Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles (and Streetcars!).

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justnick
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Postby justnick » Wed May 06, 2009 2:21 pm

StreetsOfOmaha wrote:Well, then just a couple years ago, they came out with their "new" signs at bus stops (the blue ones), that don't have ANY usefulness, other than to say "Hey, once in a while, buses stop here. Once in a while. And we're not going to tell you which ones or when. So |expletive| you. We didn't want your money any way."

Haha. But seriously, the bus system in the SMALL city where I lived in France puts most American public transit systems to shame, and makes Omaha's look like... well words can't even describe how pathetic it makes MAT look.


The blue ones are stupid as heck, no numbers no nothing.
And then there's Forest Lawn and North Ridge Drive, which haven't had a bus on them in twenty years, that still have signs saying the 2 (dodge now) stops there.

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Postby thenewguy » Thu May 07, 2009 6:39 am

DTO Luv wrote:
S33 wrote:
DTO Luv wrote:[quote="S33"]I guess that would be another incentive for light rail. Keeping people like DTO off the roads :)


Mills county filed for bankruptcy when I stopped driving. My insurance agent cried when she realized she wouldn't be able to afford the mansion out west she bought when I told told her I was going to quit driving.


Did you live in Mills County at some time? I'm from that area and there aren't many 6'7" mixed dudes around that area.


heck no. I just went through there all the time to go down to Ne City to visit family. I got stopped there all the time.[/quote]

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S33
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Postby S33 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:51 pm

From the reader -

"Omaha planners and engineers say a major highway encircling the metro is inevitable"


http://www.thereader.com/index.php?suba ... m=&ucat=3&

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Postby the1wags » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:20 am

At least they talked to one smart person.

"Opponents say the beltway would be a detriment to Omaha.

Marty Shukert of RDG Planning and Design, and former Omaha city planning director, believes a beltway would lessen population density, spreading the city too far West.
“I believe it’s an enormous investment of money, that we don’t have, in a project that will cost us more money in the long run,” he said. “That’s not the direction that we should be going in … People stuck in traffic at a suburban intersection would think that this problem would be solved with a beltway. It would not; it would actually be worse. It doesn’t improve traffic. Look at D.C., Kansas City. [Beltways] never solve the problem because they pull development away from the city which loads the beltway with traffic, relocates problems and makes them worse.”

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Brad
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Postby Brad » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:25 am

As much as I use to want a complete beltway, I would have to agree it just doesn't make financial sense anymore.  I still support the partial beltway that would cut across southern sarpy county, but I don't think we need one going all the way around now.

I actually had to go out west twice this week and I wanted to blow stuff up both times!  Traffic is TERRIBLE out west!  How do people live out there and deal with that on a daily basis?
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Postby S33 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:06 am

Yeah, 720 miles of beltway is ridiculous.

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Postby NovakOmaha » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:23 am

"Planners considered three alternatives to the beltway: radial freeways, one entering Omaha from the Northwest and another from the South; an enhanced arterial network of widened highways and added “corridors,” and a light rail system. The study prioritized the beltway because of its cost and perceived ability to alleviate traffic."

Radial Freeways.  What a concept.  Why not three angled freeways, northwest, southwest and south?  Why not park and ride?  Why not light rail?  
They make a compelling point about development following freeways.  I'm the first one defending the suburbs but another ring around the metro seems a bit silly.  If I wanted to take the interstate downtown from my former home at 144 & Dodge I had to drive down to I680 at about 108th, then do south about 4-5 miles, then finally east, then back north.  The west expressway would have solved that but it isn't going to happen, thus how about light rail to get people downtown?  

It just seems myopic to rule out any possible solution because "of perceived ability fo alleviate traffic".  So it wouldn't "actually" alleviate traffic?  You'd still have traffic but you wouldn't notice it?  You'd "think" you weren't sitting in traffic because you were more worried about your taxes going to pay for this perception?

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Postby Stargazer » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:54 pm

There aren't nearly enough people taking 80 by way of 680 to get downtown even today... I can't imagine who's going to use a beltway which is still further outside the... well, beltway.

Definitely, a combination of spokes and light rail should be the way to go.

