Tools for Omaha Commuters (and Others)

Thought I’d share a couple of things that I hope will make life easier for people who bike in Omaha.

First, a map I’ve been working on and adding to. Those of you who know me are aware of the map I created (and continue to curate) showing the Fixit repair stations in the Omaha region. I started this map back in 2014 and it has seen some use. Hopefully, the fixit stations have as well. I had been thinking of what things might also be of use to Omaha cyclists and realized that one of the questions I have before setting out is “Where’s the closest parking to my destination?” So I started working on adding that to the map as well.

With some help from Omaha Bikes and the city’s Planning Dept., I got my hands on a file of all of the city-installed bike racks in Omaha. There’s quite a few of them! After some quick searching and finagling, I was able to import it into the map. You can see the results here. It’s much easier to see/read on a PC than on your phone, but it is still usable. FixitOmahaI’m still playing with a couple of ideas with icons, data, etc., so keep checking back.

(UPDATE: I’ve created a Google Form so that you can report a bike rack or Fixit Station that is missing on the map. Just click here, fill in the form, and I’ll take care of the rest.)

(UPDATE 2: B-Cycle bike share stations have been added. Also, sometime next week, I hope to be adding (with help from the Planning Dept.) the formally recognized bike commuter routes.)

(UPDATE 3: The Planning Dept. came through, not only with the promised commuter routes, but also with the trails in the city. I’ve added them to the map. I think I’m done for the time being. If you have suggestions, please put them in the comments section.)

Since my map is a bit cumbersome to use on a smart phone, I started looking for other solutions, and I found one! The Bicycle Parking Project gives an opportunity to download their bicycle parking app for either iPhone or Android. I sent the above mentioned data file to the developer, and he graciously added the bike racks in Omaha to his database. It’s also incredibly easy to add new racks to it; just take a picture of the rack through the app and send it. You can see that’s what I did for the bike parking at Natural Grocers on Dodge. Bulk loaded racks are yellow, and those added by individuals are blue. You’ll note the button “Park Here.” If you select a rack and click on the Park Here, it will turn green; you can walk away and be able to easily remember where you left your bike. I’ll also be reviewing the map in this app periodically to see where new racks have been added and update the above map.

NtGrocRack

Hopefully, folks will find these little tools useful. If you can think of other information that you think would work, let me know, and I’ll see what’s possible.

Roll on!

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