Looking back 100 years, Mode Shift Chair Liz Veazey can appreciate the job that streetcars once did for Omaha.
“In terms of transportation, streetcars were a lower cost for everyone and provided better mobility for more people than what we have now, which almost requires people to have a car to get around Omaha,” she said.
Mode Shift advocates for transportation options that enhance quality of life and opportunities for everyone to live, work and play in Omaha, Veazey said.
It’s been a tough haul in a metro area that since the close of the streetcar era in 1955, has shoveled most of its resources toward improving car transportation, Veazey said. That’s despite the fact that for people without a vehicle, it can be challenging to move easily around the city.
But things are changing, she and Stephen Osberg said. He’s the director of transportation development for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce.
“We have made some steps in the right direction, but they are just the initial steps, and we have a long way to go,” he said. “It’s just a systemic change we need to make. It’s going to take some time for sure. I do think in 10 years, we’ll see the fruits of our labors.”
They aren’t necessarily saying streetcars are the answer, although they were crucial to getting around in their day.