View Full Version : What do YOU think the purpose of the Maps3 Streetcar system is?



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Rover
01-02-2011, 04:15 PM
Who is it for? What do you think its use is?

Platemaker
01-02-2011, 04:21 PM
A few things:

A) Expand the walkable area

B) Circulate people downtown

c) Connect residents in near-downtown neighborhoods to downtown

D) Designed to be fully expandable.

Spartan
01-02-2011, 05:55 PM
I'm going to take a different approach in answering this question, with regards to some of the different perspectives I have personally seen/encountered.

*The streetcar is NOT just a long-term approach that needs to serve where we think downtown will develop in the next 30 years.
*The streetcar IS a short-term thing that is going to be reality soon and Phase 1 needs to focus on what CURRENTLY exists.
*It is going to be a utility for economic development and growing density downtown.
*It is intended as a quality of life asset and something intended to make living downtown more attractive, desirable, feasible, and so on.
*It is going to have to be one part of a system that interfaces with other transit modes, including other types of fixed guideway transit systems.
*In the same vein, it is not an extension of the existing bus system which is need of major reform itself. These two particular systems must be divorced.
*It is going to have to be focused on downtown, starting with a small geographic area, and converting it to be totally pedestrian-friendly.
*It will be a total change from what we're used to. It will have the potential for technological support systems that will make downtown more user-friendly. It will be reliable.
*It will be a modern streetcar system, nothing else. It will be fixed, not a bus or rubber-tire trolley, and it will not be a historic trolley.

SOONER8693
01-02-2011, 06:11 PM
i'm going to take a different approach in answering this question, with regards to some of the different perspectives i have personally seen/encountered.

*the streetcar is not just a long-term approach that needs to serve where we think downtown will develop in the next 30 years.
*the streetcar is a short-term thing that is going to be reality soon and phase 1 needs to focus on what currently exists.
*it is going to be a utility for economic development and growing density downtown.
*it is intended as a quality of life asset and something intended to make living downtown more attractive, desirable, feasible, and so on.
*it is going to have to be one part of a system that interfaces with other transit modes, including other types of fixed guideway transit systems.
*in the same vein, it is not an extension of the existing bus system which is need of major reform itself. These two particular systems must be divorced.
*it is going to have to be focused on downtown, starting with a small geographic area, and converting it to be totally pedestrian-friendly.
*it will be a total change from what we're used to. It will have the potential for technological support systems that will make downtown more user-friendly. It will be reliable.
*it will be a modern streetcar system, nothing else. It will be fixed, not a bus or rubber-tire trolley, and it will not be a historic trolley.
wow!

Rover
01-02-2011, 06:28 PM
I'm going to take a different approach in answering this question, with regards to some of the different perspectives I have personally seen/encountered.

*The streetcar is NOT just a long-term approach that needs to serve where we think downtown will develop in the next 30 years.
*The streetcar IS a short-term thing that is going to be reality soon and Phase 1 needs to focus on what CURRENTLY exists.
*It is going to be a utility for economic development and growing density downtown.
*It is intended as a quality of life asset and something intended to make living downtown more attractive, desirable, feasible, and so on.
*It is going to have to be one part of a system that interfaces with other transit modes, including other types of fixed guideway transit systems.
*In the same vein, it is not an extension of the existing bus system which is need of major reform itself. These two particular systems must be divorced.
*It is going to have to be focused on downtown, starting with a small geographic area, and converting it to be totally pedestrian-friendly.
*It will be a total change from what we're used to. It will have the potential for technological support systems that will make downtown more user-friendly. It will be reliable.
*It will be a modern streetcar system, nothing else. It will be fixed, not a bus or rubber-tire trolley, and it will not be a historic trolley.

So, is this an investment in the quality of life for a couple of thousand people? Or a subsidy for downtown businesses and developers? If so, I hope this puts to rest the criticism of subsidizing Bass Pro.

Rover
01-02-2011, 06:32 PM
I assume that this is the first step of a comprehensive plan to reduce commuting car traffic, improve the air quality, reduce commute travel time to downtown, etc. If so, it ultimately services those who would commute from Edmond, Norman, Yukon/Mustang and MidWest/Del City areas so they can work downtown and not have to crowd the streets with cars, saving the city in street costs, parking garage costs, etc.

Spartan
01-02-2011, 06:40 PM
So, is this an investment in the quality of life for a couple of thousand people? Or a subsidy for downtown businesses and developers? If so, I hope this puts to rest the criticism of subsidizing Bass Pro.

Note: You bring up some interesting and strong criticisms. I think you have a valid argument, but in thinking over what my response to that is, I have some strong points--the tone may seem argumentative but it's really not. When I talk/think I have a lot of inflection and stress things, which I guess in text can come off argumentative..just regard them as strong points I'm trying to emphasize. :-)

It has to do with what is appropriate for a downtown area. There is a lot of criticism about "subsidizing" transit--we believe it should be done for "normal people" for the most part, as if that excludes the few hundred rich boozers that call downtown home. We obviously dislike spending money on services that will only be used by the rich but we still support transit, for the most part. But the reality is that downtown has to be viable for thousands of "normal people" and the only way to make downtown public transit viable is with a fixed transit system. For those who don't live downtown, your transit is subsidized whether you use our city's pitiful bus system or whether you use our city's over-built road system. The city builds and maintains whatever system you use. So why is it taboo to provide downtowners with the same luxury of a city-supported transit system?

Furthermore, it's not about subsidizing downtown businesses or investing in the quality of life for .1% of our city's population that live downtown. The reality is that downtown has demand for tens of thousands of more units over the next 10 years and the overwhelming majority of those units are going to be built in areas that are currently seeing initial development. Bricktown is about 50% done. Deep Deuce is about 30% done probably. Midtown and the Arts District are absolutely fledgling. A-Alley's status fluctuates depending on how you define its boundaries. The point is that if a district has seen a few hundred residential units in the last 5 years, that's going to indicate we need to make it a priority for the next 10 years, and that excludes Core2Shore which is a 30 year plan. It's important for both C2S and the current downtown to coexist successfully that they be phased independently, and that that alone be a productive process that matures the existing downtown while we're still getting C2S ready to start seeing new development.

This is also not on the same level of subsidizing Bass Pro, but to be clear, the city subsidizes a LOT of things, not just the roads we use, and not just the Bass Pro that people from Bowlegs and Kingfisher use. The city is also subsidizing the new outlet mall's construction. So I'll just go back to what is appropriate for a downtown, a streetcar is, a Bass Pro probably isn't. The city will make bank on the streetcar and see a return on its investment in terms of the development it will be a catalyst for. Streetcars have enormous economic development potential that no other system has. Just like the city will probably see a return on investment with the outlet mall in terms of sales tax recaptured.. those are good investments that help move the city forward and at the same time keep the coffers out of the red.

Rover
01-02-2011, 07:30 PM
Spartan, I didn't read any of your comments as argumentative. As I've told you, I really appreciate your perspective, opinions, and passion.

I started this tread because I was curious to know what those on here thought the whole streetcar issue was about. I have seen the thread about the route options, but the routes are just a reflection of the intent of the system. If the real intent is understood and agreed on then the routes naturally fall out and shouldn't be political or even a matter of opinion.

It is my belief that the streetcars are not for the service of just those living downtown, but is the first step of providing a transportation infrastructure that will allow people to come into the city without their cars and to do everything they need to do while here. We can't have a very effective train system until we have a way for people to get around once they get here. We can't have an effective light rail commuter system without transport once they get downtown. And all this assumes that the inner city will be the absolute business and entertainment core of our city. While it enables transportation for those living downtown, IMHO that is not the core reason to invest in it. And while you argue that the streets and freeways are subsidies for the rest of the city, the city already maintains streets and infrastructure downtown too. So, I think this all makes sense if it works for EVERYONE in the city.

betts
01-02-2011, 07:52 PM
My intent when voting for MAPS (with the streetcar and park as the two things I was primarily voting for) was for the streetcar to serve several functions. First, I think that it's a way to introduce people in Oklahoma City to the good things about mass transit and remove some of the stigma associated with buses and mass transit. But, perhaps more importantly, I see the streetcar as a way of opening up our downtown to people.....of making them actually see it as a place. As a rider rather than a driver, you actually SEE spaces and places, rather than the road and other cars. It's a way for people who would never drive through our downtown to comfortably ride around downtown and get a sense of what it is, see places they could go, understand it as an area and see if as their downtown....develop of sense of connectedness to it. So obviously I think that it's really key for it to make downtown functional for riders. But, as Rover said, I also think it's very important that as we do develop other forms of mass transit or, wonder of wonders, get people to ride buses, that it is a way for someone in a suit or high heels to come to downtown via the hub and have a way of getting to work or their destination without sweating through their suit in the summer, slipping in their heels in the winter. We're really too small a downtown to be terribly functional for taxis, so a streetcar can serve that short distance function for people arriving via mass transit, or those who want to park on the perimeter of downtown. But, ultimately, and possibly right away if it's doable, I'd also like it to link places like the Paseo or the Plaza district or the Health Sciences Center, giving people downtown potential destinations outside of downtown.

