Official: West Dodge Expressway

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

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Postby Brad » Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:33 pm

omaja wrote:...your numbers are a little off...


I know.  I wasn't near the computer when I heard the story and the story wasn't online when I made the post.
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Postby the1wags » Thu Sep 13, 2007 12:51 pm

Further proof we should have spent that money on a light rail or streetcars. We could of had the first 2 phases of streetcars for that and it would have done a heck of a lot more good. This obviously wasn't a good enough solution for the west O folk so we should've done something worthwhile with it.

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Postby CapitalGuy » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:11 pm

Further proof we should have spent that money on a light rail or streetcars. We could of had the first 2 phases of streetcars for that and it would have done a heck of a lot more good. This obviously wasn't a good enough solution for the west O folk so we should've done something worthwhile with it.


Excuse me for being flippant, but have you taken an oath to never ground your posts in logic or facts recently. This is at least the second thread I've read, where you have made a comment that I can't even disagree with because it is so lacking in fundamental evidence or logic.

It is completely speculation that light rail would have done more good. In fact, I'll go on record in saying that it would have most certainly not have equaled the positive impact resulting from the expressway project. It wasn't a good enough solution? So it was so wrong that it is now being utilized beyond its intended capacity? Sorry, that just doesn't make sense. NDOR may have miscalculated, which is not unprecedented, but please spare me the bologna about how people in West Omaha are ruining your urban life. Whether you want to acknowledge it or not the West "O" folks are the people that pay a lot of the taxes in this city and the expressway would have served many more of those taxpayers than a streetcar or light rail system would have.[/quote]

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Postby the1wags » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:36 pm

Whoa easy there big shooter. I actually think that the expressway is doing its job, which was getting around (over) the stop lights on Dodge. My comment about it "obviously not being good enough" was sarcasm directed at the people crying over their horrible commute times.

Regarding which (expressway or lightrail) would provide more good, I am speaking strictly to which would bring more development, not straight numbers on who's life it would make easier. Obviously the expressway is used by many more people daily than would use the streetcar. The bang for buck (development dollar return) should be obvious.

My stance is not a west O vs. east O thing at all. That comparison however is an example of a much larger problem in society. Sprawl is not a good thing. Cities that keep sprawling are going to consume more and more tax dollars to maintain roads, sewers, etc. We (society not just Omaha) need to start realizing this and using smarter and/or denser planning. I feel no sympathy towards people who choose to live way the heck out in the burbs and then complain about commute times, traffic, and road conditions. I agree 100% with what icejammer stated above.

You have me curious what other thread I demonstrated a profound lack of logic.

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Postby Big E » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:24 pm

the1wags wrote:You have me curious what other thread I demonstrated a profound lack of logic.


The one with orange foo-foo drinks.

On a more serious note, looking at the these daily usage numbers...

...imagine if the expressway were a $.50 toll each way for commuters (which I would pay without hesitation) and $2 each way for non-commuters.  This is roughly what the I-95 Ft. McHenry Tunnel toll was in Baltimore.

76,000 cars per day.  Let's assume roughly 2/3ds are commuters (I'm assuming 76K is including commuters twice, and I'm fudging as little for no commuters on Sat and Sun):

76K * 2/3 = 50,616 commuter "cars" @ $.50 each = $25,308 daily dollars.

76K * 1/3 = 25,308 non-commuters @ $2 each = $50,616 daily dollars.

Commuters plus non-commuters daily = roughly $76K per day * 7 days * 50 weeks (I'll be conservative) = $26,600,000 ANNUAL revenue on the expressway.  (Obviously my numbers could be tweaked in 1000 different ways but you're still going to come up with something north of $20M when you're done.)

Now raise the cost a bit to install toll booths and EZPass, pay the toll takers, and you've got the thing paid for in 10 years, when it starts generating revenue for the city/state, which in turn can be put towards lightrail, streetcar, and other mass transit infrastructure (downtown Omaha to Fremont maglev for me!).

Oh but why oh why would we spend our own money when the federal government paid for it for free???   :roll:

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Postby CapitalGuy » Thu Sep 13, 2007 6:41 pm

:? My bad wags, and the other thread I was referring to was the one in which pretty much every poster including myself has looked foolish in, the famous Downtown Stadium battle royale. Re West O - East O: the friction gets old because it sometimes appears that those who have chosen to pursue the urban life can't respect or understand why people would choose suburban living. And your development argument is logical, but I think the expressway can still have more effect because it substantially shortens the commute times for those lives in far west Omaha.