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Postby DTO Luv » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:07 pm

The only way light rail is going to work DT is to have a massive change in policy and darn near force any new office space being built to be built in one area. There's no way in the world it makes sense to put a light rail from anywhere to DT unless there is a greater concentration of employers and employment centers there.

There can't just be a call for light rail with no specific plan in place to address the other issues that would make LR even a ghost of a possibility.
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Postby Big E » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:08 pm

Brad wrote:I actually had to go out west twice this week and I wanted to blow stuff up both times!  Traffic is TERRIBLE out west!  How do people live out there and deal with that on a daily basis?


You mean Midtown?   :;):
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Postby Stargazer » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:22 pm

The only way light rail is going to work DT is to have a massive change in policy and darn near force any new office space being built to be built in one area. There's no way in the world it makes sense to put a light rail from anywhere to DT unless there is a greater concentration of employers and employment centers there.

There can't just be a call for light rail with no specific plan in place to address the other issues that would make LR even a ghost of a possibility.


You're probably right... these |expletive| Omaha racists will find it far easier to build a whole new layer of suburban office parks along a new billion dollar beltway.

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Postby S33 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:33 pm

Stargazer wrote:
The only way light rail is going to work DT is to have a massive change in policy and darn near force any new office space being built to be built in one area. There's no way in the world it makes sense to put a light rail from anywhere to DT unless there is a greater concentration of employers and employment centers there.

There can't just be a call for light rail with no specific plan in place to address the other issues that would make LR even a ghost of a possibility.


You're probably right... these |expletive| Omaha racists will find it far easier to build a whole new layer of suburban office parks along a new billion dollar beltway.


I think it's fair to say you start more |expletive| than even I do.  :)

Anyway, I like the idea of the radials with light rail along side, but that would still be very expensive and the cost to build parking garages in west Omaha for the "park and ride system" would be very high. Unless they really do plan on placing 5-10 acre parking instead.

I do agree population density may pose a problem for light rail. Not to mention just about every household in the city owns at least one vehicle.

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Postby DTO Luv » Fri Dec 18, 2009 1:45 pm

I think we're just fcked on ever getting it here any time soon.

The best way I think would be to just leave west O the mistake that it is and plan for a north/south line reaching to suburban Bellevue to north of Omaha. having it go north though you would have to start having far north Omaha being a new, better planned west Omaha but also it would go through blighted and less affluent areas that would benefit from increased activity and increase property values from shi+ to not as shi+ bare minimum.

Then having a line going east to Council bluffs would put the much closer (as opposed to further, more sprawled west O) CB population within a carless trip to Omaha. They could build closer, smarter suburbs and then funnel their workforce into Omaha.

I don't see an easy route physically or politically to get a line from DT to far west anywhere. The streetcars however would be an asset to the urban areas of the city and that's probably the best we could hope for.
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Postby S33 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:00 pm

DTO Luv wrote:I think we're just fcked on ever getting it here any time soon.

The best way I think would be to just leave west O the mistake that it is and plan for a north/south line reaching to suburban Bellevue to north of Omaha. having it go north though you would have to start having far north Omaha being a new, better planned west Omaha but also it would go through blighted and less affluent areas that would benefit from increased activity and increase property values from shi+ to not as shi+ bare minimum.

Then having a line going east to Council bluffs would put the much closer (as opposed to further, more sprawled west O) CB population within a carless trip to Omaha. They could build closer, smarter suburbs and then funnel their workforce into Omaha.

I don't see an easy route physically or politically to get a line from DT to far west anywhere. The streetcars however would be an asset to the urban areas of the city and that's probably the best we could hope for.


Actually, I would say West O has proved successful. If I'm not mistaken, it does have the highest sales tax revenues per sq mile than just about anywhere else in the city.

The city is in no way a failure, it has been built in accordance with consumer demand, a car nation, and just plain the way things were the last 50 years. Now, they simply have to integrate all parts of the city with different modes of transit. Linking DT with west O is the last thing that is going to happen. But once Omaha sees proof of concept in other areas the idea will have some legitimacy.

I think with continued mixed use infill, West O can control some of it's traffic problems.

I would also keep in mind the US may see a resurgence of the reliance on individual transportation with the advancement of the electric car technology.

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Postby DTO Luv » Fri Dec 18, 2009 2:19 pm

There's too much trending down with the economy long term that would even make personal transportation, gas or electric, too appealing for too long. We need to invest in public transportation.

