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DavidGlover
05-18-2008, 10:21 AM
The building is great but what is really amazing is where all the rail lines go, Tinker, Will Rogers, Norman, Tulsa and to all major points in the state. Isn't it a shame to tear all those lines up for the just highways and cars? Is there some way for the the rail lines to be preserved? Seems like Union Rail Yard is a jewel that once gone seals the fate of highways and cars over a future smart good public transit hub for the state.

Kerry
05-19-2008, 11:01 AM
DG - have you seen the condition of the rail yard? It is beyond salvageable. The only good part about it is the right-of-way but that can be purchased somewhere else, like under the new boulevard. A little cut and cover when the new iconic road is built and downtown OKC would have a really nice underground main rail station connected to Core to Shore, downtown, the Conncourse system, Bricktown, The Ford Center, and the new convention center. No way could Union Station compete with that.

David Pollard
05-20-2008, 02:22 PM
Have a look at this place called "Chijmes" in Singapore. It is a wonderful complex of restaurant and entertainment venues that were created out of a former convent. The atmosphere is unique in the world, but given the architectural heritage of union Station, I could see a similar restoration and use for OKC. It would take vision and courage, but anchoring C2S with such a location would be an automatic draw for development in the area.

First thing though.... get rid of that post-office building in front of the station!

CHIJMES (http://www.chijmes.com.sg/default.htm)

Tom Elmore
05-20-2008, 06:01 PM
The rail yard at OKC Union Station is "beyond salvagable?"

What?

What qualified individual would make such an assertion?

Now that all seem to agree that the Union Station terminal building is everything those of us who have been fighting for for nearly 20 years have claimed it is -- I guess I'd have to say, "welcome -- what took you so long?"

The original platform tracks were laid with 90 lb per yard rail. It was removed in a "progressive maintenance salvage operation" a few years ago. Modern standards call for at least 115 lb per yard rail. Relaying the yard lines per some modern update of the original plan is no problem. It would have needed to have been done anyway.

The platform shelters could be easily rebuilt.

Obviously, the important, irreplaceable aspect is the primary capital engineering -- grading, access, etc. With respect to those things, the yard is precisely as designed today.

Compare it to the "all new Ft. Worth Intermodal Center" -- where Heartland Flyer patrons must cross live rail lines carrying regular, fast Trinity Railway Express commuter trains, on foot, at grade.

The pedestrian and freight tunnels like those at OKC Union Station are expensive -- which is why you can't afford to destroy them if you already have them.

Anybody go into the passenger tunnels? Express freight tunnels?

Anybody know that Thurman Magbee deliberately built modular office space in the grand waiting room of stick and drywall -- so it could be easily removed to return the station to its original grandeur for passenger service?

Note that most of the surface floor space of the terminal building is Mail, Baggage and Express handling facility. That accurately portrays the classic "revenue pie" that traditionally supported intercity commercial passenger services.

Oh -- and that "Post Office?" That's why it's there.

So it goes in Oklahoma City.

Welcome to the Post 9-11-01 World. Glad you've noticed the tools we need to function in it.

TOM ELMORE

Pete
05-21-2008, 12:11 PM
Tom,

I know you have been preaching the virtues of Union Station and the existing infrastructure for some time.

With the I-40 relocation, is reestablishing it as a functioning rail station still doable? Do you think that is still the best way to proceed with passenger rail in OKC?



Anybody go into the passenger tunnels? Express freight tunnels?

Anybody know that Thurman Magbee deliberately built modular office space in the grand waiting room of stick and drywall -- so it could be easily removed to return the station to its original grandeur for passenger service?

I was told the passenger tunnels were being used for storage and that they weren't readily accessible.

And yes, as I pointed out in this thread, the walls and second floor added in the larger rooms were clearly placed on top of the original floors and don't seem to have inflicted any permanent damage. Thank goodness for that!

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 01:45 PM
One of the reasons ODOT and its minions deliberately planned "a new Crosstown" through the Union Station yard was that they wanted rid of that facility. They know what it means -- and are determined to deny its use to the people of the state.

That, alone, is at least as important to them as any "new highway."

And Istook -- what does he care about "a New Crosstown?" I'd argue it's entirely clar that what he was determined to fund was the destruction of our rail center.

(Think I'm exaggerating? Not one bit.)

These are bad peole -- doing bad things for bad reasons. (Clear enough?)

I repeat: Intelligent reuse of Union Station is the only hope Oklahomans now living have of seeing a comprehensive, regional, multimodal transit system in their lifetimes.

Cornett and company know it. That's precisely why they want it gone.

As noted: Bad people doing bad things for bad reasons. (Ever been threated with "a thousand cops" by the Mayor's pecksniffian little assistant? Ever spent a night or two in the Okla. County lockup -- while you're trying to put a transit forum together?)

The tunnels, etc., are readily accessible -- and should be seen. Meet me down there. I'll show you.

Union Station is the answer. I know of no other answer -- but I sure know why those attempting to destroy it pretend "other answers are no big deal."\

Hey apart from reverent, intelligent reuse of the gifts of our forbears -- all that's required is "time and money" -- and Oklahoma is fresh out of both.

Check the sound and video files, as well as the links on the North American Transportation Institute website (yes, I know, long overdue for update). Also check the Union Station section at "nomoron," which is a "dot com."

TOM ELMORE

Pete
05-21-2008, 02:12 PM
Tom,

Before I even read your last post I did see the videos and slideshow and listened to the podcasts.

Your comparison of Dallas' multi-modal rail station was especially enlightening because it seems we actually have better infrastructure for what they have done -- and could do it better.