We who live downtown really don't need the streetcar to move us around downtown. We already walk everywhere. We're used to it and most of us like it. One person skateboards everywhere. If you, skateboarder, are a member here, thanks for making me smile when I see you off to work in your suit and skateboard. I don't see it as a necessity for downtown residents at all, except perhaps if it makes people who aren't walkers or who worry about getting around downtown more likely to move here. If it serves as a stimulus to increase downtown population, great.

Kerry
01-02-2011, 07:57 PM
I am going to go with Platemakers response. It will serve two purposes:

1. Circulate people throughout downtown OKC
2. Connect neighborhoods and other areas of interest

I have spent the last 3 nights studying the Oslo, Norway system and I like their approach a lot. They have a loop through the central part of their city with 4 access points to the larger city-wide system. As you leave the central city on one of those four access points (feeder lines) they come to a 'Y' with each branch going further out into the greater metro area. To explain it in simple terms they get a multiplier effect of service times closer to the central loop. If their system only had 8 trains then all 8 will move around the central loop, each feeder line would get two trains, with each metro-area line getting one train each after the 'Y'. This pretty much ensures frequent service around the central loop with steady service on the 4 feeder lines. The lines that go further out in to the city wide area also have numerous turn-around points, usually 2, before they reach the end of the line. This allows them to offer short service during non-peak times or to increase frequency on portions of the system to maximize service.

I hope I did an okay job of explaining that.

Spartan
01-02-2011, 08:17 PM
Spartan, I didn't read any of your comments as argumentative. As I've told you, I really appreciate your perspective, opinions, and passion.

I started this tread because I was curious to know what those on here thought the whole streetcar issue was about. I have seen the thread about the route options, but the routes are just a reflection of the intent of the system. If the real intent is understood and agreed on then the routes naturally fall out and shouldn't be political or even a matter of opinion.

It is my belief that the streetcars are not for the service of just those living downtown, but is the first step of providing a transportation infrastructure that will allow people to come into the city without their cars and to do everything they need to do while here. We can't have a very effective train system until we have a way for people to get around once they get here. We can't have an effective light rail commuter system without transport once they get downtown. And all this assumes that the inner city will be the absolute business and entertainment core of our city. While it enables transportation for those living downtown, IMHO that is not the core reason to invest in it. And while you argue that the streets and freeways are subsidies for the rest of the city, the city already maintains streets and infrastructure downtown too. So, I think this all makes sense if it works for EVERYONE in the city.

No doubt. But we have and will continue to develop a downtown that emphasizes mixed-uses. This means that downtown should focus on circulation between key areas and providing connections from opposite ends of downtown. The housing, dining, and entertainment in most cases are together. Either an area has a lot going for it or an area is still dead, and there are many hotspots downtown, and many areas between them that are still kind of dead. The only separate and well-confined use that is significant is office, which is overwhelmingly in the core, and that's an area we also hope to see a lot of residential in eventually as we hope for the core to become more vibrant eventually. We're already beginning to see some more mixed-uses invade the core, such as restaurants, hotels, and some housing conversions.

If the real debate is not about hotspots and more about the use for it and who will use it, how does that change the route? I'm just curious. Is that when we start looking about using the starter line to link downtown and the north side, rather than just doing a complete downtown connector?

plmccordj
01-02-2011, 08:23 PM
Although I am not opposed to it completely, I do think that our Mayor had this as an agenda from the beginning and used everyone's public outcry of public transportation as the excuse. It was a misrepresentation of the true outcry. What people really wanted was dependable buses throughout the city. That is not what they received with this streetcar. I am sure that if you polled those on OKCTalk.com you would get a different result than you would from that average citizen. With all of that said, I am not opposed to the street car but do wish they would have addressed the embarrassment they call a bus system here.

betts
01-02-2011, 08:31 PM
I really don't think people want buses unless they're really dialed in to mass transit. I know very few people who would voluntarily ride a bus, even if we had a better system. I wouldn't be shocked if people thought they were voting for light rail rather than a streetcar system, however.

Rover
01-02-2011, 08:32 PM
If the real debate is not about hotspots and more about the use for it and who will use it, how does that change the route? I'm just curious. Is that when we start looking about using the starter line to link downtown and the north side, rather than just doing a complete downtown connector?

I think that if the streetcar system is a part of the overall mass trans plan, then the current patterns of people flow into the area is important for determining the routes of the streetcars themselves. While it isn't the principle purpose of the streetcar system to develop areas, it is true that areas around street car routes will naturally develop higher density. Mass trans satisfying current requirements will be very compatible with the stated interests of creating higher density in the inner core.

flintysooner
01-02-2011, 08:52 PM
I generally visit downtown because of professionals I use who are located there or for lunch. But I've also attended meetings and events, enjoyed symphony performances, and a few other things.

Usually my trips are single destinations. But when multiple destinations exist it is always a question of whether to move the car or not. Probably if I could grab a streetcar I'd do things a little differently. Bet I'd be more likely to catch lunch before heading back.

Spartan
01-02-2011, 08:56 PM
Mass trans satisfying current requirements will be very compatible with the stated interests of creating higher density in the inner core.

I think if it were something other than a fixed system you will not see any extra development spurred. The current rubber tire trolley has failed miserably. The Oklahoma Spirit Trolleys have had their route changed a number of times, and as a result any system maps or stop signs have been completely removed so it's essentially a phantom system. It's not as easy as saying, "Well we'll do the same thing, just do it better, have cooler trolleys, and not change the route." But isn't that everything Pete White is against? Furthermore, the route wasn't changed because they thought it was a good idea. The route was changed because rubber tire trolleys have much higher operational expenses, compared to the streetcars which have virtually negligible operational expenses compared to buses (to the point that they equal out after a little under a decade I believe, even considering the capital expenses).

There's also a larger reason why the trolleys have zero ridership, and that's because it is not reliable and you can't "see" the route. With streetcars, not only is it always on time and totally reliable, but you can see the route and if you're familiar with the downtown streets then you already know everywhere it goes without even looking at a system map. You know that the streetcar stops right there because you see the rails and you see the little pavilion next to them. That's why it serves as a catalyst for development all up and down the streetcar line. Never in the history of cities has a bus system or non-fixed guideway transit been considered to have economic development potential.

So, to that extent, there is no way we can achieve the result we want without doing a streetcar. Can we look to minimize the cost and hopefully have it come under $20M/mile? I hope so. The majority of that cost is actually from utility relocation, so I'm skeptical as to how much that cost can be brought down. But I agree we certainly don't need any frivolous bells and whistles. With the Ford Center, it was such a great deal because we built a bare bones center with the goal of getting an NBA team and came through big-time, even though we had to spend more than double what we originally spent renovating it just 5 years after the thing opened, but whatever. With this, if we can somehow achieve the same result and only spend $10M or $15M a mile, then I agree that it's absolutely ideal that we do that.

Kerry
01-02-2011, 08:57 PM
With all of that said, I am not opposed to the street car but do wish they would have addressed the embarrassment they call a bus system here.

They did address the bus system - it is called a street car. There are maybe two or three bus systems in the US that even work effectively. The experiment forced on American by GM failed. I don't know about OKC but in Tampa the last year the streetcar system operated there they had 24 million passengers. The best the replacement bus system ever did 12.8 million and that was with a population about 10X what the streetcar served.

Rover
01-02-2011, 09:02 PM
I think if it were something other than a fixed system you will not see any extra development spurred. The current rubber tire trolley has failed miserably. The Oklahoma Spirit Trolleys have had their route changed a number of times, and as a result any system maps or stop signs have been completely removed so it's essentially a phantom system. It's not as easy as saying, "Well we'll do the same thing, just do it better, have cooler trolleys, and not change the route." But isn't that everything Pete White is against? Furthermore, the route wasn't changed because they thought it was a good idea. The route was changed because rubber tire trolleys have much higher operational expenses, compared to the streetcars which have virtually negligible operational expenses compared to buses (to the point that they equal out after a little under a decade I believe, even considering the capital expenses).

