Make-believe transit systems connect Runza restaurants in Omaha and Lincoln

Make-believe transit systems connect Runza restaurants in Omaha and Lincoln
Carlos Velasco's vision of a transit system connecting Omaha's Runza restaurants. CARLOS VELASCO

What’s more Nebraskan than Runza? How about make-believe transit systems connecting Runza restaurants.

Recent University of Nebraska-Lincoln graphic design graduate Carlos Velasco, 23, has created imaginative transit maps of Omaha and Lincoln where every stop is a Runza.

He was inspired by a member of a mass transit Facebook group who designed a pretend Milwaukee system connecting Culver’s restaurants.

“I thought that’s a really neat idea, that’s really funny,” he said by phone from New York, where he works as a graphic designer. “One day, I had some free time during my vacation, so I thought I’d plot it out.”

The Mexican-born Velasco, raised in Shelby, Nebraska, spent about an hour dreaming up and sketching out two systems of transit lines on his computer. Then he posted it to Facebook.

Omaha’s map includes yellow, red, green and blue lines named “cabbage,” “Husker,” “Nebraska” and “ranch,” respectively. The lines feed from Bennington, Elkhorn, west Omaha, Gretna, Springfield and Bellevue to connecting hubs at 50th and Center Streets and 30th and Farnam Streets, with the line terminating in Council Bluffs.

“For the Omaha one, I see it serving as a commuter line,” he said, “but I think there’s a huge disservice to north and South Omaha.”

In Lincoln, Velasco’s map includes an offshoot stop at UNL’s now-closed Runza in the student union as a tribute to his favorite Runza, gone but never forgotten.

These are the first transit maps Velasco has created for Omaha and Lincoln, but they might not be the last. He has the skills, the creativity and, well…

“I just have a lot of free time.”