However, it seems this battle has already been lost. I can't imagine how the railyard can be saved with all the money, work and plans that have already been committed.

I would suggest the best hope is that Union Station itself is preserved.

BoulderSooner
05-21-2008, 02:19 PM
One of the reasons ODOT and its minions deliberately planned "a new Crosstown" through the Union Station yard was that they wanted rid of that facility. They know what it means -- and are determined to deny its use to the people of the state.

That, alone, is at least as important to them as any "new highway."

And Istook -- what does he care about "a New Crosstown?" I'd argue it's entirely clar that what he was determined to fund was the destruction of our rail center.

(Think I'm exaggerating? Not one bit.)

These are bad peole -- doing bad things for bad reasons. (Clear enough?)

I repeat: Intelligent reuse of Union Station is the only hope Oklahomans now living have of seeing a comprehensive, regional, multimodal transit system in their lifetimes.

Cornett and company know it. That's precisely why they want it gone.

As noted: Bad people doing bad things for bad reasons. (Ever been threated with "a thousand cops" by the Mayor's pecksniffian little assistant? Ever spent a night or two in the Okla. County lockup -- while you're trying to put a transit forum together?)

The tunnels, etc., are readily accessible -- and should be seen. Meet me down there. I'll show you.

Union Station is the answer. I know of no other answer -- but I sure know why those attempting to destroy it pretend "other answers are no big deal."\

Hey apart from reverent, intelligent reuse of the gifts of our forbears -- all that's required is "time and money" -- and Oklahoma is fresh out of both.

Check the sound and video files, as well as the links on the North American Transportation Institute website (yes, I know, long overdue for update). Also check the Union Station section at "nomoron," which is a "dot com."

TOM ELMORE

your bias is so sad it is almost funny ... you repeating something over and over doesn't make it true ...

union station was in a horrible location for a transit hub ... with out the cross town moving it would have remained basically in the ghetto ..

we will have a new transit center most likely as part of maps 3 ...

called very civic minded leaders "bad" people is funny ... are you in jr high??

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 02:22 PM
I've apparently been places you haven't been and seen things you haven't seen, Boulder -- or is that possible?

TOM ELMORE

PennyQuilts
05-21-2008, 02:25 PM
Wow, that place is just lovely!

Pete
05-21-2008, 02:36 PM
Tom,

It seems the only way to really push your conclusions (and observations) into the limelight is to summarize them in such a way that is supported by facts.

You've got lots of data and information out there but unless you can present a very compelling case, the train (excuse the euphemism) has already left the station in terms of the new I-40 alignment.

I admire your dedication and passion to this cause. It certainly can't be for self-gain so I no one should have any reason to doubt your motives.

It seems to me you have one last chance to save the rail infrastructure you see as so vital... And that is to document the corruption you claim is behind all this.

If you've already done this in a concise way, I'd certainly like to see it and I'm sure others would as well. If you don't want to do it for personal reasons, I can understand that as well.

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 02:59 PM
Pete, there's plenty of precedent for what's happening here -- specifically going back to the completely unbelieveable destruction of Penn Station in NYC.

Read Lorraine Diehl's book, "The Late, Great Pennsylvania Station." There's plenty of reference to it on the web.

How could it have happened?

It may have been architect / critic Philip Johnson who said of that "temple of capitalism," "it is inconceiveable that such a patrimony would have been sacrificed by reasonable leaders."

Inconceivable?

Ask 'em in Salt Lake City -- where they hard-headedly turned the historic equivalent to OKC Union Station's yard over to a developer for a "retail mall" -- apparently just a couple of years prior to the coming of Light Rail.

They wouldn't take "no" for an answer...

When the rail finally came, finally showed its incredible capabilities under the world spotlight of the Winter Olympics, the disastrous mistake that had been insistently, self-righteously made was plain for all to see.

As Utah Transit Director John Inglish told me and St. Louis Citizens for Modern Transit XD Tom Shrout on March 11, 2003, "...we'll never live it down." Nor, he indicated, will what they will be able to produce as a "replacement" -- at the cost of millions and millions of dollars and a lot of precious time -- ever come near what they might have had if only they'd had a little more patience, a little more vision.

Heck -- there's the Titanic.

King Saul.

"OKC Urban Renewal."

History is strewn with the wreckage demanded by arrogant hubris. Somehow, it's "always a surprise" to some. But arrogant hubris is ever with us -- which is why Justice Robert H. Jackson, echoing the warnings of statesmen through the ages -- warns us that the job of the citizen is "to keep government from falling into error."

Hard to do that job "waving pom poms."

In NYC, they still mourn and bleed -- and bleed and mourn over Penn Station. Penn Station is ever with them -- in movies, in print, in photographs. Those whose fathers and mothers could not bring themselves to stand effectively against the profaning of that monument would now be happy to have just a crumb from the table of Mead, McKim and White, architects. So -- they've long worked to transform the Farley Post Office, directly across the street -- into "the new Penn Station."

The Farley, of course, was near Penn Station for a reason -- and the rail tunnels serve it, as well.

In a strange irony, though -- it will always be "the Farley" -- and never be the genuine article, though "called" Penn Station. It will always be a bittersweet "thumb-in-the-eye" of all who know what happened and why it happened.

This is precisely why we've long said -- in a state manifestly short on history and historic structures -- we should view the Union Station yard as the gift of our great grandparents to our own grandchildren. We should consider "what we're leaving them" (massive, burgeoning debt, born of vain, stupid, narcissism and greed) -- and ask ourselves, standing in the shadow of many wiser generations than our own, "What qualifies us to deny this gift to those who will come after us?"

Settle for "saving just the terminal building?"