You say WO is a success and I will agree with you that it has "succeeded" at the expense of the rest of the city. It's those same successes that will make LR nearly impossible for Omaha. LR is a part of an urban environment. How do you expect to retrofit areas with 40+ years of planning to be as non urban as possible with something geared toward urban or at least less auto centric development?

It's like trying to run planes off of train tracks. It's not going to work. We're too far behind and no solid plan to move forward.

There are other areas of town with cleaner slates to make the public option of transportation viable. I don't see it working in West Omaha since the area is so suburban. It would take a huge effort ($$$) to make the concept work. If people want suburbs then fine, but we can still move forward with new areas that are better planned instead of trying to forcibly fix the broken (suburban) areas.
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Postby S33 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:20 pm

Maybe we can just hire a consultant to do a "study"?  :;):

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Postby DTO Luv » Fri Dec 18, 2009 3:33 pm

It wouldn't hurt to look at the possibility of having LR go places other than the furthest flung reaches of the metro.
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Postby S33 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:09 pm

Yeah I was just kidding though. Haven't we had 4 or 5 of these studies since 2000 anyway?

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Postby joleo » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:11 pm

S33 wrote:Maybe we can just hire a consultant to do a "study"?  :;):


Or maybe we should hire a consultant to study the "study"?  My firm would gladly do it!!!

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Postby GetUrban » Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:57 pm

LR possibly could be justified connecting Lincoln & West O to Eppley via downtown, but you'd have to build parking garages/lots out west somewhere. Parking at the airport is becoming a nightmare. The airport garages seem surprisingly overcrowded for the relatively low number of flights going in and out of Eppley. If people could easily take public transportation to the airport, many would leave their cars at home, or out west.

Also, I like the idea of a north-south LR line in Omaha. Up until the 50's, Omaha used to be much more of a north-south oriented city. But I agree DT currently doesn't have the density of employers, or residences to justify an east-west LR commuter line, unfortunately.

Needless to say, I don't like the idea of another beltway around the city and would prefer to see the focus or growth and revitalization shift back inward toward midtown/downtown.
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Postby TitosBuritoBarn » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:27 am

the need for a beltway isn't "inevitable" if we focus further development in the city.  By the time the city is reasonably filled up and we need to go farther out, trains will hopefully be more of a norm of transit than they are now and we'll be looking to build rail service.

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Postby JPenny » Sat Dec 19, 2009 6:09 pm

I think its important to focus on infill and public transportation and everything but I think that they should at least have something planned out so we have a place to put this when we do eventually get to the point that we have to have it... im not saying build it now or anything but more like keep a planned out area open so we can build this if we need to 50 years or so down the line. so we dont have to demolish things because there isn't anywhere to put it.

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Postby nebport5 » Sun Dec 20, 2009 12:20 am

I'm all for urban revival but there's a case to be made for light rail running along Dodge say Village Point or Elkhorn all the way through downtown and on to Eppley.  Cost, infrastructure aside the problem would lie with the inferior bus system as arteries, especially out west.  The irony of such a proposition is that this would never happen until a second beltway reached it's sprawling capacity.

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Postby mrdwhsr » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:21 pm

I think a North Omaha/Eppley to Bellevue route for Omaha's first Light Rail route makes sense. Park and Rides are a nice stop-gap until population density along the Light Rail builds up due to redevelopment. Better to drive a few miles to a Light Rail station than a 25 mile round trip to downtown. I'd use it just to save gas, wear-and-tear on a car, and save the frustration of traffic jams.

I still believe you can build Light Rail to West Omaha at a far more reasonable price than the billion-dollar baby I saw in a MAPA study. A route along the Union Pacific right-of-way could be used to handle passengers between downtown, OakView, Village Point and Elkhorn. The problem is convincing UP to buy in.

So why not a freight railroad bypass? A new railroad bridge at Blair and additional track-work between Blair and Fremont could handle UP's east-west mainline traffic. A Fremont-Plattsmouth bypass along the Platte would allow UP traffic to Kansas City to bypass Omaha. That just might convince UP to allow Light Rail along the right-of-way as BNSF does in Denver and San Diego.

