View Full Version : Light rail could be in works for the city



metro
04-11-2008, 07:12 AM
Fri April 11, 2008

Light rail could be in works for city

Daily Oklahoman
Steve Lackmeyer
Business Writer

Downtowners got their shot at quizzing Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett on Thursday, and they learned he advocates a light rail system as part of a MAPS 3, but any vote on such an initiative is at least two years away.

Cornett, speaking to Urban Neighbors at the Skirvin Hilton, acknowledged he originally hoped to propose a MAPS 3 initiative later this year. But those plans, he said, were set aside when it became clear he would need to call a vote sooner to modify Ford Center for an incoming NBA team.

Sensing voter fatigue

With that tax extension passed along with bond issues for public works and city schools, Cornett said, he's not sure if voters are eager to see another vote anytime soon.

"I sense some voter fatigue, frankly, coming out of the March 4 vote,” Cornett said.

Cornett agreed with another questioner that he would like to see an NBA practice arena built downtown, but team owners have indicated they may follow league tradition and seek to locate in the suburbs close to where players live.

Responding to a question about public transportation, Cornett said he wants to see a light rail system that serves downtown and tourists. But he added he would want to see Edmond and Norman participate in funding additional rail links to those suburbs.

"I don't think we're going to create more interest in downtown by making it easier to live in Edmond or Norman,” Cornett said.

Cornett also suggested that Oklahoma City, Tulsa and other cities eventually could approach legislators about providing operational funds to match any capital investment.

A statewide issue
"The state Legislature should address public transportation, because right now their participation is pitiful,” Cornett said.
Cornett also rejected a suggestion submitted by another member of Urban Neighbors that downtown's Oklahoma Spirit trolley system is mismanaged by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority.

Instead, Cornett said, the city is struggling to sell the idea of public transportation in a community that has been planned and developed for vehicular traffic.

"We're just not very good at getting people to ride them (the trolleys).”

Crime, poverty addressed
Discussing other issues, Cornett said he is satisfied the city is adequately addressing homelessness and gang violence. He said downtown's "parking problem” is more perception than reality, but added he is trying to find a way to make parking free in Bricktown.
Cornett agreed more affordable housing is needed downtown, joking he would have trouble finding a home in his price range.

He said the city is ready to assist housing developers by providing tax increment financing for related infrastructure needs.

Cornett said he has a 1910 photo of downtown that reminds him of the building boom that occurred during those early years.

"My guess is we are in the busiest period since that time,” Cornett said. "There is more energy than there has been in my lifetime, and that feels really good.”

Downtown commuting?
Organizers of Thursday's event for downtown residents and merchants estimated 150 were in attendance.
Steve Newlon, board member of Urban Neighbors, said one of biggest concerns expressed by members was that of public transportation. "A lot of downtown residents would find it beneficial if the routes (for the Oklahoma Spirit trolleys) were reconfigured for the housing developments,” Newlon said. "I'm glad to hear that's being reviewed.”


ttp://newsok.com/article/3228383/1207882630

Pete
04-11-2008, 07:25 AM
Steve Newlon, board member of Urban Neighbors, said one of biggest concerns expressed by members was that of public transportation. "A lot of downtown residents would find it beneficial if the routes (for the Oklahoma Spirit trolleys) were reconfigured for the housing developments, Newlon said. "I'm glad to hear that's being reviewed.

Who's this Steve Newlon guy?? ;)

kevinpate
04-11-2008, 07:30 AM
Fri April 11, 2008
...team owners have indicated they may follow league tradition and seek to locate in the suburbs close to where players live.
...
he is trying to find a way to make parking free in Bricktown.


The first comment above doesn't totally surprise me, but it may give added heartburn to the 'team name must be only OKC ___' crowd. Such is life. For me it simply shows even wealthy employees often prefer to work closer to where they live and that their employers will on occasion assist them with that desire. No biggie, and nothing to lose sleep over.

The second comment confuzzles me. One the one hand, the mayor thinks the issue of parking is more perception than reality. No news there. On the other haqnd he is looking into how parking can become free. Huh? Why invest the time, or the capital that would be necessary, to solve something you see as a non-issue.

Sure, the free parking available is not door front space, but there is, with zero question on the point, scads of free parking in BT and the area immediately around it. Of course, the mayor also noted the appropriate folks aren't doing too grand a job in getting folks on trolleys, whcih strikes me as urban as encouraging walking a few steps and enjoying yourself as you do. Sheesh, the main appeal of BT to me is the time I spend wandering and visiting in between the establishments I visit.

metro
04-11-2008, 07:38 AM
I agree with your points kevin. What also struck me odd last night is that, he said he didn't think the Trolleys were mismanaged (I believe the article briefly mentioned that as well), then he goes on to say on several issues, not just this one, that the city and related agencies, have done a poor job of educating the public what's out there and available. If that's not mis-managed or poorly managed, what does Mayor Mick suggest we call that? Good management?

He basically stated (although he didn't use the term), that it's a chicken and egg dilemma on the trolleys. He said that not enough people ride them to justify adjusting the routes. Well duh, adjust the routes to where the people are living, ALL the hotels, and to St. Anthony's and MidTown's Plaza Court building, and bam, I bet you get a two-to-three-fold increase in ridership immediately.