There's also a larger reason why the trolleys have zero ridership, and that's because it is not reliable and you can't "see" the route. With streetcars, not only is it always on time and totally reliable, but you can see the route and if you're familiar with the downtown streets then you already know everywhere it goes without even looking at a system map. You know that the streetcar stops right there because you see the rails and you see the little pavilion next to them. That's why it serves as a catalyst for development all up and down the streetcar line. Never in the history of cities has a bus system or non-fixed guideway transit been considered to have economic development potential.

Agreed

Spartan
01-02-2011, 09:11 PM
They did address the bus system - it is called a street car. There are maybe two or three bus systems in the US that even work effectively. The experiment forced on American by GM failed. I don't know about OKC but in Tampa the last year the streetcar system operated there they had 24 million passengers. The best the replacement bus system ever did 12.8 million and that was with a population about 10X what the streetcar served.

Well, there are some bus system remedies being studied that could offer real solutions. The most promising idea I've heard suggested for COTPA is converting all bus routes to a grid system, where the bus will follow one street the entire length of the route. Trying to get to Walker and S. 44th from Penn and N. 36th? Take the Penn bus all the way to 44th, get off, and then take the 44th bus all the way to Walker. Simple. There is also some potential for timing intersections, which would involve some massive recalibration of all the traffic signals, but there are some technologies that the bus could signal to and then change the light allowing the bus to pass through without having a delay.

This can not be done with MAPS money because what the voters passed explicitly said downtown streetcar. That's also what the voters were sold. There was confusion out there about light rail, but most who were confused about that were opposing what they were confused about anyway. This has to come out of COTPA's budget, and I think they're hesitant to make these changes unless they can get more buses, which will have to be brought up later. They need greener buses too..I'm tired of walking along Walker downtown and having a bus pass me and spew fumes and emissions out at me and anything else on the sidewalk, not to mention being unable to hear anything else in a 100-foot radius.

The simple reality of the situation is that when your city is sprawlville like OKC, finding any efficient way to do public transit is not going to work as well. When routes are so long and the road system is so over-built, you're going to have inefficiencies such as the buses being late. It's not possible for a bus to go 20 miles and still stay on exactly the schedule it was predicted it would be on because out on the open road where people like Brian Walters are fulfilling their American duty, unexpected things happen.

Urban Pioneer
01-02-2011, 11:55 PM
Although I am not opposed to it completely, I do think that our Mayor had this as an agenda from the beginning and used everyone's public outcry of public transportation as the excuse. It was a misrepresentation of the true outcry. What people really wanted was dependable buses throughout the city. That is not what they received with this streetcar. I am sure that if you polled those on OKCTalk.com you would get a different result than you would from that average citizen. With all of that said, I am not opposed to the street car but do wish they would have addressed the embarrassment they call a bus system here.

This is partly correct. People's sentiments are definitely supportive of a serious investment in public transit. But what was clear in the polling is that it was an investment in trains that people wanted, not buses. I wish that there was far more MAPS money towards a greater system, but it still is an incredible start. We will have a state-of-the-art, start to a pemanent regional/intra city rapid transit system.

It also important to understand why the streetcar was chosen. It will serve as the nucleus of this larger system. Downtown belongs to everyone and a greater cross section of voters will benefit using it. The biggest reason is that it is the cheapest annual operating expense of the larger system. When we discontinue the use of the rubber tired "trolleys", the annual operational cost can be absorbed. Maps builds infrastructure, it doesn't pay for operations. We simply don't have a funding mechanism to pay for the incredible annual costs associated with running buses.

But finally, no one should propogate the idea that voters might have been voting for something else. The streetcar had an extensive public education campaign to itself that was continually monitored by scientific polling. I know because I made sure of it. It was laborously debated before the resolution language was adopted. And ultimately it has had more public input meetings, debates, and professional analysis than any other MAPS project.

It originated as a professional recommendation in the multi year FGS study, it became a grassroots public agenda, it was successfully detailed out and debated before council, it gained resolution status, it was endorsed as the best step forward by a majority vote of our citizens, and it has been scrupulously developed as a plan.

It is our intention to make it the best damn streetcar system in the world.

Urban Pioneer
01-02-2011, 11:56 PM
Although I am not opposed to it completely, I do think that our Mayor had this as an agenda from the beginning and used everyone's public outcry of public transportation as the excuse. It was a misrepresentation of the true outcry. What people really wanted was dependable buses throughout the city. That is not what they received with this streetcar. I am sure that if you polled those on OKCTalk.com you would get a different result than you would from that average citizen. With all of that said, I am not opposed to the street car but do wish they would have addressed the embarrassment they call a bus system here.

This is partly correct. People's sentiments are definitely supportive of a serious investment in public transit. But what was clear in the polling is that it was an investment in trains that people wanted, not buses. I wish that there was far more MAPS money towards a greater system, but it still is an incredible start. We will have a state-of-the-art, start to a pemanent regional/intra city rapid transit system.

It also important to understand why the streetcar was chosen. It will serve as the nucleus of this larger system. Downtown belongs to everyone and a greater cross section of voters will benefit using it. The biggest reason is that it is the cheapest annual operating expense of the larger system. When we discontinue the use of the rubber tired "trolleys", the annual operational cost can be absorbed. Maps builds infrastructure, it doesn't pay for operations. We simply don't have a funding mechanism to pay for the incredible annual costs associated with running more buses.

But finally, no one should propogate the idea that voters might have been voting for something else. The streetcar had an extensive public education campaign to itself that was continually monitored by scientific polling. It was laborously debated before the resolution language was adopted. And ultimately it has had more public input meetings, debates, and professional analysis than any other MAPS project.

It originated as a professional recommendation in the multi year FGS study, it became a grassroots public agenda, it was successfully detailed out and debated before council, it gained resolution status, it was endorsed as the best step forward by a majority vote of our citizens, and it has been scrupulously developed as a plan.

It is our intention to make it the best damn streetcar system in the world.

Larry OKC
01-03-2011, 05:49 AM
So, is this an investment in the quality of life for a couple of thousand people? Or a subsidy for downtown businesses and developers? If so, I hope this puts to rest the criticism of subsidizing Bass Pro.

... The city builds and maintains whatever system you use. So why is it taboo to provide downtowners with the same luxury of a city-supported transit system?
...
This is also not on the same level of subsidizing Bass Pro, but to be clear, the city subsidizes a LOT of things, not just the roads we use, and not just the Bass Pro that people from Bowlegs and Kingfisher use. The city is also subsidizing the new outlet mall's construction. So I'll just go back to what is appropriate for a downtown, a streetcar is, a Bass Pro probably isn't. ...

No one is depriving the downtowners the same "luxury" as the rest of the city as they have the same roads and buses. Giving one group of people something the rest of the city doesn't have is the problem. That was part of some resistance to MAPS 3 and the reason why other projects were included. To avoid the "this only benefits Downtown".

I agree there is a huge difference between the Bass Pro deal and other "subsidies. One thing is the City built the Bass Pro building and is the landlord (something the City really shouldn't be doing). The City isn't building the Outlet Mall (but is making infrastructure improvements around it) and giving them a rebate/reimbursement on their marketing expenses for a certain number of years. A streetcar system serves an area and not a specific business. Although specific businesses will benefit by the streetcars eventual route. Just as certain businesses saw great benefit from being located directly on the Canal.

Supposedly, the City was going to be making all of its money back with Bass Pro (just as it is planning with the Outlet Mall). But the last article I saw on it (years ago) showed the Bass Pro was not coming close to meeting expectations. City Manager shrugged the criticism off and said it didn't matter. Reportedly, there are clauses in the rebate/reimbursement part of the Outlet Mall deal that makes the owners verify their expenses and that the sales tax rebates (or whatever they are calling them) is dependent on actual receipts and not projections). If it doesn't meet up to expectations, they don't get the full amount.


Although I am not opposed to it completely, I do think that our Mayor had this as an agenda from the beginning and used everyone's public outcry of public transportation as the excuse. It was a misrepresentation of the true outcry. What people really wanted was dependable buses throughout the city. That is not what they received with this streetcar. ...