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Postby Stargazer » Thu Sep 13, 2007 8:53 pm

No doubt, they should have made 'lower' Dodge merge into a single lane from the start... but I've already seen an improvement as people figure out that there are now two lanes going down to Dodge from the expressway.

As for the traffic congestion west of the expressway bridge ... it is obvious that Omaha is ready for metered on-ramps at 168th, 156th, 150th, 144th, Boystown, and 132nd.  These do work.

While they're add it... they need to add them to the West Center interchange onto 680, and L Street onto 80.

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Postby UNOstudent » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:41 pm

Stargazer wrote:
As for the traffic congestion west of the expressway bridge ... it is obvious that Omaha is ready for metered on-ramps at 168th, 156th, 150th, 144th, Boystown, and 132nd.  These do work.




IMO,the problem now is that people who took maple, blondo, pacific before and during construction of the expwy are now trying to get onto dodge. By metering the on-ramps it might discourage some people to take dodge and they can return to taking the previously mentioned streets. About a month ago I had to go downtown and i got onto dodge at 168th and came to a dead stop right before the 156th off ramp. I got off at 156th and took maple down to 680, Maple was DEAD compared to how it used to be. It doesnt make sense to pour more money into widening dodge while maple, blondo, pacific are under utilized.

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Postby Brad » Thu Sep 13, 2007 9:45 pm

UNOstudent wrote:IMO,the problem now is that people who took maple, blondo, pacific before and during construction of the expwy are now trying to get onto dodge. By metering the on-ramps it might discourage some people to take dodge and they can return to taking the previously mentioned streets. About a month ago I had to go downtown and i got onto dodge at 168th and came to a dead stop right before the 156th off ramp. I got off at 156th and took maple down to 680, Maple was DEAD compared to how it used to be. It doesnt make sense to pour more money into widening dodge while maple, blondo, pacific are under utilized.


Agreed.  I was just telling some people that tonight.  There is never anyone on Maple anymore.  They all went to dodge and why not, there are not stop lights.  One thing getting lost here.  the problem only lasts about 20 min a day.
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Postby the1wags » Thu Sep 13, 2007 10:04 pm

I agree 100%. Too many former other street drivers are now using the expressway.

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Postby omaja » Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:05 pm

Brad wrote:One thing getting lost here.  the problem only lasts about 20 min a day.

The other thing: Nebraskans don't know how to drive on a freeway.  What ever happened to driving right, passing left?  It would be especially helpful given all of the weaving along Dodge.

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Postby Swift » Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:30 am

Despite the fact that RoadWarrior uses questionable logic in his argument, he/she and I agree on this point. The expressway is too short a distance for a toll booth, especially when traffic is only heavy for about an hour each day and there is another (presumably free) road running right underneath it. There are too many alternate routes, and I doubt that people would really pay extra to save them selves 20 minutes.

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Postby icejammer » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:33 am

 . . . I doubt that people would really pay extra to save them selves 20 minutes.


You're absolutely right, why would anyone want to pay extra when the federal government paid for the thing, right?  :roll:  :roll:
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Postby Big E » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:41 am

Let's not look at the toll of the expressway by itself.  I would agree that alone wouldn't do squat.  It would have to be part of an overall I-80/680/480 plan to get a buck from everyone that passes through Omaha.

I think if you take a look at my philosophies on transportation and sprawl and tax incentives as a whole, you'd find a pretty consistent plan to prevent/control sprawl and exponential infrastructure costs.  If you take tolls, density incentives, gas taxes, mass transit, and placing the burden of infrastructure on developers instead of the taxpayers, you'd have some progress.  It would also alleviate people fixating on the one piece of the puzzle that affects them ("Wahhh... my commute went from 49 minutes to 46 minutes...") while ignoring everything that doesn't - or more accurately, ignoring the fact that they ARE the other pieces of the puzzle.

I say yes, let the people that want to pay an exorbitant amount for their sewers and roads pay for them.  But THEY pay for them.  And then some, and they partially subsidize those the don't or can't.  We're not talking about a plasma TV tax or a fine dinner tax... we're talking about a controlling waste that effects everyone.  EVERYONE.

I say yes, let the people that drive 40 miles each way pay more for gas (including myself).  And stop increasing the tax pennies at a time.  Start with quarters and work towards dollars.

You doubt people would pay a buck to save 20 minutes?  Twice a day five time s a week?  $10 a week for 3.33 extra hours?  A bargain at twice the price (and my plan was HALF the price).  Don't want to pay it?  Sit at the lights and burn up three hours of gas every week and get back to me on how much fun that is.

