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A map of the Bike Omaha Network, including trails, bike lanes, bike-friendly routes and proposed additions in coming years.

Marty Shukert rides his bike near 38th and Farnam Streets in 2015. A critic of the Bike Omaha Network, Benson bicycle shop owner Sarah Johnson said the project needs to emphasize safety and enforcement in its second phase.

A map of the Bike Omaha Network, including trails, bike lanes, bike-friendly routes and proposed additions in coming years.

Marty Shukert rides his bike near 38th and Farnam Streets in 2015. A critic of the Bike Omaha Network, Benson bicycle shop owner Sarah Johnson said the project needs to emphasize safety and enforcement in its second phase.

It should be easier than ever for Omaha cyclists to pedal around town thanks to a cohesive network of bike lanes, trails and shared roadways.

On Friday, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert announced the completion of the city’s Bike Omaha Network. In essence, the network is an interconnected system of bike-friendly pathways brought together by the use of signposts that stitch together trails, bike lanes and roads around midtown and downtown Omaha.

Critics of the Bike Omaha Network say it is little more than a collection of signs and a map that points riders down the city’s trails, roadways and piecemeal bike lanes, which many riders consider too risky to use.

The network covers 38 miles of pavement and uses 600 signs at 400 locations around town. The $75,000 worth of signs were paid for by private donations from entities including the Peter Kiewit Foundation and the Sherwood Foundation. Live Well Omaha coordinated the sign-making, and the City of Omaha’s Public Works Department installed the signs in December and January.

“We’re at a place where we can celebrate a milestone,” said Sarah Sjolie, CEO of Live Well Omaha. “All of the signs throughout a 38-mile bike network are all posted.”

Some indicate when a bike lane begins or when a lane is designated as a shared lane for bicycles and cars.

According to the Bike Omaha Network organizers, the signs help reduce confusion for bicyclists, show how easy it is to travel by bicycle, alert motorists to watch for people bicycling on the street, guide trail users to key destinations off the trail and help people report emergencies and direct first responders to their location.

“It’s frustrating because (the City of Omaha) doesn’t ever take a big enough step,” she said. “I want a protected bike lane and not just two blocks. One extra stripe of paint next to another stripe of paint is not enough to make people feel safe.”

The Bike Omaha Network is billed as an ongoing project that will add new signs, bike lanes and minor trails in the future.

A 2015 analysis of Omaha’s bike networks by the League of American Bicyclists gave Omaha a “bronze” rating, giving the city 4 out of 10 or lower in each major category, including engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning.

Sjolie said she hopes to see the Bike Omaha Network expand in the future, possibly by increasing the network of bike-friendly trails within neighborhoods in midtown and downtown or by expanding the network’s reach into west Omaha.

“Is it done? No. Does it solve biking in the community? No. But it’s a huge milestone ahead,” she said.

Cyclists can find a map of the network at area bike shops or online at livewellomaha.org/bike-omaha-network.

The sun sets behind a center pivot located north of Red Cloud, Nebraska, on Thursday, July 27, 2006. 

Storm clouds hide the sun as it sets over Nebraska's Sand Hills on July 7, 2009, near Thedord, Nebraska. 

A rainbow forms over U.S. Highway 12, just east of Valentine, Nebraska, as storms roll over the area on July 25, 2017. 

The sun sets behind an approaching storm as a car heads west on U.S. Highway 34 near Union, Nebraska, on April 24, 2016. 

Members of the Boats, Bikes, Boots & Brews group head to shore as the sun sets after an evening out on Lake Zorinsky on April 22, 2015. 

Wheat, ready for the combine, is silhouetted by the setting sun as the wheat harvest on the Lagler farm near Grant, Nebraska, was in full swing on July 7, 2005.

A setting sun creates a pink haze on a windmill and the Sand Hills southwest of Rushville, Nebraska, on Sept. 22, 2007. 

Pigeons scatter at sunset as the St. John's steeple is silhouetted against the Woodmen tower in downtown Omaha on Oct. 3, 2014. 