Agree with the intent of the post if not the specifics. There was a bait-n-switch of sorts regarding the City's unscientific MAPS 3 survey where "Mass Transit" was suggested by a 3.5 to 1 margin than the next suggestion. The Mayor used this survey as justification for just about anything MAPS 3 related when it served his purpose. He even said that "mass transit" means different things to different people and from the Survey we don't know what the breakdown was for Streetcars, Light Rail, buses etc. But the end result wasn't the "comprehensive" solution the Mayor also spoke of many times leading up to MAPS 3, just the Streetcars.


...So, to that extent, there is no way we can achieve the result we want without doing a streetcar. Can we look to minimize the cost and hopefully have it come under $20M/mile? I hope so. The majority of that cost is actually from utility relocation, so I'm skeptical as to how much that cost can be brought down. But I agree we certainly don't need any frivolous bells and whistles. With the Ford Center, it was such a great deal because we built a bare bones center with the goal of getting an NBA team and came through big-time, even though we had to spend more than double what we originally spent renovating it just 5 years after the thing opened, but whatever. With this, if we can somehow achieve the same result and only spend $10M or $15M a mile, then I agree that it's absolutely ideal that we do that.

That is why it is critical to coordinate with Project 180 as much as possible, so we can take advantage of streets being torn up and utilities being moved etc just one time. Unfortunately, under the Devon deal, the city is obligated to complete P180 by a certain date and it seems unlikely from earlier reports that there is going to be much overlap between the time when P180 is over and construction of the Streetcars begins. Depends on where the streetcars end up going as P180 is being done in phases and possible that one of the earliest phases may already be finished before the routes for the streetcar a finalized, much less construction begins.

Sorry, but the "bare bones" contention just doesn't line up with the facts (won't go into it here). While the renovations did cost more than the original building, it wasn't "more than double". Original building cost $90M (mol) and the renovations were slated to cost $120M (including the stand alone $20M to $25M Practice Facility). According to Bennett, the Practice Facility was broken out due to footprint limitations of the Ford site.


...This can not be done with MAPS money because what the voters passed explicitly said downtown streetcar. That's also what the voters were sold. ...

Wrong. Neither the Ballot or the Ordinance (what voters were actually voting on) "explicitly said downtown streetcar." They didn't mention ANY of the announced projects at all. There is nothing legally preventing them from using any of the MAPS 3 money for just about any purpose they decide as long as it fits the all encompassing definition of "capital improvement". Although I agree, it is what voters were "sold" (just not in the Ballot/Ordinance).

Unlike the original MAPS ballot that went into quite a bit of detail. But even the original MAPS had language in it that gave the City an out, something along the lines that the Council could deem at any time that a project was finished (even if one spade of dirt hadn't been turned). This was brought up when they were considering scraping the Ford (due to massive cost over runs of the other MAPS projects). But IIRC, we were assured by mayoral candidate Humphreys, that MAPS could be built on time and on budget. Of course neither turned out to be the case (even took a voter approved 6 month "extension" to "finish MAPS right" to build the Ford).


This is partly correct. People's sentiments are definitely supportive of a serious investment in public transit. But what was clear in the polling is that it was an investment in trains that people wanted, not buses. I wish that there was far more MAPS money towards a greater system, but it still is an incredible start. We will have a state-of-the-art, start to a pemanent regional/intra city rapid transit system.

It also important to understand why the streetcar was chosen. It will serve as the nucleus of this larger system. Downtown belongs to everyone and a greater cross section of voters will benefit using it. The biggest reason is that it is the cheapest annual operating expense of the larger system. When we discontinue the use of the rubber tired "trolleys", the annual operational cost can be absorbed. Maps builds infrastructure, it doesn't pay for operations. We simply don't have a funding mechanism to pay for the incredible annual costs associated with running buses.

But finally, no one should propogate the idea that voters might have been voting for something else. The streetcar had an extensive public education campaign to itself that was continually monitored by scientific polling. I know because I made sure of it. It was laborously debated before the resolution language was adopted. And ultimately it has had more public input meetings, debates, and professional analysis than any other MAPS project. ...

Again, think we have the Mayor to thank on this one as I never saw where he cited the scientific polling you mentioned (just the City's unscientific internet MAPS 3 Survey). As I mentioned above, the City lumped "Mass Transit" into a single category and never gave a breakdown of the self admitted different components. We could have covered the concerns of a wide area of the city and not just those on the 5 to 6 miles of the eventual route.

The Mayor mentioned in his 2007 address:

Now, the plan includes four distinct methods of public transportation: Bus Rapid Transit, Commuter Rail, Downtown Streetcar, and Enhanced Bus Service.
He repeated the comprehensive plan in his 2009 address:

Fully implemented, it calls for a greatly enhanced bus system, including Bus Rapid Transit, and there are also light rail and downtown streetcar components.

The indication that it was still going to be a comprehensive mass transit solution that he had been pushing for a few years was mentioned just a couple of weeks before the MAPS 3 announcement.
MAPS 3 proposals almost ready for Oklahoma voters (Oklahoman, 9/14/09)

Whether those transit improvements will include better bus service, light rail, a modern streetcar or some combination of the three will be among the details city officials release at a news conference within two weeks, Cornett said.
Yet, in MAPS 3, he abandoned the other 3 components (which were included in the City's Survey). Think this abandonment (at least temporarily) helps explain the huge gap between the 85% MAPS 3 approval cited by the Mayor and the barely passing 54% when it came to the actual vote.

It would have cost more to do the comprehensive plan that would have covered a much larger portion of the voters but not outrageously more:
Oklahoma City's mass transit overhaul comes with a big price (Oklahoman, 11/5/08)

Metro Transit spent 18 months studying public transportation options, which included public forums. The resulting plan included better bus service, commuter rail, a modern streetcar for the downtown area and bus rapid transit, which is a hybrid between bus and rail. Total price tag: $394 million to build and $90 million a year to maintain.
That would have meant elimination of some of the lesser projects (designed to get broader support but basically eliminating the widespread support for the comprehensive plan that people said they wanted), or a roughly 10 year tax instead of the 7.75 one we ended up with.

Know you mentioned previously that the Trolleys are ending the end of their expected operational life and will be retired (no pun intended), but what is going to replace them? Granted the Streetcars might replace the DT ones (if on the same route) but what about the line that goes to the Meridian corridor? Are we depending on the River Cruises to replace it?

WOW, I knew we had streetcars at one time but didn't know the extent:

In the words of a 2001 article in The Oklahoman, "At one time, local residents enjoyed a transit system unrivaled nearly anywhere else in the country, with 138 miles of trolley tracks reaching into all parts of the city and a rapid-transit Interurban leading from Oklahoma City to Norman, Guthrie and El Reno."
Sorry, but don't know exactly where I pulled this from but believe it was a site related to Urban.

betts
01-03-2011, 07:33 AM
No one is depriving the downtowners the same "luxury" as the rest of the city as they have the same roads and buses. Giving one group of people something the rest of the city doesn't have is the problem. That was part of some resistance to MAPS 3 and the reason why other projects were included. To avoid the "this only benefits Downtown".

Using your logic Larry, the downtown Public Library, the Civic Center, the Arena, the ballpark.....in other words, virtually every existing MAPS project only benefits downtown. The whole concept of MAPS was to create a downtown that offered multiple different types of entertainment/leisure time options to people who live anywhere in the city...to create a city that appealed to people not only from here, but from elsewhere. A major reason we lost the United contract was because Oklahoma City was dull and dying. The best way to do locate these projects was to centralize them, IMO, so that people who live in the north of the city and the south have equal access. Were those MAPS projects not downtown, I'm hard pressed to think of a logical place to put them, or it's difficult to think of any of them having the impact they do if we'd put the arena in far southeast Oklahoma City, the ballpark in far northwest Oklahoma City and so forth Every city has the downtown as its heart, and its amenities are available to all. The streetcar offers the option to make the downtown even more accessible to people, especially those who aren't big walkers or who feel intimidated by the geography.

As I said earlier, most of the people who already live downtown are people who do so because the don't mind walking or who wish to walk. That's one of the appeals of living here. I see the streetcar as a way of getting even more people downtown to enjoy its options by making the city seem accessible and welcoming, by making it easy to get from place to place and enjoy the city they have helped create.

Then, if the route is planned sensibly, the possiblility of extension of the streetcar to make it part of a complementary mass transit package that includes light rail, the street car and (hopefully) natural gas buses exists. I don't think anyone supporting the streetcar thinks it will be the be all and end all of mass transit. It is my fervent hope that by offering a type of mass transit that is new and exciting, the eyes of people who would never consider mass transit in the past might be opened, and we might be able to encourage more use of other options by them.