IMO the bypass through Cass or Sarpy county will do little to remove truck traffic from I-80 and a lot to encourage suburban sprawl. There are several large developers banking on the Sarpy route to open up suburban development on several large tracts of land. A route from the I-680 / I-29 junction through Washington County and down the US 275 corridor through Valley and Waterloo to I-80 might coax long-haul truckers off I-80 through Omaha and do the least for suburban sprawl. It might also remove some truck traffic from West Dodge, West Maple, or 'L' street (or maybe US 30 through Blair) heading from I-80 to Fremont and points west.

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Postby Brad » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:26 pm

mrdwhsr wrote:So why not a freight railroad bypass? A new railroad bridge at Blair and additional track-work between Blair and Fremont could handle UP's east-west mainline traffic.


That is already planned.  Its already all designed and the property has already been purchased.



mrdwhsr wrote:A Fremont-Plattsmouth bypass along the Platte would allow UP traffic to Kansas City to bypass Omaha. That just might convince UP to allow Light Rail along the right-of-way as BNSF does in Denver and San Diego.


Most traffic already by passes Omaha and goes North Platte --> Gibbon -->Topeka  --> Kansas City.  The line through Plattsmouth only really handles KC to Omaha/Council Bluffs Traffic and Coal to the NE City power plan.
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Postby warwickland » Fri Dec 25, 2009 12:18 pm

TitosBuritoBarn wrote:the need for a beltway isn't "inevitable" if we focus further development in the city.  By the time the city is reasonably filled up and we need to go farther out, trains will hopefully be more of a norm of transit than they are now and we'll be looking to build rail service.


Beltways can be a disaster for the downtowns of metropolitan areas set up like Omaha (strong growth generally in one direction). Chicago and St. Louis are good case studies.

St. Louis opted for 1.5 beltways, making north/south commuting between suburbs easier (even though I-270 is a mess), and downtown no longer has 300,000 + employees anymore, not even close, and is no longer the center of the region (downtown Clayton arguably being the center). Higher density office construction is centered near major intersections of these beltways with east west expressways or arterials or in Clayton, downtown 2.0.


Chicago makes it a severe pain to travel north/south between suburbs, and downtown employment (white collar employment is stronger than ever, even though total employment as percentage of the metro is down) and health is very strong, adding to the appeal of the region in general.

Both have rail transit, to one degree or another, but all the rail transit in the world isn't going to fix a downtown choking beltway in a lopsided metropolitan area that is far from built out. Use your resources to build the center before the economic potential of the region has been maximized, they won't always be there.


Just my opinion.

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Postby Erik » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:16 pm

warwickland wrote:
TitosBuritoBarn wrote:the need for a beltway isn't "inevitable" if we focus further development in the city.  By the time the city is reasonably filled up and we need to go farther out, trains will hopefully be more of a norm of transit than they are now and we'll be looking to build rail service.


Beltways can be a disaster for the downtowns of metropolitan areas set up like Omaha (strong growth generally in one direction). Chicago and St. Louis are good case studies.

St. Louis opted for 1.5 beltways, making north/south commuting between suburbs easier (even though I-270 is a mess), and downtown no longer has 300,000 + employees anymore, not even close, and is no longer the center of the region (downtown Clayton arguably being the center). Higher density office construction is centered near major intersections of these beltways with east west expressways or arterials or in Clayton, downtown 2.0.


Chicago makes it a severe pain to travel north/south between suburbs, and downtown employment (white collar employment is stronger than ever, even though total employment as percentage of the metro is down) and health is very strong, adding to the appeal of the region in general.

Both have rail transit, to one degree or another, but all the rail transit in the world isn't going to fix a downtown choking beltway in a lopsided metropolitan area that is far from built out. Use your resources to build the center before the economic potential of the region has been maximized, they won't always be there.


Just my opinion.


I know that I am not as knowledgeable as the rest of you, but sometimes I just love to listen to myself talk..  :;):

My question is that if a city reaches a certain size, doesn't transportation become a massive headache no matter what you do?

If that is the case, what about having multiple cores, like 2 or 3 that would ease the use of infrastructure of just one core?  I say that it is a dissapointment that dt St Louis has lost many jobs in it's downtown from the beltway construction, but hasn't it begun to recover?