The sun bursts behind the clouds over the North Platte River east of Bridgeport, Nebraska, on July 26, 2006.

The moon rises over the northern cross of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha on Feb. 10, 2017. On this night, there was a full moon, a lunar eclipse and comet 45P passed by the earth. 

As the wind speed picks up, a woman holds onto her hood while crossing 16th Street along Dodge Street in Omaha on Feb. 24, 2017. 

From left: Melody Borcherding, Kseniya Burgoon and Michael Beltz scoop out a vehicle on Jan. 23, 2018, in Norfolk.

Jeff Bachman harvests soybeans and prepares to transfer them as the sun sets on a field near Ayr, Nebraska, on Oct. 19, 2008.

As the sun sets, sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the Platte River at the Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicholson Audubon Center south of Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 12, 2008. 

A pair of sandhill cranes pass in front of the moon shortly after sunrise at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. Sandhill cranes, which mate for life, can live between 20 and 40 years.

An early November storm system rolls through the Great Plains, but Omaha only receives rain, which collected on freshly-fallen leaves on Nov. 11, 2015. 

Cattle head up to a well to get a drink at the end of the day near Sparks, Nebraska, on Aug. 21, 2015. Smoke from the wildfires in the western states created a haze. 

The moon rises above the corn as farmers harvest the last of their fields in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Nov. 5, 2014. 

Two riders help round up part of the 750 head of cattle branded at the Lute Family Ranch, located south of Hyannis, Nebraska, on May 12, 2005. Mick Knott, who runs the ranch, owns about half the cattle, and the Lute Foundation owns the rest. The work started about dawn and finished about noon. 

The rising sun illuminates a tree and a windmill in a snow-covered field located on U.S. Highway 20 between Rushville and Chadron, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017. 

The College Home Run Derby was held at TD Ameritrade Park and was highlighted by The World-Herald's annual Independence Day fireworks display on July 2, 2015. 

The weekend's perfect weather colored the clouds at sunset south of Wymore, Nebraska, on Oct. 23, 2004. 

A leaf is covered in a dusting of snow near 138th and Hickory Streets on Dec. 18, 2014, in Millard. 

A runner emerges from the edge of the rising sun on Sept. 11, 2015, at Zorinsky Lake Park and Recreation Area in Omaha.

Nearly 45 minutes after sunset, an orange and blue glow is seen setting behind the Omaha skyline flanked between trees in Council Bluffs on Jan. 11, 2018. 

The promise of rain is fleeting for the seven windmills on the Watson Ranch north of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on U.S. 71 on May 16, 2004. 

Ralph Remmert is depicted in the mural "Fertile Ground" near 13th and Mike Fahey Streets in north downtown Omaha on June 19, 2017. 

Ralph Kohler, 94, keeps his eyes to the sky for ducks and geese as the sun rises over his hunting pond east of Tekamah, Nebraska, on Nov. 30, 2011. Kohler has been a professional guide for most of his life, and he is preparing for the spring season. 

The sun rises over St. Paul Lutheran Church, located three miles north of Republican City, Nebraska, in March of 2004. 

Cranes walk through the shallow water of the Platte River shortly before sunset near The Crane Trust, which is close to Wood River, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. The river provides cranes with a safe place from predators for rest at night. 

A bespangled vest awaits a rider during Nebraska's Big Rodeo on July 25, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. 

Residents of the Nebraska Panhandle enjoyed unseasonably mild temperatures and cloud cover on Aug. 12, 2004. 

Members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hold their hats as 2013 Miss Burwell Rodeo Olivia Hunsperger passes by during the opening ceremonies on July 27, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. "This may be a small town, but it's got a big rodeo, and it's got a really big heart," Hunsperger said. 

A break in the clouds highlights downtown Omaha as seen from Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, as severe storms passed through the Omaha Metro area on June 5, 2014. 

John Wanief waits for the bus in a shelter at 120th Street and West Center Road as cold rain pours down in Millard on Nov. 11, 2015. 