I'm not sure what is meant by a service fee on mass transit, but you're not implying it would be free?  There should definitely be a different rate for the person that uses it as a commuter and the person who uses it to get to Qwest for a concert once a year.

The goal of all of this is to curb the unmitigated expansion of our infrastructure.  I don't see how building free roads as fast as we can fill them up with cars is helping.

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Postby RoadWarrior » Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:02 pm

Big E wrote:I say yes, let the people that want to pay an exorbitant amount for their sewers and roads pay for them.  But THEY pay for them.  And then some, and they partially subsidize those the don't or can't.  We're not talking about a plasma TV tax or a fine dinner tax... we're talking about a controlling waste that effects everyone.  EVERYONE.


"...we're talking about controlling waste..."  Come again?  If the huge overhead cost of installing and maintaining a toll road system isn't waste, what is?


Big E wrote:There should definitely be a different rate for the person that uses it as a commuter and the person who uses it to get to Qwest for a concert once a year.


So you're going to play God and start deciding the worth of each person's use of a road/mass transit/whatever?  That's SCARY!!!  The goal of any transportation medium should be to provide the best service at the best price... regardless if we're talking about a donkey-drawn carriage or all-first class Midwest Express.  Why people choose to use what they use should be up to them.  Sure, their choices can be "nudged", such as with the timed on-ramp lights mentioned in earlier posts (cost is the same for everyone)-- but who are you to determine who should pay more or less for the same access?

The only reasonable way to vary the rates is to offer different pass options:  single use pass, unlimited-ride monthly pass, etc.  But with this system there's no judgment being made on why the person is riding... just the type of pass they're purchasing.  It could work out that a commuter buying an unlimited-ride monthly pass ends up paying more per trip if he/she gets sent on a three-week business trip during a month.

I'd hate to see you move into the medical field.  You'd probably be the one telling some folks "you shouldn't have equal access to [whatever] medical treatment because I don't think you're worthy".

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Postby Big E » Mon Sep 17, 2007 9:18 pm

Come on, RoadWarrior.  Your interpretation isn't even remotely close to the intent of my statements.  No one that isn't trying to pick a fight would read what I wrote the way you did.

I type seven paragraphs about how a toll road should be a part of an overall plan to control waste/sprawl, and you fixate on how much more a toll road over 114th would compare to what is already there - AFTER I agree that a toll road alone wouldn't do a thing.

And for seriously, you can't possibly think that

Big E wrote:There should definitely be a different rate for the person that uses it as a commuter and the person who uses it to get to Qwest for a concert once a year.

and
RoadWarrior wrote:The only reasonable way to vary the rates is to offer different pass options:  single use pass, unlimited-ride monthly pass, etc.

are somehow different in any logically conceivable any way.

I don't mind someone disagreeing with me, but at least disagree with something I actually said.

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Postby RoadWarrior » Mon Sep 17, 2007 10:30 pm

Big E wrote:I type seven paragraphs about how a toll road should be a part of an overall plan to control waste/sprawl, and you fixate on how much more a toll road over 114th would compare to what is already there - AFTER I agree that a toll road alone wouldn't do a thing.


Earlier in your post you state "I think if you take a look at my philosophies on transportation and sprawl and tax incentives as a whole, you'd find a pretty consistent plan to prevent/control sprawl and exponential infrastructure costs.  If you take tolls, density incentives, gas taxes, mass transit, and placing the burden of infrastructure on developers instead of the taxpayers, you'd have some progress."

This means toll are part of your overall plan.  So my comment "If the huge overhead cost of installing and maintaining a toll road system isn't waste, what is?" still stands.  The overhead costs are there if you install tolls only for the short distance of the West Dodge Expressway or if you have a larger, Metro-wide toll system.  The larger the toll system, the higher the overhead cost associated with that system... there's no getting away from that.

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Postby Big E » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:24 am

So you think tolls are bad, I think they are good.  I can live with that.

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Postby Big E » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:38 am

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/09/18/traffi ... index.html

YAY!!! Let's build more free roads, because that's obviously been a perfect solution so far:

CNN.com wrote:Drivers waste nearly an entire work week each year sitting in traffic on the way to and from their jobs, according to a national study released Tuesday.

The nation's drivers languished in traffic delays for a total of 4.2 billion hours in 2005, up from 4 billion the year before, according to the Texas Traffic Institute's urban mobility report. That's about 38 hours per driver.

The study summed it up this way: "Too many people, too many trips over too short of a time period on a system that is too small."

The study estimates that drivers wasted 2.9 billion gallons of fuel while sitting in traffic. Together with the lost time, traffic delays cost the nation $78.2 billion, the study estimates.