Just a thumb in the eye -- as long as the city stands; a testament to the foolishness and profanity of this generation.

With all the power that was arrayed against it, there were those who couldn't imagine the Walnut Bridge, refurbished and bright, still standing today a few years back. But there it stands -- because the battle was fought where the battle actually was. ... and the laughable editorial writers of the "state's largest newspaper" are still pouting about it like fourth graders in the dunce corner.

Am I making guarantees?

I wouldn't do so. But the battle is being fought today where the battle actually is.

Can we win this fight? You can't do anything if you don't try. You can't win a fight if you don't get back up when you're knocked down.

I'll be dadgummed if I'm gonna let a bunch of cheap politicians "talk me out of" protecting our grandchildrens' heritage.

TOM ELMORE

Kerry
05-21-2008, 03:48 PM
Let me know how the battle against the windmills goes.

sethsrott
05-21-2008, 03:54 PM
Amen to that =))

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 04:07 PM
The battle against the windmills?

Let me suggest you'll get a "better view" from the Walnut Bridge, or perhaps from the Oklahoma Railway Museum.

I guess you figure citizenship is "a spectator sport?"

TOM

edcrunk
05-21-2008, 04:15 PM
i can't believe that istook and cornett did that to salt lake and new york city! i had no idea this highway conspiracy is far reaching and they are truly bad men!
hahah
anyways, you're blowing a lot of hot air but few facts. your attitude in your first post was that we believe the way we do because we don't understand the purpose of an intermodal station and are also ignorant to the facts (and would, of course believe as you do if enlightened). so who is to benefit the rail yard being gone? why are the politicians doing their dirty work? and isn't rail being proposed for maps 3? why would a new intermodal station not work in a more convenient location?
you've yet to say anything to convince me. so please do it... for the sake of my grandchildren

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 04:25 PM
Maybe you can tell me what proportion of annual contributions to the "Federal Highway Trust Fund" is provided by the industry that damages federal roads the most -- and "who pays the rest?"

My attitude is to tell you what I know. What you make of it is your business.

I suspect, however, the air "smells a lot different" if what you're breathing hasn't been filtered through some of these fine politicians first.

You might wanna give it a try sometime.

TOM ELMORE

BoulderSooner
05-21-2008, 04:29 PM
Maybe you can tell me what proportion of annual contributions to the "Federal Highway Trust Fund" is provided by the industry that damages federal roads the most -- and "who pays the rest?"

My attitude is to tell you what I know. What you make of it is your business.

I suspect, however, the air "smells a lot different" if what you're breathing hasn't been filtered through some of these fine politicians first.

You might wanna give it a try sometime.

TOM ELMORE

clearly .. you know very little .. as far as facts go .. your jaded view of things and revisionist history .. don't help sell your opinions ..

you want to "make a difference" ... then give some facts ...

and and the walnutt bridge .. it is great that it was saved .. but i would not have been that big of a deal if it was gone ..

sethsrott
05-21-2008, 04:36 PM
Tom, you are starting to sound like a broken record...a hostile broken record! (chuckles when he pictures a mental image)


I suspect, however, the air "smells a lot different" if what you're breathing hasn't been filtered through some of these fine politicians first.

What on earth is that supposed to mean? other than the fact that 1) existing crosstown is crumbling 2) if OKC/ODOT started light rail service today, the crosstown would still need moving (not everyone will take the train , New York is a great example, they have the most advance and used mass transit system in the country and they still have cars on the road) 3) we are tired of chunks of our highway falling through to the street underneath.

Shouldn't you be advocating Freight Rail (why would we want that downtown) more than passenger because if you were insinuating by you "the industry that damages federal rads the most" by trucking that a passenger rail service wouldn't save the roads a bit...pick a side

Tom Elmore
05-21-2008, 04:46 PM
Suffice it to say that today's Oklahoma seems to be uniquely afflicted with those who "know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Those who consistently make a difference know enough to work where the desired outcome is possible. Along the way, others who "have ears to hear" will presumably do so.

It's a question of attitude and general understanding.

Ultimately, I've observed that "work is expensive -- talk is cheap."

It's only natural that any accomplishment, especially when "originally pronounced impossible" would mean more to those who'd worked to bring it about than to those who did not do so.

As I recall, that's what the children's fable, "The Little Red Hen" is all about. But, then, that's also partly what Al Capp's famous comic strip "Lil' Abner" was about."

I wish you all the "best possible outcomes..."

TOM ELMORE

BoulderSooner
05-21-2008, 05:24 PM
Suffice it to say that today's Oklahoma seems to be uniquely afflicted with those who "know the price of everything and the value of nothing."

Those who consistently make a difference know enough to work where the desired outcome is possible. Along the way, others who "have ears to hear" will presumably do so.

It's a question of attitude and general understanding.

Ultimately, I've observed that "work is expensive -- talk is cheap."

It's only natural that any accomplishment, especially when "originally pronounced impossible" would mean more to those who'd worked to bring it about than to those who did not do so.

As I recall, that's what the children's fable, "The Little Red Hen" is all about. But, then, that's also partly what Al Capp's famous comic strip "Lil' Abner" was about."

I wish you all the "best possible outcomes..."

TOM ELMORE

funny .. because .. i was going to say that so far you have shown to be all "talk" and no substance ..

betts
05-21-2008, 05:25 PM
Huh?

The Old Downtown Guy
05-21-2008, 06:13 PM
. . . .and and the walnutt bridge .. it is great that it was saved .. but i would not have been that big of a deal if it was gone ..

. . . . Walnut Avenue Viaduct to be totally accurate. But, that's not important.