Urban Pioneer
01-03-2011, 10:59 AM
"Again, think we have the Mayor to thank on this one as I never saw where he cited the scientific polling you mentioned (just the City's unscientific internet MAPS 3 Survey). As I mentioned above, the City lumped "Mass Transit" into a single category and never gave a breakdown of the self admitted different components. We could have covered the concerns of a wide area of the city and not just those on the 5 to 6 miles of the eventual route."

The polling that I refer to is the ongoing polling that was occurring before the vote by the chamber, Gazette, and several independent consultants. The unscientific web based poll that you mention was simply an indicator way before the vote. The information that I saw and made decisions on clearly demonstrated that the public understood exactly what they were getting with the modern streetcar and supported it. The Gazette polling was relatively "inline" with the internal assessments at the time on individual projects.


"The Mayor mentioned in his 2007 address:
"Now, the plan includes four distinct methods of public transportation: Bus Rapid Transit, Commuter Rail, Downtown Streetcar, and Enhanced Bus Service."

He repeated the comprehensive plan in his 2009 address:
"Fully implemented, it calls for a greatly enhanced bus system, including Bus Rapid Transit, and there are also light rail and downtown streetcar components."

The indication that it was still going to be a comprehensive mass transit solution that he had been pushing for a few years was mentioned just a couple of weeks before the MAPS 3 announcement."

I was physically present at that conference. His speech demonstrated that this would be a start to a comprehensive mass transit solution. The comprehensive plan in which the modern streetcar was specified as a recommendation was the 2005 Fixed Guideway Study that he was referencing. And the recommendation that the planners made in 2005 was specific to the downtown area as a distribution and collector for the system at large and for people who are present in downtown.


"MAPS 3 proposals almost ready for Oklahoma voters (Oklahoman, 9/14/09)
Whether those transit improvements will include better bus service, light rail, a modern streetcar or some combination of the three will be among the details city officials release at a news conference within two weeks, Cornett said.

Yet, in MAPS 3, he abandoned the other 3 components (which were included in the City's Survey)."

The mayor himself did not abandon the other two components. The council was confronted with the reality that more buses and/or other types of rail require an ongoing operational budget of which the city has no budget for. The modern streetcar annual operational costs was the only element other than basic maintenance on a hub facility that the city budget can absorb each year.

"It would have cost more to do the comprehensive plan that would have covered a much larger portion of the voters but not outrageously more:

"Oklahoma City's mass transit overhaul comes with a big price" (Oklahoman, 11/5/08)

"Metro Transit spent 18 months studying public transportation options, which included public forums. The resulting plan included better bus service, commuter rail, a modern streetcar for the downtown area and bus rapid transit, which is a hybrid between bus and rail. Total price tag: $394 million to build and $90 million a year to maintain."

The $394 million number is first a 2005 number. We can assume that price tag would be more now.

2nd, it is for not only enhanced bus service, but also for a regional commuter rail system. Such a system will require inter-jurisdictional agreements with other cities who would want to participate in the studies findings. Norman, Moore, Midwest City, Del City, Edmond, and Yukon would have the opportunity to participate.

But MAPS was never intended to fund items outside of the city limits. and again, it does not provide the ongoing operational budget which the only other item (being buses), require.


"Think this abandonment (at least temporarily) helps explain the huge gap between the 85% MAPS 3 approval cited by the Mayor and the barely passing 54% when it came to the actual vote."

Doubtful... MAPS had organized opposition that used fear for cuts in emergency services as their primary oppositional campaign device. And... we were emerging into an anti-tax environment as the economic downturn nationally affected even of our local psyche about the future.


"That would have meant elimination of some of the lesser projects (designed to get broader support but basically eliminating the widespread support for the comprehensive plan that people said they wanted), or a roughly 10 year tax instead of the 7.75 one we ended up with."

I can't speak on the other projects other than to say that the council endorsed what they endorsed under the successful MAPS template.

A regional transit project will not only require the inter-jurisdictional agreements to "formalize" such a proposal, but it will require a political campaign specifically for transit that stretches across three counties. Most certainly, we would not have been prepared for such a campaign when the MAPS tax was expiring and it is unlikely that any kind of tax for transit projects specifically would have passed without higher gas prices and a more favorable economic environment.


"Know you mentioned previously that the Trolleys are ending the end of their expected operational life and will be retired (no pun intended), but what is going to replace them? Granted the Streetcars might replace the DT ones (if on the same route) but what about the line that goes to the Meridian corridor? Are we depending on the River Cruises to replace it?"

The life expectancy for the existing trolleys is 12 -13 years of operational use. Apparently, we have enough in reserve millage to maintain the Stockyard City and Meridian routes without new vehicles. I (believe) I heard from Metro Transit that we can get another 6 years out of what we have if the fleet is consolidated and used only for those corridors. They will be assessing federal opportunities for replacement and I would assume that there will be another bond issue vote in the future that might resolve any dire situation that we might be n if the federal monies or alternative solution is not there. They are apparently a maintenance headache.


"WOW, I knew we had streetcars at one time but didn't know the extent:
In the words of a 2001 article in The Oklahoman, "At one time, local residents enjoyed a transit system unrivaled nearly anywhere else in the country, with 138 miles of trolley tracks reaching into all parts of the city and a rapid-transit Interurban leading from Oklahoma City to Norman, Guthrie and El Reno."
Sorry, but don't know exactly where I pulled this from but believe it was a site related to Urban."

We had one of the largest streetcar systems in the world. Anton Classen and John Hefner were visionary business men. This project is the start to bring a real system back.

Urban Pioneer
01-03-2011, 11:05 AM
Larry, thanks for pressing these issues though. Your very thoughtful in assessing MAPS. You pay attention.

However, I can assure you that we obtained a substantive start to the Regional solutions that you desire. We obtained nearly everything that we possibly could within the MAPS framework considering the annual operational budget issues. We also got as much as possible within the existing political framework.

Now it is important to "hunker down" and build it. What we don't want is to "re-debate" something that the public very clearly supported and has continued to support. To not do it would be political suicide and potentially set real transit reform back decades.

Larry OKC
01-03-2011, 11:56 PM
Urban


I applaud you and your groups efforts to get done what has been accomplished so far.

Thank you for your response and take on it, I am not disputing anything you are saying about the the polling info you saw (just that from all appearances, the Mayor never used/cited it). He did indeed mention "a start" in dealing with the Mass transit issue as MAPS 3 approached and IMO was setting it up to be a piecemeal approach rather than everything essentially at once approach. Probably easier to sell to the voters. BUT on the other hand, what are the voters expecting out of this when MAPS 3 is finished? Functional but incomplete projects (much like the Ford) that are going to require substantial, ongoing expenditures? Not suggesting this is necessarily the case with the Streetcars as after MAPS 3 was announced, it was clear that it was a starter system, but more along the lines of the Convention Center where the according to the speaker the City brought in said they needed the expanded version of the C.C. today, much less what their needs will be 10 years from now when the C.C. is open. Hardly any mention of the probable public/private partnership required to get the C.C. hotel built (according to the ULI info, the public part could easily be in the $50M area). Don't get Spatan started on the $30M of the C.C. budget that has been promised to OG&E for the substation (no matter where the C.C. ends up)...LOL

There were many areas that almost lead to MAPS 3 being defeated and the C.C. seems to have been at the top of the list when according to the scientific polling it never polled above 50% approval. As the most expensive item in the announced list, it certainly contributed. As far as the fear tactics about cuts to public safety, despite promises by the Mayor that it would not happen, that not only would there not be any cuts, but personnel would be added, ended up not being the case.

The have had several years to work out the regional aspects with other communities etc as the first mention of MAPS 3 was in 2003 shortly after MAPS for Kids passed (2001). Humphreys was Mayor and Burns Hargis was head of the Chamber. Hargis supported a Streetcar system to somehow be built (more in lines with the one planned with the original MAPS that would go from Bricktown to the Fairgrounds and to the Meridian corridor) by the Centennial (difficult to do since MAPS for Kids would have still been in effect and a MAPS 3 would have been an obvious tax increase). Humphreys was cool to the idea. But I digress...the point is, there has been plenty of time to get all of the ducks in a row with surrounding communities and an educational campaign. They knew well in advance when the MAPS for Kids tax would end (even got a 15 month extension of time by the Ford tax). I lay that fault back at the City Leaders collective feet.

