Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Public input sought for future west Sarpy transportation

The farms and fields of southwestern Sarpy County are starting to sprout shopping centers and subdivisions.

Land-use planners expect that, by 2050, the largely rural area from Schram Road south to the Platte River, and from Papillion to Gretna, will add 28,000 residents and 18,000 new jobs.

That’s more than a six-fold increase from today.

“Right now, it’s very rural,” said Jim Boerner, a transportation planner with the Metropolitan Area Planning Agency. “But it’s already growing, with industrial and residential development.”

All that growth will require new and wider thoroughfares in an area that now is crisscrossed by miles and miles of two-lane country roads.

MAPA and the four local governments that comprise the area — Papillion, Gretna, Springfield, and Sarpy County — are inviting residents to weigh in on future roads and trails in western Sarpy County.

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It’s part of a process called WE-STEP (for Western Sarpy Transportation Enhancement Plan), begun in 2022 to map out the look of the road and trail network decades into the future.

Through April 8, WE-STEP is holding an “online public meeting” through its website, WesternSarpyTEP.com to allow the public to review ideas developed by a committee of public works, planning, and city and county administrative representatives.

The meeting features a 13-page slide show explaining the WE-STEP program, which concludes with an interactive map that highlights the proposed road network.

* Expanding 168th Street and 192nd Street to four lanes and Pflug Road to six lanes as divided arterials designed to move traffic quickly between areas — similar to 144th Street in west Omaha.

* Building Schram, Capehart, Fairview, Platteview and Ruff Roads (east-west) and 84th, 96th, 108th, 120th, 132nd, 156th, 180th, 204th and 234th Streets (north-south) into more urban-style four-lane divided roads, similar to Blondo Street in northwest Omaha.

* Adding greenways from the Platte River north to Gretna and to Papillion, connecting with the existing MoPac Trail.

* Adding numerous bike- and pedestrian-friendly trail crossings, especially along U.S. Highway 6 in Gretna and the future Platteview Expressway.

Boerner described the work as a “broad-brush” planning process, designed so that the county and cities are working together to develop the future transportation network, while keeping their own character.

He also stressed that all these plans are still just ideas. WE-STEP planners want the public’s feedback.

“This is a framework — working to have something to start with,” he said. “It’s definitely not set in stone.”

He said the committee will take that feedback and produce a report this summer. The governing bodies of the county and the three cities will then have a chance to review and vote on the report.


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