08 June 2015

Public Project Blocks Pedestrian Passage at Carthage

A storm-water separation project on the north side of Carthage, Omaha, has been completely blocking public access. Construction at the corners of Hamilton Street and North Saddle Creek has resulted in the removal of the entire street and the sidewalks on both side of the street while a new storm-water line is being installed. Access on the north side of Hamilton had been possible, but as of at least June 3rd, a sidewalk closed sign was put in place. People had been walking past anyway to get to the west, but with mud and a trespass on private property, this is not a suitable travel route.

This situation is completely inhibiting pedestrian traffic into Carthage at this point. Anyone living to the south and southwest would have to walk several blocks just to make forward progress of only a block or two. For example, if a resident of any of the many large apartment complexes along 48th Avenue or 49th Street or 49th Avenue wanted to use public right-of-way get to the coin laundromat on Saddle Creek (at 1479 Saddle Creek Road), a multiple block detour would be required. It would require walking west to 50th Street, north to Charles Street and for a block eastward on this route, then further travel along Saddle Creek Road. It also makes it more difficult to reach the ethnic market along Saddle Creek, further west, not to mention getting to the bus stop eastward at Radial Highway. Similar long detours would be needed to get to other places via a south route.

The lack of access is problematic for pedestrian in multiple ways, as churches, businesses which can lose customers and income, as well as private residences that are not as accessible as they should be.

This is a project of the Omaha Public Works Department as being constructed by Roloff Construction. It is quite troubling that this limitation in access due to construction was not considered by planners. Nor was it mentioned in the public meetings. Suitable options need to be immediately implemented to allow safe pedestrian traffic at this area of the project.

There is no information available on how long this particularly disruptive situation will continue.

Pictures of the setting taken the evening of June 8, 2015

Dirt conditions along Hamilton Street just west of Saddle Creek Road; this dirt will become mud with rain

A pedestrian crossing the construction zone

Another pedestrian within the construction zone

A view of the sidewalk closed signage on Hamilton Street

Another view of the sidewalk on the north side of Hamilton Street; even where the sidewalk is not closed, the construction company cannot keep debris off the public walkway

Acknowledgement of the situation has been received from Pete Festerson, Omaha City Council, who will have one of his staff work with Public Works and the contractor on this.

There was subsequently nothing done to address this situation. People associated with the work just figured that the residents would have to just wait until the street and sidewalk were replaced with new concrete!

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