Kerry
04-11-2008, 07:58 AM
Once again Atlantic Station near Midtown Atlanta has the answers OKC should be looking for. They have a free shuttle service that runs about every 5 minutes. It goes down all of the residential streets in the development and ferries people from their door step to the large parking deck under the retail section of the development. It allows most of the Atlantic Station residents to park in a secure 7,500 parking lot and takes them directly to their front door. No fuss - no muss. The trolley routes should be re-done to cater to urban dwellers.

John
04-11-2008, 08:32 AM
The comment about the practice facilty being 'near where players live' kinda has me thinking Nichols Hills.

One of the partners in PBC, LLC has a little bit of land in the area. I think. ;)

Saberman
04-11-2008, 08:45 AM
More likely it would be on the Broadway Ext., were they have also purchased property.

BDP
04-11-2008, 08:54 AM
Why invest the time, or the capital that would be necessary, to solve something you see as a non-issue.

It probably has something to do with the fact that perception often guides politics more so than reality. This bizarre idea that we have a parking problem downtown just won't go away and maybe he thinks finding free parking amongst our current assets is a better way to mitigate that perception than wasting more valuable land on parking when it could be used for attractions. Personally, I think he's playing to the perception, while trying to base the policy on reality... which means it sounds like he's talking out of both sides of his mouth, because, well, he is. And, honestly, I think he has to do a little of that to protect the available land from just being used as more parking.

The interesting things is that this could all be solved by improving the trolley system and make parking distance less of a factor for those the see having to walk more than two blocks as a "parking problem".

OKCCrime
04-11-2008, 09:22 AM
..

OKCCrime
04-11-2008, 09:23 AM
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett on Thursday, and they learned he advocates a light rail system as part of a MAPS 3

http://www.paulgross.com/images/mrburns.jpg The similarity is amazing! http://www.paulgross.com/images/monorail.JPG

mmonroe
04-11-2008, 12:02 PM
Haha, something has to be done. I just wish lightrail wasn't so ugly. A monorail.. now that's something I can get behind. hahaha.

solitude
04-11-2008, 12:32 PM
The comment about the practice facilty being 'near where players live' kinda has me thinking Nichols Hills.

One of the partners in PBC, LLC has a little bit of land in the area. I think. ;)

Very good point, John.

jbrown84
04-11-2008, 12:57 PM
Well don't expect the practice facility to be built in Edmond or any other city besides OKC. OKC is paying for it, afterall.

solitude
04-11-2008, 01:03 PM
Well don't expect the practice facility to be built in Edmond or any other city besides OKC. OKC is paying for it, afterall.

I don't think John was thinking Nichols Hills proper, just Chesepeake land period.

mmonroe
04-11-2008, 02:06 PM
Well don't expect the practice facility to be built in Edmond or any other city besides OKC. OKC is paying for it, afterall.

Another good point.

CuatrodeMayo
04-11-2008, 02:58 PM
Haha, something has to be done. I just wish lightrail wasn't so ugly. A monorail.. now that's something I can get behind. hahaha.

These aren't ugly:

http://www.transport.bombardier.com/library/transport/pressrelease/low/EN_PortoEurotram-LowRes.jpghttp://www.geocities.com/greg_vassilakos/norfolk_lrt/2-18_lrt-eis.jpg

betts
04-11-2008, 04:01 PM
One of the funniest things Mick said about light rail was that if it's going to have a multi-county range, he wants the other cities to help pay for it. To paraphrase what he said, "As Oklahoma City, we don't want to make it easy for people to live in Edmond or Norman."

mmonroe
04-11-2008, 06:19 PM
True, those are not ugly. I like the second one. The first one reminds me of a toyota camery.

MadMonk
04-14-2008, 08:14 PM
One of the perils of relying on public transportation too much! :D
GlNyCHlLt1Y

mmonroe
04-14-2008, 08:40 PM
Geez. That's just insane. Talk about a safety hazard.

OKCisOK4me
04-14-2008, 11:03 PM
Thats how it should be. Look at DART and the Dallas area. Cities like Frisco aren't going to get the extension without footing 1/2 the bill!

BG918
04-15-2008, 12:19 AM
Those light rail pics show what could be running on the streets of downtown OKC. Of course if they are going to spend the money to build LRT they need to make sure it gets its own dedicated lane on the street. Otherwise they are little different than buses and will get stuck in traffic, plus there will be collisions with cars.

Commuter rail would run on the BNSF tracks between Edmond and Norman. Cars would probably resemble the ones they have in Denver:
http://www.futuregringo.com/2006November/rail8.JPG

mmonroe
04-15-2008, 12:22 AM
What about an elevated monorail? Could run along the highway, above crowded and tight streets like bricktown. The only problem would be elevated platforms.

jbrown84
04-15-2008, 09:58 AM
That video is crazy! I can't belive the officers pushing people into the car like that. I was expecting them to pull people out of there and make them wait.

CuatrodeMayo
04-15-2008, 10:18 AM
Nope. That is their job. You think public transportation is well-used in NYC, Japan is crazy about it.

flintysooner
04-15-2008, 10:21 AM
Well, if anyone has to push me into a crowded rail car then I want someone else to just go ahead and shoot me.

pearlbluevtx
04-15-2008, 10:28 AM
That video is amazing! I thought maybe they were staging that but it looks too good and too real! I think we need a little more density to arrive at that much usage!! LOL


One of the perils of relying on public transportation too much! :D