Larry OKC
01-04-2011, 12:11 AM
Using your logic Larry, the downtown Public Library, the Civic Center, the Arena, the ballpark.....in other words, virtually every existing MAPS project only benefits downtown. ...

DING DING DING, we have a winner!

Precisely and that perception was one of the main points that almost lead to the original MAPS being defeated, that it was only/primarily benefiting downtown. I still don't buy the concept that DT belongs to everyone. While it may have been true in the past, I don't think that is the case any more. When my parents were growing up (and we still had the extensive trolley system), DT was THE place to shop etc. Not the case anymore.

They fixed the DT only perception with MAPS for Kids and included at least $1M in renovations to EVERY school in the OKC school district and a few brand new schools to boot. Also included 30% of the funds to go to other school districts (where they live in OKC but are in a different school district). Brilliant vote getter IMO

With MAPS 3, they tried to mesh the two (downtown combined with projects built elsewhere like Trails, Sidewalks and the Senior Aquatic Centers).

To get back to the thread topic, I think the MAPS 3 Streetcars should be multi-faceted in purpose as the Mayor said (sorry, don't have the exact quote handy so am doing it from memory). It shouldn't be just a route for tourists (but that element is included, so it must run to the new C.C., the Park and as many of the other MAPS 3 projects as possible, Bricktown along with the Memorial and other DT areas of interest to out of towners. It needs to serve existing businesses and encourage development to areas that need infill. Now how you do all of that with just 5 to 6 miles of track is the challenge.

kevinpate
01-04-2011, 03:18 AM
... Now how you do all of that with just 5 to 6 miles of track is the challenge.

Can't be done. End of story. Collectively the powers that be can take the first step toward a long range goal of a comprehensive streetcar + other modes of transit plan.

Larry OKC
01-04-2011, 03:31 AM
Will let you break the news to the Mayor, that's what he said he wanted to do with the 5 to 6 miles.

kevinpate
01-04-2011, 03:46 AM
Will let you break the news to the Mayor, that's what he said he wanted to do with the 5 to 6 miles.

Nah, I'll pass. First, not my mayor. Second, being a mayor, he says lots of things. Correcting politico speak is like eating pistachios. It's rather hard to stop at just one.

betts
01-04-2011, 06:18 AM
DING DING DING, we have a winner!

Precisely and that perception was one of the main points that almost lead to the original MAPS being defeated, that it was only/primarily benefiting downtown. I still don't buy the concept that DT belongs to everyone. While it may have been true in the past, I don't think that is the case any more. When my parents were growing up (and we still had the extensive trolley system), DT was THE place to shop etc. Not the case anymore.

I think you'll find a lot of people disagree with you. Downtown doesn't have to be THE place to shop for it to belong to everyone. It just needs to have a little something that everyone can either be proud of, want to show visitors or enjoy spending some time in. When I see people sledding at the ballpark, skating at the ice rink, walking out of Thunder games cheering, going to Barons games in their jerseys, walking into the public library, going to the Art Museum for brunch, to see a movie, to see an exhibit or to socialize on the rooftop, eating at restaurants throughout Bricktown and the CBD, riding a canal boat, going to the movies or (slight shudder here) shopping at Bass Pro then I see that MAPS accomplished something big. When you hear people talk about how their perception of their own city changed after MAPS I know it accomplished something big. I really do think a significant number of people in Oklahoma City understand that downtown has been transformed for them and by them. The goal of MAPS 3 is to continue to create things they can enjoy and be proud of, IMO.



To get back to the thread topic, I think the MAPS 3 Streetcars should be multi-faceted in purpose as the Mayor said (sorry, don't have the exact quote handy so am doing it from memory). It shouldn't be just a route for tourists (but that element is included, so it must run to the new C.C., the Park and as many of the other MAPS 3 projects as possible, Bricktown along with the Memorial and other DT areas of interest to out of towners. It needs to serve existing businesses and encourage development to areas that need infill. Now how you do all of that with just 5 to 6 miles of track is the challenge.

I believe an attempt will be made to make the city much more accessible for residents and visitors, within the scope of the funds available. Like the original Ford Center, it will be incomplete upon completion, as there will be a larger goal of creating a network for riders that ecompasses more than downtown. An organic city is never complete. We never get to rest on our laurels, but rather should always be asking what we can do, as citizens and as voters, to make it better.

TheTravellers
01-04-2011, 04:00 PM
I assume that this is the first step of a comprehensive plan to reduce commuting car traffic, improve the air quality, reduce commute travel time to downtown, etc. If so, it ultimately services those who would commute from Edmond, Norman, Yukon/Mustang and MidWest/Del City areas so they can work downtown and not have to crowd the streets with cars, saving the city in street costs, parking garage costs, etc.

OK, this is slightly tangential, sorry about that, so we can take it up in another thread if necessary, but it relates directly to what Rover mentions above. How can we get traffic signals synchronized across the metro area (or at the least, OKC, or at the very least, *some* main, prioritized streets in OKC)? Salt Lake City has been doing this for a couple of years now to reduce pollution and commute times (with a side benefit of less aggravation that's hard to categorize). http://www.slcgov.com/transportation/TrafficSignals/PDF/sync.pdf is their quickie little intro pamphlet. I'm not sure if anybody in OKC sees the need to do it, though - our air quality isn't as bad as SLC's (I'm just supposing that's true, I have no proof one way or the other), commute times aren't horrible, and sadly, I don't think most folks mind waiting through a bunch of red lights (just gives them more time to text :-) ). Commute time could be reduced and air quality could be improved, I believe, since it's very, very hard to go more than a mile without stopping on a large amount of main streets here. There are also a large amount of signals that have their sensors and/or timers out-of-whack (Marbleleaf Drive and NW 150th is a great example - turns red on 150th when there's nobody on Marbleleaf (not even someone that turned right onto 150th and tripped the sensor) and then stays red for literally 2 minutes (no, not a huge amount of time, but completely unnecessary). I just don't think OKC will ever do this since it will cost them money to do it, and there will be absolutely no concrete return in like for doing it. It'd be nice, though, to be stopped at a light, have it turn green, and *not* have the next one turn red just as you get off the line from the green one, which happens quite regularly on my drives...

Keeping this on topic, though, I believe the MAPS3 streetcar needs to be the start of what Chicago's mass transit system is (leaving aside the political BS and corruption that's part of the Chicago system, I hope). Chicago has subway/elevated trains that hook up with their Metra heavy rail terminals/stations, which are also served by bus routes, which also connect with the El/subway. Almost all the trains (El and heavy) are on a hub/spoke system of which the hub is downtown. The El also serves neighborhoods, bringing folks from all over to all over, not just downtown. Buses are the same way, but the heavy rail exists pretty much just to get folks from "not-downtown" to downtown to work. So I think the MAPS3 streetcar needs to be very similar to what the Loop-specific section of the El is to downtown Chicago - smaller subset of a larger (to be eventually built) set of transit options (of all kinds, but probably excluding heavy rail) that can get people from all over into downtown and eventually to other parts of the city. These people can be commuters working downtown, people just wanting to go downtown to see something, but also just people getting from one spot to another (lots of times we rode the Metra into downtown and took the El to go see something at the Music Box theater, rather than driving in and dealing with horrible traffic and parking. But as Urban Pioneer (I think) said, it has to be done right this time, so make it central to getting downtown where there are lots of things going on that people like to do, and it should have a stop in Bricktown since that'd be like Chicago's El not having a stop by the Magnificent Mile. There's no way we'll ever have a mass transit system as comprehensive as a lot of cities, but we can still have a pretty good smaller one, if done right.

Larry OKC
01-04-2011, 09:49 PM
I think you'll find a lot of people disagree with you. Downtown doesn't have to be THE place to shop for it to belong to everyone. It just needs to have a little something that everyone can either be proud of, want to show visitors or enjoy spending some time in. When I see people sledding at the ballpark, skating at the ice rink, walking out of Thunder games cheering, going to Barons games in their jerseys, walking into the public library, going to the Art Museum for brunch, to see a movie, to see an exhibit or to socialize on the rooftop, eating at restaurants throughout Bricktown and the CBD, riding a canal boat, going to the movies or (slight shudder here) shopping at Bass Pro then I see that MAPS accomplished something big. When you hear people talk about how their perception of their own city changed after MAPS I know it accomplished something big. I really do think a significant number of people in Oklahoma City understand that downtown has been transformed for them and by them. The goal of MAPS 3 is to continue to create things they can enjoy and be proud of, IMO....