I may not have the end all be all silver bullet answer to the problem, but what we're currently doing DOES NOT WORK.  Period.

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Postby omaja » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:46 pm

Road Warrior, you fail to mention that in addition to higher overhead costs, a larger system would also entail much more revenue.  Fixating on costs alone does not make for a logical argument.  A toll system throughout Omaha's freeway system might mean high costs, but the revenue alone from trucking traffic on I-80 (not to mention heavy commuter traffic along Dodge, I-680, I-480, US-75 and the like) would probably more than make up for it.  Tolls are obviously not as wasteful as you portray them, because they are present in areas throughout the US and the world.  In 2002, a consortium of infrastructure giants leased the Chicago Skyway for more than $1 billion.  They obviously wouldn't invest in a toll system if they thought it was a money-losing endeavor.

However, having said that, I would oppose tolls without an efficient metro and bus system.  It would be asinine to toll any roads in Omaha because the toll would force even more traffic onto Omaha's major thoroughfares... which are doing a fantastic job of falling into disrepair on their own.  Omaha does not maintain its roads well enough to handle the additional traffic burden.  Also, any toll system should not give breaks to locals.  In fact, the toll levied should be HIGHER.  The Interstate system wasn't created to get someone from 120th and Maple to 24th and Dodge.  Using the system to accomplish that should be considered a luxury and, thus, worthy of an equal--if not higher--toll.  But, before restricting the busiest commuter routes in the city, there needs to be a working public transport system.  After that, toll any road you want to. ;)

Until there is an efficient public transportation system in place, Omaha will continue to widen its roads (albeit at a slower-than-snail's pace) into infinity with no net-improvement to traffic flow or mobility.  This we know.  It's very sad at best, and terribly depressing at worst.  The notion of public transport has all but disappeared in Omaha, as it has throughout most of the Midwest.

(And a little side note, Midwest Airlines dropped the "Express" in 2002.)

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Postby Big E » Tue Sep 18, 2007 5:59 pm

omaja wrote:However, having said that, I would oppose tolls without an efficient metro and bus system.


I wouldn't go so far to oppose them, but I would hope they would be tied together in some sort of transportation legislation package.  More or less I agree with your sentiment, though.

omaja wrote:Also, any toll system should not give breaks to locals.  In fact, the toll levied should be HIGHER.


Might as well give up at that point.  I'll not only disagree, but I'll point out that that is about as  :koko: as you can get.  While transportation legislation has to be fair, it also has to have a snowball's chance of actually passing. :;):  The discounted fares for bulk users (re: commuters) on toll roads or any form of mass transportation are pretty standard anywhere you go.  Besides, what possible way would you have to track how LITTLE a person used a route?  The additional usage should be accounted for in gas, wheel, property and other taxes.

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Postby omaja » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:37 pm

That is more of a pipe dream of mine than anything.  Of course it wouldn't pass any legislative battle.  But at its core, I-80 is not meant to shuttle people from West Omaha to Downtown and back, it is a transcontinental trucking route.  As much as I despise trucks and mixing truck and car traffic, it is really the local traffic which causes the congestion.

And in theory, if there were a mass transit system with good coverage, people wouldn't need an antiquated freeway to get to Downtown and back.  If only! :;):

Depending on the actual toll amount, a discount might not be necessary.  (Some of the Tri-State Tollway rates are pretty stupid, for instance discounted auto rates at some exits are $0.15, half of the normal $0.30.  It almost doesn't seem worth it!)  Although perhaps some type of congestion pricing/discount depending on the time of day wouldn't be so bad.
Last edited by omaja on Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby RoadWarrior » Tue Sep 18, 2007 9:41 pm

Big E wrote:...Let's build more free roads...


Well, they're not exactly free.  The tax money that they're funded with comes out of all of our hides.

Big E wrote:I may not have the end all be all silver bullet answer to the problem, but what we're currently doing DOES NOT WORK.  Period.-Big E


I agree that we're not living in an ideal world.  In time, though, as Omaha's population density increases and traffic gets worse, I think we'll see mass transit become a more popular option.  Given people's impatience, why would they take mass transit when they can get there quicker by driving?  Once it's quicker to take mass transit AND -- as other posts have mentioned -- made attractive to the "average joes," then we'll see a shift away from cars.  Take a look at St. Louis, for example.

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Postby Big E » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:05 pm

RoadWarrior, do you really think I meant that the roads were free to build?

Or do you perhaps think that I may have been talking about "free-to-use", as in "not-a-toll-road", as in the context of our entire freaking discussion.

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Postby Stargazer » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:14 pm

yawn.