Obviously you never sat down with the engineering drawings of the Walnut Avenue four lane, twenty degree inclined street, complete with the railroad crossing at the bottom of the hill, surrounded by concrete retaining walls reaching thirty feet in height.

Thatís the short description of the street that, then, OKC Public Works Director Paul Brum and Bricktown developer (small d) Jim Brewer, tried to pass off as a lovely tree lined boulevard to replace the historic bridge, for which you display so little appreciation. Fortunately, there were a few people that didn't think it was a good trade.

But, apparently you no longer haunt these streets BoulderSooner. So how does life in Boulder differ from OKC. Does our little town look appealing from afar? How long have you been gone? Planning on returning?

All the best.

edcrunk
05-21-2008, 06:49 PM
i'm very happy the former walnut strret bridge turned out like it did. i come at it from a historical standpoint.

Kerry
05-21-2008, 07:20 PM
How much of the original Walnut Street bridge survived the rebuilding?

BoulderSooner
05-22-2008, 03:15 PM
. . . . Walnut Avenue Viaduct to be totally accurate. But, that's not important.

Obviously you never sat down with the engineering drawings of the Walnut Avenue four lane, twenty degree inclined street, complete with the railroad crossing at the bottom of the hill, surrounded by concrete retaining walls reaching thirty feet in height.

Thatís the short description of the street that, then, OKC Public Works Director Paul Brum and Bricktown developer (small d) Jim Brewer, tried to pass off as a lovely tree lined boulevard to replace the historic bridge, for which you display so little appreciation. Fortunately, there were a few people that didn't think it was a good trade.

But, apparently you no longer haunt these streets BoulderSooner. So how does life in Boulder differ from OKC. Does our little town look appealing from afar? How long have you been gone? Planning on returning?

All the best.


you are correct that i never saw those plans .. and if that was the only other option i am glad we kept the bridge ..


I live in okc .. in midtown .. have not lived in boulder in 6 years or so .. and have lived in oklahoma for most of the past 13 years .. and have visited my entire life

wsucougz
05-22-2008, 03:22 PM
The bridge is cool. If I'm ever in Bricktown, I always park in Deep Deuce nestled up on the other side of the bridge and walk down. Nice views, especially at night when Nonna's is all lit up.

The Old Downtown Guy
05-22-2008, 03:34 PM
you are correct that i never saw those plans .. and if that was the only other option i am glad we kept the bridge ..


I live in okc .. in midtown .. have not lived in boulder in 6 years or so .. and have lived in oklahoma for most of the past 13 years .. and have visited my entire life

Good to know neighbor. Perhaps change your online name to SoonerBoulderSooner. lol

BG918
05-22-2008, 03:47 PM
The bridge is cool. If I'm ever in Bricktown, I always park in Deep Deuce nestled up on the other side of the bridge and walk down. Nice views, especially at night when Nonna's is all lit up.

I LOVE that view. It will look even better once the Cotton Exchange buildings are built on the canal.

The Old Downtown Guy
05-22-2008, 03:59 PM
How much of the original Walnut Street bridge survived the rebuilding?

Excellent question Kerry, thanks for asking it.

Only the structural columns, which represents about 30% of the total mass of the bridge, are original and even they are replacements of the original originals. All of the deck and balustrade were replicated pretty faithfully except the pedestrian walkway lost it's inset metal grid pattern and the stairs didn't receive metal noses like the original. Also, the concrete was coated to achieve an appearance closer in color to the concrete used in the original.

The lights, which are well worth having a close look at, are a special story. They are exact replicas cast in the same molds and fabricated by the same company that provided the originals. No one knew what happened to the original light poles which were removed about twenty five years ago, and there was no record of where they came from. Then, a former Paseo resident, public planner and weekly Gold Dome protester, Todd Scott, discovered quite by accident, that one of those original light poles was in the front yard of a Heritage Hills home. The manufacturer was identified and contacted to provide the new lighting.

So, now the new bridge extends the rich history of the one it replaced into our time and beyond. . . . one of the greatest benefits to preserving our historic buildings and other structures are the stories they can tell in photos and stories in newspapers and magazines, and now this Internet forum, through the voices of the people that fought for their survival.

OKCisOK4me
05-23-2008, 09:36 PM
All I gotta say about US is, yeah, it's a nice structure...but considering a mill of us drive cars and there's no (nor will there be for a few years to come if added in a Maps 3) commuter trains as part of the OKC transportation program as we speak--the US rail yard needs to go. I would like to not worry about my car falling through a hole on I-40 and that will be taken care of once the new route is put in to use!

The Old Downtown Guy
05-23-2008, 11:01 PM
All I gotta say about US is, yeah, it's a nice structure...but considering a mill of us drive cars and there's no (nor will there be for a few years to come if added in a Maps 3) commuter trains as part of the OKC transportation program as we speak--the US rail yard needs to go. I would like to not worry about my car falling through a hole on I-40 and that will be taken care of once the new route is put in to use!

Print this thread off, put it in a drawer then look at it in twenty five years.

jbrown84
05-25-2008, 02:49 PM
I have to say this thread is beyond tedious.

I never knew the Illuminati were so interested in a few sets of railroad tracks in Oklahoma City...

oneforone
05-26-2008, 01:11 AM
I think this place needs to be preserved and transformed into a new public event center.

It could be used for city and state events, performances, meetings, formal functions, weddings, graduations, conventions and the uses could be endless.

As soon as the new crosstown is complete, I am willing to bet you will see an explosion of development in that area.

If it was not for the I-40 relocation the rail yard would have just continued to rot. Nobody wants to open anything new near homeless central.

edcrunk
05-26-2008, 03:11 AM
the problems i see with what TOM ELMORE is proposing.