And we are free to agree to disagree on that. No problem there. Unlike others I have never been ashamed or defensive when mentioning my home state/hometown (as I know there is no place that is perfect). The exception to that is MAPS itself, I would never take visitors down to the overhyped, overspent attrocity. The reason I say that is because I believed all of the hype and when I saw what our tax dollars bought, was severely disappointed with the results. Projects, while built, weren't built on time, on budget or as promised. Perfect example is the Canal. It cost 2.5 times what they said it would and wasn't't complete (was supposed to start at the convention center, go through Bricktown and connect to the River. We only got the Bricktown segment). Later an 'extension" to the River (that comes close but doesn't actually connect to the Canal was approved in the 2007 bond issue discussed elsewhere. And there was an attempt to get the convention center "extension" made part of MAPS 3, but City leaders didn't go for it (the C.C. cost roughly the same as the final cost of just the MAPS Bricktown segment). There is no getting around that inconvenient fact. Now one can argue if it was worth it or not, but that is a separate issue.

About the only time I venture in the area is to go to Toby Keiths for special occasions (and only because that is where it happens to be located). If I was more of a sports fan, again, it wouldn't be because the Ballpark or Arena are located DT/BT but because that is where the event is held at. In other words it has nothing to do with the location but the event itself.

We can agree that MAPS accomplished something big, but I don't think we would agree on what that was...LOL

betts
01-04-2011, 10:26 PM
That's fine, because I do disagree...big time. When I moved here, downtown OKC was an embarrassment, a ghost town. Now, I'm proud to show visitors what we've accomplished and I love spending time downtown, to the point that I find it cumbersome to have to get in my car and leave. I use all the MAPS projects and look forward to the new ones. We're all different, obviously.

ljbab728
01-04-2011, 10:51 PM
That's fine, because I do disagree...big time. When I moved here, downtown OKC was an embarrassment, a ghost town. Now, I'm proud to show visitors what we've accomplished and I love spending time downtown, to the point that I find it cumbersome to have to get in my car and leave. I use all the MAPS projects and look forward to the new ones. We're all different, obviously.

I agree Betts. Larry's visitors are missing out. When I have visitors in town and do things like the river boats and bricktown, they are always excited and busy taking pictures. And they aren't from backwater podunk cities. Downtown and the MAPS developments aren't perfect but they are still appreciated and a big draw.

Larry OKC
01-05-2011, 05:23 AM
...We never get to rest on our laurels, but rather should always be asking what we can do, as citizens and as voters, to make it better.

Nothing wrong with that on the surface but when projects were sold to the voters as being complete, state-of-the-art, crown jewels etc then just 5 years later, are told we need to spend just as much in improvements to complete the building you were told you got the first time around, there is a problem there.

The Streetcars were clearly presented as a starter system (after MAPS 3 was revealed) but if we don't get the the 5 to 6 miles and it doesn't go to all of the places the mayor said it was going to go to...again another problem. Having a MAPS 4, 5 & 6 to complete the comprehensive system is one thing, but if additional funds are needed to complete just the starter system, again, we have a problem.

Here is what the City's MAPS 3 website currently states:

Transit
Cost: $130 million
Description: The transit package includes approximately five to six miles of downtown streetcar. The streetcar will be on rails in City streets and link major employers, businesses, attractions and residential communities in the downtown area.

Here is what the Mayor said the Streetcar should connect:
http://www.mtpokc.com/news.html

Cornett said he and the Oklahoma City Council are still in the "consensus-building stage." As MAPS 3 plans progress, the streetcar emerges as the one thing that can link all the MAPS projects together, from the Bricktown Ballpark built by the original MAPS, through the Ford Center's makeover, to the glittering new convention center proposed for MAPS 3- something has to allow the projected throngs of out-of-town visitors a way to get from one to the other.
but

Mayor Mick Cornett indicated he favors a "spoke and hub" system "that would function as legitimate transit rather than a loop that would only really serve tourists."
then
http://newsok.com/streetcar-is-a-hot-topic-at-oklahoma-city-meetings/article/3460859

Streetcar is a hot topic at Oklahoma City meetings (Oklahoman, 5/13/10)

"Are you trying to build it to encourage and create development or are you trying to get it where people already are? I tend to think we are going to do both,Ē Cornett said.

not from the mayor but the light Rail Now website http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_newslog2009q4.htm:

...proposed streetcar running through Bricktown historical district, which would be linked to a variety of other important destinations and activity centers, including downtown, the Amtrak station, a planned intermodal transfer hub, the St. Anthony Hospital complex, various sports and entertainment venues, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and the Capitol complex.

All of that with just 5 to 6 miles?

More than one article stated that the transit portion would include the 5 to 6 miles of Streetcars AND commuter rail, along with the transit hub bringing everything together. However the mayor had this to say:

Whatever is decided, some people are bound to be disappointed. Cornett said one of the biggest battles is simple terminology.
Many people donít understand the difference between the downtown streetcar the city is planning and a commuter rail system that could link the city with other metro communities such as Edmond and Norman.
So the question remains, is commuter rail included or not, or were the reporters confused too?

Reportedly, the Streetcars are not dependent on any other funding and the Mayor said they have allocated enough to ensure the $130M would be enough to meet the stated goals (sorry but don't have the specific article handy)

Just like the $40M in additional funds it is going to take to actually complete the Trails Master Plan (as promised in numerous articles by multiple City officials). We only have $17M in cost over run funds dedicated in MAPS 3 so we are already $23M short at the start thanks to that "mistake". We can only hope that more mistakes of this magnitude aren't around the corner.

betts
01-05-2011, 06:34 AM
Larry, like with the Ford Center, you can only spend what you have. There may be some projects with cost overruns, but I don't think anyone can assume that's always an option, because clearly it's not. When a project is envisioned, an estimate is made of what that project will cost. However, the MAPS collection will take 7 years and we are told it could be 10 years before everything is completed. Anyone who isn't able to comprehend that sometimes things cost more than anticipated, or things occur that change estimations hasn't had much experience with either time or construction projects. Only someone who has not developed beyond the concrete stage of operations would hold a politician or anyone else to every literal word spoken when they're talking about things that may occur ten years in the future. Every effort will be made to get as many miles from the streetcar system as possible, while maintaining quality, and every effort will be made to serve citizens and visitors. But the $20 million per mile was a middle-of-the road estimate made in 2009 without knowing what utilties may have to be moved, which bridges might need extensive excavation, where corners may have to be clipped, etc. I think our citizens can understand that they will get a streetcar system, city council willing, and it will be the best streetcar system we can afford, within the scope of the tax dollars available (which could be more or less than $120 million to start with).


Whatever is decided, some people are bound to be disappointed. Cornett said one of the biggest battles is simple terminology.
Many people don’t understand the difference between the downtown streetcar the city is planning and a commuter rail system that could link the city with other metro communities such as Edmond and Norman.


So the question remains, is commuter rail included or not, or were the reporters confused too?

I don't think anywhere the quote above implies that the reporter thinks a commuter rail system is involved. One could question whether it was the mayor implying that some people don't understand the difference between the downtown streetcar and a commuter rail system or whether it was the reporter, but that is the only question in my mind when reading the above quote. I believe Urban Pioneer can tell you that most voters were not confused. They may confuse the concepts of light rail and streetcar, which appear similar, but I think most understand that it is not going to be a system linking Edmond and Norman, nor was it promised to be.

Kerry
01-05-2011, 07:42 AM
Larry - I think you are attributing too much supernatural power to the Mayor. What he says is not brought to earth chiseled in stone to be the law of the land for all eternity. He is going through a learning process about rail just like the rest of us are. Opinions and desires have to change as more knowledge and information is acquired. For me personally, the system I envisioned 12 months ago is not the same system I envision today. Why? Because I know things today I didn’t know then. In fact, my view of streetcars has changed 180 degrees in just the past 7 days. (don't know if I should use the word 'changed' as much as my view has been refined - I learned a lot studying the Oslo streetcar system)

soonerguru
01-05-2011, 08:35 AM
Larry - I think you are attributing too much supernatural power to the Mayor. What he says is not brought to earth chiseled in stone to be the law of the land for all eternity. He is going through a learning process about rail just like the rest of us are. Opinions and desires have to change as more knowledge and information is acquired. For me personally, the system I envisioned 12 months ago is not the same system I envision today. Why? Because I know things today I didn’t know then. In fact, my view of streetcars has changed 180 degrees in just the past 7 days. (don't know if I should use the word 'changed' as much as my view has been refined - I learned a lot studying the Oslo streetcar system)

And Thank God the mayor is a person who is willing to change his position when he learns new information. What a nightmare it would be if he weren't.