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Postby RoadWarrior » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:24 pm

Big E wrote:RoadWarrior, do you really think I meant that the roads were free to build?

Or do you perhaps think that I may have been talking about "free-to-use", as in "not-a-toll-road", as in the context of our entire freaking discussion.

-Big E

If you mean "non-toll roads," then just say so.

The point I was trying to get across (evidently I didn't do so well) is that non-toll roads are not really free.  They're paid for with tax dollars, which are a "toll" on all of us in the form of gas taxes, income taxes, wheel taxes, and on and on and on.

We're talking about the various ways of funding roads (and in your case, also talking about using cost as a way of managing the routes people drive).  In this context, it's important to make clear that we do pay to build and use non-toll roads -- even if the funding mechanism isn't as visually simple as dropping coins in a toll machine.

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Postby omaja » Tue Sep 18, 2007 10:50 pm

Tolling a major contributor to higher costs of living?  I doubt it.  You are greatly exaggerating.

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Postby Big E » Wed Sep 19, 2007 8:49 am

Stargazer wrote:yawn.


Agreed.

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Postby icejammer » Wed Sep 19, 2007 12:11 pm

CNN.com wrote:Drivers waste nearly an entire work week each year sitting in traffic on the way to and from their jobs, according to a national study released Tuesday. . . .


Also from the same study:

In the last 20 years, travel has increased by 105 percent in metropolitan areas but road capacity -- measured by freeways and major thoroughfares -- has only risen 45 percent.

Travel by public transportation in 85 urban areas climbed 30 percent in the past two decades.


So, are more roads the solution?  Or....less travel???
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Postby icejammer » Fri Dec 28, 2007 3:40 pm

Lowered signs mean lower fines on Dodge expressway

Drivers pushing the accelerator a little too hard on the West Dodge Expressway have one less worry: Fines no longer will be doubled if they are stopped for speeding.

Signs warning of doubled fines were removed this week, officially ending the expressway's designation as a construction zone. . . .

The final payment for finishing the massive project also was made this month. Hawkins Construction Co., the contractor on the project, received a total of $1.26 million in incentives for meeting or beating deadlines on expressway construction. The last payment was made Dec. 8, said Rich Zelensky, highway project manager with the Nebraska Roads Department.

The westbound deck opened more than a year ahead of schedule, and the eastbound section opened 10 months early, both in 2006. Some cosmetic work remains on the project, which should have only a minimal effect on drivers. . . .

The overall cost of the project is estimated to be about $100 million, with 80 percent coming from federal funds and 20 percent from the City of Omaha.
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Postby Coyote » Sat Jun 21, 2008 4:50 pm

On Grow Omaha this morning Trenton and Jeff were complaining about the weeds on Dodge Street between 120th and 108th:

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I hope someone was listening.
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Postby Stargazer » Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:25 pm

I like the 45 degree banked 'sidewalks' too.

Is this really what $10 million in landscaping looks like??

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Postby Big E » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:03 am

Stargazer wrote:Is this really what $10 million in landscaping looks like??


No, this is what $150 million in infrastructure looks like...

...right before it turns into $150 million in maintenance.

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Postby Brad » Sun Jun 22, 2008 2:30 am

They were working on the weeds on Friday Morning...   I thought they were wild flowers at first!

As far as sidewalk Jeff, I don't think there was any sidewalk as part of this project.  I know that the 45degree banked areas is not side walk.
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Postby Stargazer » Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:20 pm

I know it's not intended to be a sidewalk... although I think it's beckoning the skateboarders.

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Postby StreetsOfOmaha » Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:13 pm

I've already seen skateboarders get "busted" by the cops there, and this was last summer.

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Postby thenewguy » Sun Jun 22, 2008 8:44 pm

i never really thought about it before, but i can't see why they let the weeds grow so much before doing something about it?  I know that weeds grow really fast (I have since found this out since buying my house last year) but that is surely nothing that happened "over night."  I bet the people at Costco aren't terribly thrilled that the store they opened last year has such a nice piece of landscaping near the entrance of the road to their club :;):
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CapitalGuy
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Postby CapitalGuy » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:13 pm

First pedophiliac priests and now weeds. When will we ever learn that the suburban way of life is sucking life out of us?

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Postby Coyote » Sun Jun 22, 2008 10:17 pm

Can we move on from the inner city vs suburban problems diatribe which is now spilling over to an expressway thread.  :roll:
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Brad
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Postby Brad » Mon Jun 23, 2008 10:23 am

They were out there again this morning working on the weeds.  They are mowing with string trimmers and its taking a long time.
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