A red tail hawk perches on a light stanchion backed by the moon and overlooking the property near the Indian Creek development in Omaha on Feb. 27, 2018. 

A woman walks with two dogs in Memorial Park near Dodge Street as many sledders go down the hill in Omaha, Nebraska, on Feb. 2, 2016. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD

Storm clouds are illuminated by the setting sun as people exit a football camp in Lincoln on Friday, June 16, 2017.

Sharon Vencil walks her dogs, Blackie and Whitie, along the Field Club Trail on March 6, 2018, in Omaha. 

The sun rises behind one of seven wind generators as a windmill pumps water for cattle just northwest of Kimball, Nebraska, on Sept. 17, 2002. 

A slightly less than full moon known as a waning gibbous is seen near the colorful Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on June 22, 2016. 

The headlights and taillights on vehicles pass by water droplets on a windshield of a car as high winds, hail and rain hit Omaha on March 23, 2016. 

The sun silhouettes Cecilia Cathedral as it shines through the rain clouds hanging around Omaha on Aug. 12, 2016. 

Three horses graze at sunset in a pasture east of Valentine, Nebraska, along U.S. Highway 12 on July 8, 2014. 

As the sun sets, cattails and trees are highlighted at Island Lake, a popular hunting area at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Garden County, Nebraska, on Nov. 17, 2013. 

The sun sets behind a center pivot located north of Red Cloud, Nebraska, on Thursday, July 27, 2006. 

Storm clouds hide the sun as it sets over Nebraska's Sand Hills on July 7, 2009, near Thedord, Nebraska. 

A rainbow forms over U.S. Highway 12, just east of Valentine, Nebraska, as storms roll over the area on July 25, 2017. 

The sun sets behind an approaching storm as a car heads west on U.S. Highway 34 near Union, Nebraska, on April 24, 2016. 

Members of the Boats, Bikes, Boots & Brews group head to shore as the sun sets after an evening out on Lake Zorinsky on April 22, 2015. 

Wheat, ready for the combine, is silhouetted by the setting sun as the wheat harvest on the Lagler farm near Grant, Nebraska, was in full swing on July 7, 2005.

A setting sun creates a pink haze on a windmill and the Sand Hills southwest of Rushville, Nebraska, on Sept. 22, 2007. 

Pigeons scatter at sunset as the St. John's steeple is silhouetted against the Woodmen tower in downtown Omaha on Oct. 3, 2014. 

The sun bursts behind the clouds over the North Platte River east of Bridgeport, Nebraska, on July 26, 2006.

The moon rises over the northern cross of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha on Feb. 10, 2017. On this night, there was a full moon, a lunar eclipse and comet 45P passed by the earth. 

As the wind speed picks up, a woman holds onto her hood while crossing 16th Street along Dodge Street in Omaha on Feb. 24, 2017. 

From left: Melody Borcherding, Kseniya Burgoon and Michael Beltz scoop out a vehicle on Jan. 23, 2018, in Norfolk.

Jeff Bachman harvests soybeans and prepares to transfer them as the sun sets on a field near Ayr, Nebraska, on Oct. 19, 2008.

As the sun sets, sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the Platte River at the Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicholson Audubon Center south of Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 12, 2008. 

A pair of sandhill cranes pass in front of the moon shortly after sunrise at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. Sandhill cranes, which mate for life, can live between 20 and 40 years.

An early November storm system rolls through the Great Plains, but Omaha only receives rain, which collected on freshly-fallen leaves on Nov. 11, 2015. 

Cattle head up to a well to get a drink at the end of the day near Sparks, Nebraska, on Aug. 21, 2015. Smoke from the wildfires in the western states created a haze. 

The moon rises above the corn as farmers harvest the last of their fields in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Nov. 5, 2014. 

Two riders help round up part of the 750 head of cattle branded at the Lute Family Ranch, located south of Hyannis, Nebraska, on May 12, 2005. Mick Knott, who runs the ranch, owns about half the cattle, and the Lute Foundation owns the rest. The work started about dawn and finished about noon. 

