Andrew D. Bartholet
Parking at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has become more complicated and more expensive this year. Save yourself the headache, rush and cost that comes with driving to school and consider utilizing the Metro Bus System instead.
Although driving has long been Omaha’s preferred mode of transportation, the city is growing, and so is UNO. As the population on campus continues to increase, parking will only become more difficult to afford and more of a headache to navigate. Most students, like me, typically arrive to school in the morning and leave sometime in the afternoon or evening. We have plenty of flexibility when it comes to arrival and departure time which makes the bus a viable option.
The “Number 2” route runs east and west on Dodge Street and passes each stop every 15 minutes. The route starts at 11th and Dodge and runs all the way to Westroads Mall. I walk five short blocks from my home on Howard Street and catch this route at 33rd and Dodge. I take it all the way to 62nd and Dodge, right in front of Durham Science Center. The route takes 10 minutes, and I spend eight minutes to walk to my stop. Therefore, if I time it perfectly, I can get to school in 18 minutes.
When I drive, it still takes me 10 minutes to get from 33rd to 62nd with lights and traffic, but I spend about five or 10 or minutes finding a spot. The spot I find is usually a few minutes away from my class, sometimes more if I have to park across campus. Taking the bus is obviously faster, even if I allow myself four or five extra minutes to walk to my stop.
Taking the bus is also more enjoyable than driving. When I ride the bus, I always arrive comfortably early to class because I have to pick the 15-minute interval that gets me there before it starts. I always allow extra time to get to my stop just in case I get distracted by some of the scenery along the way. When I drive, I usually leave at the last minute and count on getting lucky with a parking spot. This seldom works out, and I usually end up rushing to class.
Obviously, when I take the bus I do not have to concentrate on driving. Therefore, I am free to prepare for class, read or soak in the scenery on my way to school. I could even take breakfast with me if I was running late, and I could eat it safely on the road.
All Metro routes are free to UNO students and faculty. Three routes connect with the UNO campus, the 2, 11 and 15. The bus can get you from Village Point to the Old Market and from Highway 370 to Sorenson Parkway. Even if you are not in walking distance to a stop, there are numerous places where commuters can “park and ride.” If you like to have a bike on campus, all Metro busses have bike racks mounted on the front.
Omaha’s transportation infrastructure must constantly evolve to meet the changing needs of the city. Mode Shift Omaha is a nonprofit that advocates for sustainable, accessible and life-improving transportation options for Omahans. Check out their website modeshiftomaha.org for useful information and actionable causes related to making Omaha a more navigable city.