1. he wants patrons to ride to union station and catch a bus to the CBD, the FORD CENTER, BRICKTOWN / BALLPARK, HOTELS, the future CONVENTION CENTER...
does it not make more sense to have an intermodal station on the cusp of those popular destinations like many other cities do?

2. he doesn't want the train yard destroyed because it has rail that connects to outlying cities across the state.
the reason why the heartland flyer only runs twice a day is due to the fact that it shares the tracks with freight traffic.
if any of these rail lines is being used by freight traffic... then they too will only be able to run twice a day. this is not the 1900's. even people from small towns would rather come to the city and leave as they please than spend all day in town everytime they come to the city.
HE HAS ALSO FAILED TO MENTION THAT THE HEARTLAND FLYER HAS TO BE SUBSIDIZED BY 2 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR BECAUSE IT DOES NOT MAKE MONEY!!!
so if the heartland flyer can't support itself (and there are a million reasons one would need to travel to dallas) then please tell me how a train to elk city is gonna make it.

3. if you look at any city that has light rail... they follow the highways. there are stops at every highway junction and multiple points in between. have you ever rode the TRINITY RAILWAY EXPRESS? this is the type of heavy rail that i believe he is proposing. there are VERY few stops and you get incredible views of the beautiful FT. WORTH BARRIO! it's the grossest thing i've ever seen and leaves one with the worst impression of that town. however, it is a necessity to link the DFW METROPLEX in that way. i don't recall us having another major city that travels to ours to work every day. anyways, do many of these local lines not go thru some of the ugliest parts of our city as well in order to get to these destinations around the state?

4. i do not want to go out of my way 10 miles to drive straight thru my city. that is just retarded, bro! also, i love driving I-40 because i have a PASSION for OKC's downtown.

5. once the old crosstown is destroyed... wouldn't the new boulevard provide a right of way for light rail? (this isn't a problem, but a counter to one of his arguments.)


look guys, we have millions of visitors that drive on I-40 thru our city and whether we like it or not... we get judged by what they see when they do make that drive. when DALLAS redid 75/CENTRAL EXPRESSWAY... they turned that highway into a work of art, just like we're doing. whenever we brought in out of town bands or dj's to dallas... i purposely drove them down that highway to go eat or what not. just cuz i wanted them to leave with a good impression of my city.
this is okc's chance to do that. the street bridges over the crosstown and the pedestrian bridge are gonna be something fantastic. C2S is not only gonna allow our CBD to expand, but also give us a chance to beautify our city. i can't wait for the retail, the condos and that big green park! hanging out by the river... watching boats, kids flying kites, a big ass ferris wheel on the other side! it's gonna set okc in a positive new direction for the next 30 years.
yes, union station will be it's center piece! it's a grand building and once the post office and the all the other crap is razed and C2S starts to take shape... it will be our crown jewel. whatever it morphs into will be a storied building with an amazing past. it won't lose it's history or it's soul despite what some may say.


[steps off soapbox]

o0 3DW@RD!CU$$ 0o

MySpace.com - 3DW@RD!CU$$ [crunktronic] - 35 - Male - OKLAHOMA CITY [four oh five], OKLAHOMA - www.myspace.com/edcrunk (http://www.myspace.com/edcrunk)
www.dancerobotsdance.com

Tom Elmore
05-26-2008, 09:26 AM
Light rail follows highways? What do highways follow? Strange, isn't it, that I-40 parallels the Rock Island Choctaw Route alignment. US 77 / I-35 parallels the ATSF Red Rock subdivision (completed in 1888) -- although urban portions of 35 actually lie on the former Oklahoma Railway right of way to the south as do segments of the Broadway Extension north to Edmond.

US 66 / I-44 comes into town from Tulsa along the St. Louis and San Francisco. Old US 62 / SH 152 runs beside this line southwest to Will Rogers Airport, Wheatland and Mustang. West of Mustang, US 81 parallels the Rock Island Twin Star Line.

The Heartland Flyer only runs twice a day because it shares tracks with freight traffic? Strange, isn't it, that the Santa Fe ran multiple daily passenger trains on the same lines, as did the Frisco and Rock Island on theirs? (Those who forget the lessons of history are condemned to repeat them. Those who don't know history -- should probably to go study up on it some before they try to talk about it...)

Perhaps a ground breaking, profit-sharing, "system train," carrying mail and express and expedited boxcar business, would be given priority over all other traffic -- as was always done with the railroads' own passenger trains? (Precisely what THE FLYER was supposed to be...)

Why is it that the HEARTLAND FLYER was stubbed at Brewer's "no bathrooms" depot in Oklahoma City -- instead of carrying mail and express between Kansas City and Ft. Worth as it was designed by former Amtrak VP Ed Ellis to do from the outset, which would have made it a self-supporting service? Apparently because Neal McCaleb -- then "director of ODOT" (1999) -- as well as Secretary of Transportation and director of the Turnpike Authority -- didn't want a self-supporting passenger train running around loose in a state he was drowing in highway debt.

If "making money" is the standard of acceptability for transportation modes, why was it "a good thing" for state legislators to gin up another $300 million in bond debt trying to support public road maintenance? (Especially considering that the infamous "Billion Dollar Highway Package of 1997" -- another "Neal McCaleb production" to "fix all our highway woes" contained around $300 million in bond funding. None of that money [not a dime] was ever used for "maintenance." Though sold as a "ten year program," the money was burned up in around two years -- although the last increment of annual debt service was paid in just the last couple of years. The payment was $69 million. ODOT couldn't afford it. The legislature "picked it up" -- $69 million that will never fill a pothole or tar a seam. And in the wake of that "billion dollars," "unfunded highway maintenance need" jumped from $11 billion in 1996 to over $40 billion by 2002! A strategy worthy of repetition, yes?)

