The Challenge: Omaha’s Benson area needed broad improvements from 59th Street through 63rd Street and along Military Avenue. Of specific concern to local leaders was pedestrian accessibility. Old brick pavers and damaged sidewalks were not ADA-compliant, and the crossing distance between streets needed to be reduced. The Benson Downtown Improvement District along with the City of Omaha were determined to improve the area.
The Solution: Partnering with our Transportation team, the Benson Downtown Improvement District and the City of Omaha received multiple grants to fund their project. We reconstructed sidewalks, curbs, inlets, and bump-outs (nodes) and made visual appeal improvements by adding landscaping and seating. In addition, the project included relocating most overhead electrical facilities within the project along Military Avenue with underground lines, opening the area up visually within the corridor. We coordinated the additional street lighting with OPPD.
Project Benefits: By prioritizing public involvement, we received insight that only stakeholders and daily users of the area could provide about the area. The community wanted better parking, including additional parking, handicap parking, and access during construction. The project was initially perceived as going to negatively affect parking (by lost stalls) but through discussions and additional fundraising, the area actually gained parking stalls with improvements along 61st Street. In working with city planning staff, all trees removed with the project were replaced with new species that are adapted to be placed in a concrete environment.