Happy!: “Omaha Just Improved Its Mass Transit System Without Spending Any Money”

The FORWARD plan brings frequency and all-week service to the heartland.

Source: Omaha Just Improved Its Mass Transit System Without Spending Any Money – CityLab

These stories keep coming out.  Houston just did the same thing.  OKC, too.  Jarrett Walker says that the community needs to make a decision:  is it more important to serve as many areas as possible, or is it more important to increase ridership, with the understanding that neither answer is right or wrong.  You can do a little of both but you can’t really have both unless you want to spend a lot more money.

Here, Omaha has made a bunch of routes a lot more useful, but they reduced the number of areas served or at best, required longer walks to stops.  The time scales for people on foot or bicycle to get to the nearest stop is brilliant.  I don’t think I’ve seen that before.

Fire chiefs vs street width


OK, sure, this is an excuse to post a video about fire apparatus, especially tractor-drawn aerials.  And if into the comments section you go, aside from the pain you will find, there is some criticism that the chauffeur of the tower ladder (the one that doesn’t bend in the middle) probably wasn’t very experienced operating that apparatus.  Maybe so.

Nonetheless, neither vehicle had much trouble with very narrow streets.  Backing out?  Yes, but not getting to the fire building.

I poked around on the NFPA website but could not find standards for minimum street widths and turning radii  that were specifically intended for public streets.  In NFPA 1, Fire Code, I did find standards for Fire Department Access Roads in Chapter 18.2.3, but that seems to apply to roads specifically intended for fire department access and not necessarily public streets.  Those require 20′ minimum unobstructed width and 13’6″ minimum vertical clearance.  The standard leaves minimum turn radius up to the authority having jurisdiction (“AHJ”).  Remember, too, that NFPA standards and codes only have legal force when the AHJ says they do because they’ve adopted them as a municipal ordinance.

I did find this, though:   http://www.nfpa.org/~/media/files/research/research-foundation/foundation-proceedings/next-five-years/wren.pdf?la=en which is a slideshow that talks about meetings between CNU and the Austin, Texas, Fire Department.  Not much here,  but I probably need to do some more research.