...and why is it that political and transit leaders from Dallas, Denver and Salt Lake have kindly, but bluntly urged the preservation and reuse of OKC Union Station? Why would Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson, in an interview with KGOU's Scott Gurian, refer to the "New Crosstown Plan" as "insane....?"

It's hard to understand the apparent blindness of some in Oklahoma City toward the immense and otherwise-inaccessible power of resurrecting a historic transportation center for a modern version of its originally planned use. Why is it that what should be seen as the providential gift of our forbears -- a gift of "exactly what we need today" -- has become an object of the hate and derision of some Oklahomans?

We each have the choice. We can be reverent and thoughtful with the gifts of those who preceeded us, or we can be otherwise.

Esau thought so little -- at the time -- of his old father's birthright that he sold it for a single meal. He lived the rest of his life in regret. One bull-headed decision darkened, and essentially ruined, the rest of his life -- so much so that Paul the Apostle, centuries later, used him as an object lesson: "Don't be a profane man like that one."

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, born in Tulsa, said, "There was no such act of vandalism in the history of New York City as the destruction of the original Pennsylvania Station."

Many other such lessons are available -- for those who are interested in the warnings of history. Of course, the "quick buck boys," typically heedless and profane, are not generally interested. "Experience keeps a dear school," said Poor Richard, "but a fool will learn in no other."

Then, again, considering the disasters of "OKC Urban Renewal," there are apparently some among us that "even experience" can't teach.

Suffice it to say that the transportation community around the nation is watching us. They fully expect the mindless destruction of the last intact urban rail facility in the west -- by people famous for such disasters. Many hope, however, that we'll surprise them.

No single stroke would more powerfully change minds about Oklahoma and Oklahomans -- while bringing revolutionary benefits to the entire state -- than the careful reuse of OKC Union Station.

Conversely, few darker a messages, reinforcing "what the national already thinks about our state" could be sent than Union Station's destruction -- "per ODOT's plan."

TOM ELMORE

The Old Downtown Guy
05-26-2008, 12:29 PM
. . . . Suffice it to say that the transportation community around the nation is watching us. They fully expect the mindless destruction of the last intact urban rail facility in the west -- by people famous for such disasters. Many hope, however, that we'll surprise them.

No single stroke would more powerfully change minds about Oklahoma and Oklahomans -- while bringing revolutionary benefits to the entire state -- than the careful reuse of OKC Union Station. . . . destruction -- "per ODOT's plan." . . . . TOM ELMORE

As usual Tom . . . you are right on target.

Also, as you recall, The Oklahoma City 2020 Comprehensive Plan, which represented thousands of hours of Planning Department work and citizen input . . . the City's major planning document developed during the Mayoral term of Kirk Humphreys, contained language in the mass transit portion designating Union Station as the OKC mass transit hub. However, during the City Council meeting to adopt the 2020 plan, without any public notice that the plan would be amended in major ways prior to adoption, under the initative of Mayor Humphreys, the Union Station language was removed. In addition, several other forward looking concepts, such as reserving 1% of the construction budget of all OKC Public Works projects for public art and setting up a design review process for Public Works project were meat axed out of the Plan.

When an OKC citizen that was attending the Council meeting went to the podium and expressed his dismay at the total lack of public input into the heavy handed editing process, he was told to "go ahead and say whatever he had to say . . . . then have a seat . . . he had no vote in the process . . . the Mayor and Council were the ones that punched the voting buttons."

Obviously, had the Union Station hub language stayed in the 2020 Plan, it would have put the City at odds with ODOT when it came to implementing the I40 realignment know as the "D Option" . . . so chop, chop . . . problem eliminated.

bombermwc
05-26-2008, 01:16 PM
"As usual Tom . . . you are right on target. "

Words that should never be spoken again...

Tom Elmore
05-26-2008, 02:16 PM
Here's the text of the OKC 20 Year Plan Update Transportation Committee resolution unanimously approved by the working group -- overwhelmingly comprised of neighborhood association leaders and other true grassroots people -- on August 31, 1999:

PRESERVATION OF EXISTING RAIL ASSETS; CREATING A MODERN MULTIMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER AT OKC UNION STATION

OKC Union Station, at 300 SW 7th, stands at the nexus of existing rail lines linking downtown to other important areas and transportation terminals (both urban and suburban). The station and its grade-separated railway yard and corridors are assets of great potential value in developing high-quality, low-cost multimodal transport for Oklahoma City. Union Station is owned by COTPA and several of the rail corridors serving it are now owned either by the city or the state of Oklahoma. In light of mobility and air-quality concerns presently being accelerated by aggressive inner-city development, Oklahoma City should proceed with plans to develop Union Station as a modern, multimodal transportation center for intericty passenger trains and buses as well as regional rail and bus transit. All existing rail access corridors serving Union Station must be preserved, along with the existing yard facilities. Current ODOT plans to build a new I-40 Crosstown on the existing northern rail approaches and through the Union Station yard must be rejected.

bombermwc
05-27-2008, 08:08 AM
Wow a 10 year old outdated study that has since been taken out because it's not going to happen that way. And we all know that neighborhood associations and grassroots always has the big picture in mind...hmmm.

Tom Elmore
05-27-2008, 11:00 AM
...and the price of gasoline this morning, again, was...?

Plainly -- the Transportation Committee of the 1999 20 Year Plan Update had done its homework and was right on target. Unlike Oklahoma's elected officials and bureaucrats, the committee was watching and listening, not just to what had been done in other cities with whom ours must compete, but to the developing world situation.