The rising sun illuminates a tree and a windmill in a snow-covered field located on U.S. Highway 20 between Rushville and Chadron, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017. 

The College Home Run Derby was held at TD Ameritrade Park and was highlighted by The World-Herald's annual Independence Day fireworks display on July 2, 2015. 

The weekend's perfect weather colored the clouds at sunset south of Wymore, Nebraska, on Oct. 23, 2004. 

A leaf is covered in a dusting of snow near 138th and Hickory Streets on Dec. 18, 2014, in Millard. 

A runner emerges from the edge of the rising sun on Sept. 11, 2015, at Zorinsky Lake Park and Recreation Area in Omaha.

Nearly 45 minutes after sunset, an orange and blue glow is seen setting behind the Omaha skyline flanked between trees in Council Bluffs on Jan. 11, 2018. 

The promise of rain is fleeting for the seven windmills on the Watson Ranch north of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on U.S. 71 on May 16, 2004. 

Ralph Remmert is depicted in the mural "Fertile Ground" near 13th and Mike Fahey Streets in north downtown Omaha on June 19, 2017. 

Ralph Kohler, 94, keeps his eyes to the sky for ducks and geese as the sun rises over his hunting pond east of Tekamah, Nebraska, on Nov. 30, 2011. Kohler has been a professional guide for most of his life, and he is preparing for the spring season. 

The sun rises over St. Paul Lutheran Church, located three miles north of Republican City, Nebraska, in March of 2004. 

Cranes walk through the shallow water of the Platte River shortly before sunset near The Crane Trust, which is close to Wood River, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. The river provides cranes with a safe place from predators for rest at night. 

A bespangled vest awaits a rider during Nebraska's Big Rodeo on July 25, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. 

Residents of the Nebraska Panhandle enjoyed unseasonably mild temperatures and cloud cover on Aug. 12, 2004. 

Members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hold their hats as 2013 Miss Burwell Rodeo Olivia Hunsperger passes by during the opening ceremonies on July 27, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. "This may be a small town, but it's got a big rodeo, and it's got a really big heart," Hunsperger said. 

A break in the clouds highlights downtown Omaha as seen from Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, as severe storms passed through the Omaha Metro area on June 5, 2014. 

John Wanief waits for the bus in a shelter at 120th Street and West Center Road as cold rain pours down in Millard on Nov. 11, 2015. 

A red tail hawk perches on a light stanchion backed by the moon and overlooking the property near the Indian Creek development in Omaha on Feb. 27, 2018. 

A woman walks with two dogs in Memorial Park near Dodge Street as many sledders go down the hill in Omaha, Nebraska, on Feb. 2, 2016. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD

Storm clouds are illuminated by the setting sun as people exit a football camp in Lincoln on Friday, June 16, 2017.

Sharon Vencil walks her dogs, Blackie and Whitie, along the Field Club Trail on March 6, 2018, in Omaha. 

The sun rises behind one of seven wind generators as a windmill pumps water for cattle just northwest of Kimball, Nebraska, on Sept. 17, 2002. 

A slightly less than full moon known as a waning gibbous is seen near the colorful Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on June 22, 2016. 

The headlights and taillights on vehicles pass by water droplets on a windshield of a car as high winds, hail and rain hit Omaha on March 23, 2016. 

The sun silhouettes Cecilia Cathedral as it shines through the rain clouds hanging around Omaha on Aug. 12, 2016. 

Three horses graze at sunset in a pasture east of Valentine, Nebraska, along U.S. Highway 12 on July 8, 2014. 

As the sun sets, cattails and trees are highlighted at Island Lake, a popular hunting area at the Crescent Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Garden County, Nebraska, on Nov. 17, 2013. 

Bike Omaha Network is planning to add new bike lanes, trails and wayfinding signs in the coming years. Here's what's up next.

It isn’t your imaginations, Omahans. The time it takes you to get from your home to your office, or your work to your kid’s school, is growing a bit longer. And it’s becoming clear that we need to use our imaginations, Omahans. We need to start getting seriously creative about the different ways we move people around our growing city.