Wouldn't it make sense to have a main downtown like Omaha's downtown/midtown, and maybe grow a couple more so we can avoid the horrific travel issues of the larger cities that use the one core model?

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Postby guitarguy » Fri Dec 25, 2009 3:30 pm

well the first national business park on 132nd and Dodge sure does seem like a pretty healthy downtown like area. It is also fairly well nestled into the city and there are never many problems with traffic getting around over there.. unless its 5pm on the overpass then yeah its not pretty but you can always bypass it by getting off at 132nd St.

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Postby warwickland » Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:27 pm

For what it's worth, I usually view urban congestion as an indicator/symptom of both regional prosperity and downtown vitality...I don't think that in the end, it's something to fear in any American metropolitan area outside of NYC and LA. The cities with "bad" downtown congestion smaller than those two are generally very healthy. However, downtown Detroit is very easy to get around. Focus on making downtown the destination by making it a great human scaled place, and don't focus on moving automobiles through or away from it, because they will disappear, along with the people, money, and the good impressions of visitors (and potential regional residents and economic engines). Worst case scenario you might even create an economic "cancer" of the urban fabric that could spread into vulnerable adjacent neighborhoods, creating an even worse impression of the entire metropolitan area as a place to live and do business.

If it isn't now, Omaha seems like it will someday soon be at a vital crossroads in how it spends its increased wealth on projects that will affect the region for 50 years plus. I hope that the region makes infrastructure decisions based on carefully examining what happened a generation ago in (or in the case of St. Louis almost two generations ago) other cities at similar crossroads, and how that impacted downtown and the region.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:17 pm

guitarguy wrote:well the first national business park on 132nd and Dodge sure does seem like a pretty healthy downtown like area.


Is that a joke?  :?
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Postby guitarguy » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:31 pm

No, but its still a business district and they have been adding in new buildings constantly so I can't see why its not 'healthy'. Granted its not the urban style that you rave about all the time. But the point is its still a business district that serves western Omaha and continues the strong corridor that Dodge st has become.

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Postby guitarguy » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:33 pm

guitarguy wrote:No, but its still a business district and they've been adding in new buildings constantly so I can't see why its not 'healthy'. Granted its not the urban style that you rave about all the time. But the point is its still a business district that serves western Omaha and continues the strong corridor that Dodge st has become.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sat Dec 26, 2009 2:59 pm

guitarguy wrote:No, but its still a business district and they have been adding in new buildings constantly so I can't see why its not 'healthy'. Granted its not the urban style that you rave about all the time. But the point is its still a business district that serves western Omaha and continues the strong corridor that Dodge st has become.

-adam


Then your understanding of the terms "strong" and "healthy" as they pertain to urban development is grossly incorrect.

A growing suburban business district/office park? Yes.

A strong and healthy "downtown-like" district? No.
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Postby guitarguy » Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:05 pm

true but i seriously doubt omaha will ever have a second core comparable to downtown. I merely said downtown like because its a pretty high density area and its really the only other place in the city that is developing as a core.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sat Dec 26, 2009 3:46 pm

guitarguy wrote:true but i seriously doubt omaha will ever have a second core comparable to downtown.


Nor should it. It's great to have strong and healthy, dense, mixed use neighborhoods throughout the city, though.
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Re: Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Postby lmdramos » Sat Nov 22, 2014 12:18 pm

I really think the Omaha area could benefit from a beltway.

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Re: Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Postby RNcyanide » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:14 pm

They should have made 370 into a beltway.
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Re: Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Postby guitarguy » Sat Nov 22, 2014 5:29 pm

It doesn't seem too unreasonable to widen 370 out another lane each direction even now. I think traffic down there will get stressed to the point where they do it anyways.
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Re: Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Postby Louie » Sat Nov 22, 2014 7:34 pm

RNcyanide wrote:They should have made 370 into a beltway.

370 and around on 204th to Dodge. I feel like that would be sensible.

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Re: Official: Omaha Beltway Discussion

Postby RNcyanide » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:42 pm

Louie wrote:
RNcyanide wrote:They should have made 370 into a beltway.

370 and around on 204th to Dodge. I feel like that would be sensible.


Hit 370 first then wrap it around the west end of Omaha as it continues to fill out.
When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other that not only does God exist, you're doing his will.

The Bride


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