Kirk Humphreys and his fellow henchmen on the OKC Council did not care to discuss these matters with the committee. They well knew they could not support "their side of the debate." They hoped that, like many of their predecessors in those offices, they'd be "comfortably retired somewhere" when the apocalypse came down.

Is "government" supposed to be "a conversation" between "the governed" and their representatives -- or are bodies like the Oklahoma City Council supposed to be "houses of commercial facilitation" immune from accountability?

In their crass shredding of the Transportation Committee's resolution, Humphreys and company thought they would simply "dismiss the rabble" -- like "lords and ladies imperiously disposing of the pleadings of the peasantry."

But the resolution lives today -- standing as stark witness that, at a time when they should have been using our wealth of existing assets to ready this city for coming storms, they followed "their own interests," instead -- monetary and otherwise -- which plainly lay in refusing to do so -- as ever, "kings and queens of the quick buck."

Rather than taking seriously the clues offered by April 19, 1995 and Sept. 11, 2001and urgently building carefully considered shelters for the people of Oklahoma against a rapidly changing world situation, these just kept right on stuffing their own pockets and those of their friends "like there was no tomorrow."

Rather than using their elected offices and public trust to protect the economy, security and mobility of their fellow Oklahomans -- whom they plainly hold in utter derision -- they, in effect, hoisted all our tails to the top of the highest flagpoles -- where we'd be lit up by every passing bolt of lightning.

But -- hey -- they're gonna "finally build some sidewalks now" in the neighborhoods their buddy-buddy developers were allowed to leave without such accommodations all those years. And -- hey -- "walking in the streets to school" is really about all these prairie dwellers' kids deserve.

Wouldn't you say?

TOM ELMORE

edcrunk
05-27-2008, 02:17 PM
i'm sorry they hoisted your tail to the top of a flagpole... but yours is not the first sir. perhaps the other tails hoisted would have given you a hint that public officials don't always have the publics interest at heart.
instead of crying on our forums, perhaps you should plainly state facts and try to educate in a way that doesn't come across like a pompous @$$.... i probably would have been more open to what you had to say if you hadn't been so condescending in the first place. you want to gather people to your cause not alienate them. since we are aware at the way goverment officials act... perhaps you should get involved in a seat of goverment that can actually get something done.
i'm all for some rail...

dalelakin
05-27-2008, 05:49 PM
Tom are there any maps of existing rail lines that will be lost to the new crosstown on the net?

Tom Elmore
05-27-2008, 05:49 PM
OK, Ed.

TOM ELMORE

Tom Elmore
05-27-2008, 06:47 PM
Dale --

The entire Union Station yard -- a carefully graded property nominally 200 feet wide, north to south, and stretching east to west from Santa Fe Avenue to Shartel Avenue, would be destroyed by the ODOT plan. This includes the Robinson and Walker underpasses, the passenger yard platforms, the passenger and express freight tunnels, and, most likely, the critical, current physical elevation.

The BNSF, former Frisco line would be taken off its current alignment altogether (from just a little west of Agnew Avenue to the BNSF north-south mainline), placing it exclusively on at-grade street crossings, even at the long-underpassed arterials, Robinson and Walker.

This means access from Union Station to the Stockyards, Will Rogers Airport, Wheatland, Mustang, Tuttle-Newcastle, Chickasha, Lawton / Ft. Sill and Altus / Altus AFB would be destroyed, as would connectivity from the Union Pacific, former Rock Island mainline ODOT insists will be left in the corridor.

Union Stations are all about connectivity.

A good representation of the lines as they lie today can be found at NATI - Solutions to the Nation's Transportation Problems (http://www.advancedtransport.org), on the opening page. Click on the map to enlarge it.

The worst aspect of what ODOT would do to the yard, however, may not be apparent to the otherwise uninitiated.

Note that the Union Station terminal and yard meet Hudson and Harvey Avenues at grade -- while Robinson and Walker underpass the yard one block east and west, respectively.

This was the great triumph of Union Station in 1931. The problem of constant conflicts between heavy rail traffic and burgeoning street traffic was solved by the underpasses, while movement of both passengers, automobiles and, perhaps most critically, mail and express trucks to the terminal building was simultaneously improved. The elegance of the design is really quite amazing.

Tampering with the elevation of the yard would disable the most basic functional aspects of the terminal facility. This website: Wabash National: RoadRailer (http://www.wabashnational.com/RoadRailer.htm) will help explain why.

There is no road-to-rail access at all at the downtown, former Santa Fe depot building, precluding mail and express handling to support intercity passenger trains, at least without a lot of new construction and alteration. Even then, rather than "at-grade interface," trains and trucks as well as trains and buses would have to meet via elevators or ramps, plainly less efficient, and more time consuming.

Is ODOT "concerned" about this?

Note that, since May, 2005, there has been no intermodal or "piggyback" road-to-rail terminal for heavy trucks in the entire state. As near as I can tell, this is the first period in modern history (ie, since 1870) where the state's railroad facilities have no place at all for taking on roadway vehicles.

It harks back to the late 1980s -- when hundreds of millions of federal dollars were made available for intermodal development. Many states, including nearly every state surrounding Oklahoma, tapped into those resources. Oklahoma received none -- because ODOT did not bother to apply for any, despite a wealth of railroad assets.

ODOT's "interest" in "intermodal planning" has typically gone no further than meeting the pro forma requirements of federal standards.

While ODOT continues to insist ("Please know," goes the first first words of ODOT letters in response to letters of outrage or concern from citizens...) it gave careful consideration to preservation of rail capability at Union Station, when pressed, even project manager John Bowman has to flatly admit that the facility could never again be used as a hub if he and his pals have their way. This destruction, they would wreak knowingly, determinedly, in my view plainly with with "malice aforethought..."