Live Fearless is to live a life free of worry about what may lie ahead. Backed by the compassion of the Cross and the security of the Shield, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska empowers you to Live Fearless.

Johnson said. “I want a protected bike lane and not just two blocks. One extra stripe of paint next to another stripe of paint is not enough to make people feel safe.” People want to know; Are you willing to pay a vehicle (bike) tax to help pay for it?

Actually, the less wear and tear on the streets and roads would be highly beneficial and non damaging to street surfaces. Bike infrastructure is a fraction of the cost of motor vehicle infrastructure / maintenance.

It depends on how it is being done. If these are separate bike trails, that is probably true, but not if you are repurposing existing roadways.

The cost for building a road is the same regardless of whether it is for cars or bicycles. The maintenance cost for a repurposed street lane will be lower for bikes than cars, but the car traffic will increase on the remaining lanes, pushing the maintenance costs for those lanes up.

To those asking about a tax to support bicycle ridership, I think you're actually kind of on the right path. A lot of the infrastructure that goes into creating these networks is not a cheap endeavor. Licensing is a bit unrealistic, but maybe an occupation tax on bicycle sales would help achieve some of these goals. Omaha has proven (unfortunately) that sales taxes can be enforced on a narrow category like restaurants. As such, the people that would most benefit from the creation of the bicycle networks should have a little extra skin in the game to pay for it.

According to my son, a nationally certified urban and regional planner, and a transportation specialist:

The real fallacy is that streets are paid for by user fees (gas tax). Gas tax doesn't even come close to paying for streets, especially at the local level. It is by and large general funds, from taxes paid by all Omahans regardless of their mode of transportation or their preferences, that pays for our overbuilt and unsustainable car system. So bicyclists are helping to pay for the very car-focused transportation system that doesn't serve them, and which actually endangers them. They're helping pay to fill all those potholes Omaha drivers love to complain about (which by the way are caused by motor vehicles but pose a gravely higher threat to bicyclists).

As has already been pointed out, bicycles cause virtually zero wear and tear to streets, and the more people who walk or bicycle rather than drive, the longer the streets will stay in good condition, and the more funding that will be available for other improvements and programs.

Moreover, most bicyclists also drive a considerable amount, especially in a typical American city like Omaha with poor transportation alternatives, and are also paying gas tax.

Finally, bicyclists and others who do not to drive or who drive less (whether by choice or not) are actually helping mitigate virtually every negative effect and externality that stems from the car system, and there are many.

The notion that bicyclists, or the local bicycle industry should be taxed or charged extra fees to pay for a transportation system that actually respects and protects them, is absolutely ludicrous and foolish.

The notion that bicyclists, or the local bicycle industry should NOT be taxed or charged extra fees to pay for a transportation system that actually respects and protects them, is absolutely ludicrous and foolish.

Most people who bike in an auto-dominated city like Omaha also own a car. We're paying taxes. Every person you can get onto their bike is one less car on the road, one less parking spot you need at each destination.

Further, a connected bike lane network that is protected (paint is not protection) is one of the key factors in attracting and keeping tech talent and other highly sought-after workers that drive the economy. They are horizontal billboards that say, "we care about people and want our residents to be happy."

Finally, the idea that you are paying for the roads with your registration and gas tax is ludicrous. Most of that money comes from bonds... we are billing our children for the unsustainable road network we have built. If the gas tax covered your costs of driving, it would be more than $1.00 a gallon and you'd be at the bike shop pretty quickly.

Most cities, but unfortunately not Omaha, consider sidewalks as modes of transportation. Would you propose a 'foot' or 'walking' tax for those who use sidewalks? Extra fees for transit users as they are also pedestrians? What about those who pay taxes and don't own motor vehicles? Taxation or extra 'use' fees is not the answer.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

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Drinking a smoothie is a great way to get lots of nutrition in a tasty treat, and in the hot summer months, they tend to sound even more enticing.

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