it will end at 42nd Street, won't come anywhere near this attraction, or the residential areas around it.

One other thing.  The on line pictures of what the Omaha streetcar would look like show the streetcars operating in the curb lane of the street, rather than in the center of the street like the streetcars of yore.  Perhaps this is just an artist's conception and isn't how the line would really be built.  But, if this is what the line would really be, the promoters of this project ought to look at other cities which have done this.  The one I'm most familiar with is the Washington DC streetcar line.  About half of the line is built next to the curb on a very busy H street (probably due to concerns about ADA accessibility).  Everytime I've ridden this line, the streetcars have been delayed by cars illegally parked in the curb lane (the last time I rode it, there was a policeman riding the car to deal with this problem).  The other problem with curb lane trackage is that bicycles will use the lane, which means the streetcar can't go faster than the slowest cyclist on the street.  The flangeways on curb lane trackage would also be a real danger to bicyclists.  The DC streetcar tries to deal with these issues with signage prohibiting bikes on H Street.  If you've ever watched cyclists on city streets, you'll know how ineffective this is.              

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Posted by Falcon48 on Saturday, January 7, 2023 10:25 PM

dpeltier

 I guess this is what's meant by a "one track mind".

 
York1

This is a "let's build a streetcar system because they're neat and will make us just like a big city" proposal, and it's not a "let's build a streetcar system because we need it" proposal.

 

 

Sounds like what Omaha really needs is a monorail!

Dan

 

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Posted by dpeltier on Saturday, January 7, 2023 9:50 PM

York1

This is a "let's build a streetcar system because they're neat and will make us just like a big city" proposal, and it's not a "let's build a streetcar system because we need it" proposal.

Sounds like what Omaha really needs is a monorail!

Dan

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Posted by NKP guy on Saturday, January 7, 2023 7:36 PM

S-Bahn
Downtown Omaha last I was there seemed pretty dead at night and even during the day. Huge Insurnce Company towers. Insurnce people seem to live a rather boring life.

You could also cite Hartford, Connecticut to further support your point.  

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Posted by Falcon48 on Saturday, January 7, 2023 11:12 AM

I agree with Buffet.  I lived in Omaha for 15 years (working for UP), so I'm pretty familiar wtih the city and its transit system, such as it is.  Omaha is not a transit city.  The bus system isn't heavily used, even in "rush hours". 

The proposed streetcar line would run south from the stadium (just north of "downtown"), south on 10th street to the "Old Market" and then west to 42nd street.  This is not a residential area, so it won't do anything to get most workers from their homes to downtown and near downtown businesses.  At most, it could possibly be a very expensive parking lot shuttle from parking lots located near Interstate 480 (an east-west expressway that runs on the north edge of  downtown).  But it's only a few blocks from this area to "downtown" (including the projected Mutual of Omaha site) -- an easy walk.  It also could be used during the annual College World Series from the stadium to downtown hotels and the Old Market entertainment district but, once again, this is only a short walk.

Another waste of public money. 

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, January 7, 2023 7:34 AM

Buffett is right.  This is a huge expense with pie-in-the-sky promises of economic development that will follow the streetcar.

This is a "let's build a streetcar system because they're neat and will make us just like a big city" proposal, and it's not a "let's build a streetcar system because we need it" proposal.

What really upsets me most is that this proposal got off the ground when the city began courting some large tech corporations who had a light rail system as one of the requirements for locating in a city.

It had nothing to do with actual needs, transit requirements, or future ridership projections.

York1 John       

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Posted by Overmod on Friday, December 30, 2022 11:21 AM

Just because a particular item is behind a paywall is not a necessary reason for deletion; provide a summary including why it's interesting, and post the link anyway with the paywall disclaimer.

My only objection to paywalls (other than moral irritation that they exist at all) is when the only post is a link that only goes to a notice, or worse pops up a dialog after you've started reading the first few words.

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Warren Buffet and the Omaha streetcar
Posted by NKP guy on Friday, December 30, 2022 7:54 AM

    Thanks for the invitation, Overmod.  

    What I attempted to post earlier today was an online piece from MarketWatch (via my Yahoo home screen) about a letter Warren Buffet published in an Omaha newspaper regarding his personal belief that a proposed streetcar for that city would be a poor investment, and that increased bus service would be a better idea for a number of reasons.

   Probably because I am a streetcar buff as well as a railfan, I disagree with Mr. Buffet.  But I have to admit he was exactly right about one's investing in a no-load S&P mutual fund.  

   As Twain wrote, "There's more than one way to skin a cat."  Here's a link to the same story, only it's a short news segment on YouTube and not from MarketWatch.

   Warren Buffet Omaha streetcar

 

Another piece on the same subject:

 

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/warren-buffett-jumps-local-politics-fight-streetcar-95949920

 

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