You'd think that, with a trail of famous disasters in its wake (What competent, trustworthy agency would leave the piers of busy highway bridges spanning navigable waterways with no collision bumpers? When are those responsible going to be brought to justice for this?), ODOT would abandon its long-favored "static analysis."

Plainly -- not so.

As experts around the nation who have looked at what ODOT would do to Union Station have now recognized, there has plainly been no consideration, whatever, given to the value of existing rail assets in this corridor.

The world, apparently, was "supposed to stay just like it was prior to 1995" when the whole thing was ginned up.

I hope this is helpful.

TOM ELMORE

edcrunk
05-27-2008, 07:46 PM
that looks to be easier reading... i'll fully digest it after i get of work.

btw, i read what ODG wrote about you in regard to being a great father and husband. that is very noble and unfortunately scarce in this day and age. i do admire your passion for okc and the rails. i tip my hat to you.

sorry for being an ass.

Tom Elmore
05-27-2008, 08:06 PM
Thanks for the good words -- and for the patience and understanding, sir.

TOM ELMORE

edcrunk
05-28-2008, 04:31 PM
i can think of a few other words that better describe me than sir... heh.

anyways... tom had mentioned before about taking anyone down to the station to survey the yard. i know i learn things better visually, but that map doesn't do much for me.
anyone else interested in checking them out on an upcoming saturday? i'm game and would be open to let tom drop some science. i want to see what all the fuss is about... especially since the possibility of them being tore out looms.

Kerry
05-28-2008, 05:20 PM
The possibility isn't looming - it is going to happen. All the right-of-way has been purchased and construction has long since started. If I had been in charge at ODOT I would have built the section of the I-40 through the rail yard first just to stop this debate.

The type of right-of-way that is available at Union Station is not even for the type of passenger rail that is going to be built in OKC. Those tracks have freight moving on them and is incompatiable with any type of passenger rail system other than heavy commuter rail, which to my knowledge is not even be proposed on OKC for another 20 years. Are we suposed to just let the yard sit there for another 20 years or more and rust?

The Old Downtown Guy
05-28-2008, 05:41 PM
Wow a 10 year old outdated study that has since been taken out because it's not going to happen that way. And we all know that neighborhood associations and grassroots always has the big picture in mind...hmmm.

Wow another informative post. One that tells us only that you hold the planning work done by my fellow OKC citizens in total disregard. And, speaking of the BIG PICTURE . . . I find that educated grassroots usually have a better grasp than most. But that's just my first hand experience and obviously no match for the opinion you have constructed by remaining untainted by direct involvment in the planning process.

BTW, a ten year old study is not outdated simply because it is ten years old. The OKC 2020 Plan and all of the other planning documents that accumulate at City Hall are part of a planning process that changes course over time to provide a current view of the city and a way forward. Planning documents are not bibles held onto by zelots unwilling to take a hard look at today's reality and plan accoudingly. They represent the general thinking at a point in time. So, something ten years old gives those willing to look into them a glimps of what the prevailing conditions and planning concepts were at the time.

edcrunk
05-28-2008, 07:05 PM
kerry... i say that because i don't want to pour salt on a wound or stick my thumb in anyone's eye. basically i'm not trying to be a c*ck.
the yard is special to him and i will pour some liquor out upon it's demise.
if ODG & METRO vouch for tom... then i take their word that he is an honorable and knowledgeable guy.

jbrown84
05-28-2008, 07:36 PM
I went down a couple days ago to check out the yard. I'd explored the outside of the terminal before, but not in the back. There are three sets of tracks. I hardly see why it is such a big deal.

I do wish the underpasses at Robinson and Walker could be saved however. I only discovered those in the last year and think they are very cool.

edcrunk
05-28-2008, 09:16 PM
i've always liked the underpasses as well. they are in the "new deal" type of style (which is similar to the walnut street bridge) from the 30's.

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 09:43 AM
Perhaps of interest:

Tulsa Councilman says Amtrak Extension Plan "off track..."

Tulsa World: Councilor says idea is off track (http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=20080528_11_A15_spancl86817 9)

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:01 AM
UTAH - "FRONT RUNNER" COMMUTER TRAIN DEVELOPMENT CHRONOLOGY

Remember this: If you don't count Ernest Istook, Utah has achieved this and other modern multimodal transportation developments with only 3 US House Districts.

Of course, officials out there say they've "already nailed the fourth seat for the 2010 census." The question is, where is that seat gonna come from since there are only 435 to be had? Which state has the weakest economy in the region -- and which state's leaders have the least vision and drive to improve quality of life and the general economy for their citizens?

Oklahomans might want to think about this.

UTA FrontRunner Commuter Rail (http://utahrails.net/uta/uta-frontrunner.php)

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:05 AM
Nashville "Music City Star" commuter rail:

http://www.musiccitystar.org/

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:07 AM
New Mexico "RAIL RUNNER EXPRESS" commuter trains service:

Official Site of the New Mexico Rail Runner Express (http://www.nmrailrunner.com/)

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:14 AM
Austin, Texas -- Capital Metro rail

http://allsystemsgo.capmetro.org/

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:17 AM
USA "Vintage Trolley" system resources:

Vintage Trolley Systems by John Smatlak (http://www.railwaypreservation.com/vintagetrolley/vintagetrolley.htm)

Tom Elmore
05-29-2008, 10:19 AM
Little Rock "River Rail" trolleys:

CAT:The River Rail System (http://www.cat.org/rrail/)