Hutch
01-05-2011, 09:40 AM
More than one article stated that the transit portion would include the 5 to 6 miles of Streetcars AND commuter rail, along with the transit hub bringing everything together. However the mayor had this to say:

So the question remains, is commuter rail included or not, or were the reporters confused too?



It's simply limited understanding and poor reporting on the media's part. It happens every day. Those of us who have dealt with press releases and press relations know very well that once you finish an interview or distribute specific information, no matter how well presented, you can only pray that what gets printed is accurate and not misrepresented. Some of the media outlets do a very good job of taking the time to understand the details and accurately report the information. Others are more interested in simply getting a headline out as quickly as possible.

In this case, the confusion comes from the fact that the MAPS 3 $130 million transit package involves $120 million for 5-6 miles of modern streetcar and $10 million to go toward the intermodal hub or commuter rail infrastructure. That has been correctly stated numerous times by the Mayor and other officials. However, of all of the news stories done on the subject, the press has described the package in various ways, some of which are inaccurate. Some have described it very accurately. Others have simply generalized the facts and printed that the $130 million is for streetcar, hub and commuter rail, which is true in the general sense but not very accurate as to the specifics of the actual package.

shane453
01-05-2011, 10:08 AM
Larry- you're one of my favorite characters on OKCTalk, because you're always searching for problems that just aren't there. Someone's got to be the conspiracy theorist and devil's advocate I suppose. But really, no one ever implied that commuter rail would be a part of MAPS 3, and if any voters thought that was the case then Mayor Cornett is exactly right- they were confused about commuter rail vs streetcar.

Rover
01-05-2011, 01:34 PM
Back on track....

The question was, what do YOU think the streetcar system should should be and do? Not what you think someone else meant. Why do you think the streetcar system will do for OKC?

Popsy
01-05-2011, 06:06 PM
My view is that the streetcar system will allow OKC to eventually say "well we finally had a Maps failure". I am with Pete White on this one. There is no bang for the buck here, in fact it will barely be a whisper. It might have some ridership for a couple of years due to the novelty of there being a streercar system in OKC. It will give the panhandlers a captive audience for two years during the novelty phase. Instead of working the streets and whatever weather there is that day, panhandlers can ride all day long plying their trade without having to worry about the weather. This is all I will say about this subject as I do not want to debate my opinion. It is what it is.

shane453
01-05-2011, 06:09 PM
^^ I can't wait to go back to the archives and find comments like that once the streetcar has generated its first billion or two in private investment (see Portland)

Rover
01-05-2011, 07:30 PM
My view is that the streetcar system will allow OKC to eventually say "well we finally had a Maps failure". I am with Pete White on this one. There is no bang for the buck here, in fact it will barely be a whisper. It might have some ridership for a couple of years due to the novelty of there being a streercar system in OKC. It will give the panhandlers a captive audience for two years during the novelty phase. Instead of working the streets and whatever weather there is that day, panhandlers can ride all day long plying their trade without having to worry about the weather. This is all I will say about this subject as I do not want to debate my opinion. It is what it is.

I bet the Thunder fails here to. Nobody wants to see the NBA here. (sarcasm intended):laughing_

Spartan
01-05-2011, 07:45 PM
My view is that the streetcar system will allow OKC to eventually say "well we finally had a Maps failure".
If you don't think there has been a MAPS failure yet, let me help you out with that: The rubber-tire trolleys.


There is no bang for the buck here, in fact it will barely be a whisper.
How do you even say that? Every $1 Portland spends on streetcar it gets $18 back in development. You must not literally be referring to pecuniary matters when you say getting bang for your buck.


It might have some ridership for a couple of years due to the novelty of there being a streercar system in OKC.
Isn't that what everyone said about the NBA in Oklahoma?



It will give the panhandlers a captive audience for two years during the novelty phase. Instead of working the streets and whatever weather there is that day, panhandlers can ride all day long plying their trade without having to worry about the weather.
This is anti-urban. What are we supposed to do, send all of our money to Edmond so that we can make sure panhandlers don't benefit? Yeah, Portland has panhandlers, but who cares? OKC has them too, you can just run them over if you want.


This is all I will say about this subject as I do not want to debate my opinion. It is what it is.
How convenient.

Kerry
01-06-2011, 08:08 AM
If you don't think there has been a MAPS failure yet, let me help you out with that: The rubber-tire trolleys.

Thank you. That was such an easy one to hit out of the park it should have been a crime to do so.


This is anti-urban. What are we supposed to do, send all of our money to Edmond so that we can make sure panhandlers don't benefit? Yeah, Portland has panhandlers, but who cares? OKC has them too, you can just run them over if you want.

I have a friend in Atlanta with a unique solution to this. When he sees a panhandler approaching him he asks the bum if he has any change he can spare. It usually catches the panhandler off guard who then just walks away confused about what just happened.

betts
01-06-2011, 11:09 AM
I think the whole pandhandler thing is overblown anyway. I've lived downtown for almost 2 years now and I've only been approached once by a panhandler and I'm out and about in Bricktown and Deep Deuce almost daily, and downtown frequently.

Popsy
01-06-2011, 11:50 AM
I said I was not going to debate this, but I will comment on the responses.

Spartan, the reason the rubber tired trolleys are not doing well is because there is not a viable demand for public transportation in OKC. Except for the novelty, the streetcar will not change that at all.

Shane, I hope you are a young person and be here a very long time to see any significant kind of return on the streetcar.

Kerry, if you think Spartan hit one out of the ball park, the outfield fence must have been only 10 feet from home plate.

Betts, only time will tell.

Rover, people might have said the Thunder would fail, but the reality is that there was a demand, unlike the streetcar.

A Question. Why do urbanists feel they have to respond to everyone that has a different opinion than their own. Very tiresome.

BoulderSooner
01-06-2011, 12:29 PM
I don't think that i could be called an urbanist per say ... i do live in midtown and i want to see OKC continue to grow and get better. a couple of thoughts on the "no bang for your buck"

If i lived in north or south OKC .. from a transit standpoint i would have been against the "downtown streetcar" because i would be in a house in the burbs somewhere and it would not do much for me .... as a midtowner i may or may not use the streetcar to get around but i like that it being built because it will raise my property value.


however what makes street car such a no brainer .. is the private investment that follows fixed rail urban transit ... as others have said it is huge and very real ..

120mil investment in ourseves (actually much less since much of the tax is paid by those outside OKC) will return well over a Billion in private investment in okc and thus create huge revenue source for the city ... everyone should be for fixed rail transit from a purely dollars standpoint ..

Rover
01-06-2011, 12:51 PM
Rover, people might have said the Thunder would fail, but the reality is that there was a demand, unlike the streetcar.

People like you said that there WASN'T demand. Opinion and fact are often two totally different things.

Their IS demand for transportation. There IS demand for ease. There IS demand for personal cost savings. There IS demand for clean air. There IS demand....

If streetcars can fill demand then the ridership will be there. That is why I asked what people wanted or expected the system to be and to do for them.

Kerry
01-06-2011, 12:54 PM
Bouldersooner - you must be 10 feet from homeplate because that was another one out of the park. Good point.

Spartan
01-06-2011, 01:21 PM
I said I was not going to debate this, but I will comment on the responses.

Spartan, the reason the rubber tired trolleys are not doing well is because there is not a viable demand for public transportation in OKC. Except for the novelty, the streetcar will not change that at all.

Rover, people might have said the Thunder would fail, but the reality is that there was a demand, unlike the streetcar.

That's like saying the rock bottom low attendance at OU basketball games right now is proof that Oklahoma doesn't care about basketball, because the state's major university can't even drum up bball interest. Nevermind the fact that being an OU bball fan is such a painful experience right now that most of us have had to block it out of our lives at the moment..the product sucks. The Thunder sell out every night.

Provide a superior product and it will be supported in OKC. The rubber-tire trolleys are a freaking joke. I hate those gd trolleys so much it's hard to express. Streetcar will simply be a superior offering, and it will be used. Also, to say there is no demand for transit is ridiculous. Especially considering streetcar doesn't need "transit demand" because it creates its own ridership base with TOD (transit oriented development).


A Question. Why do urbanists feel they have to respond to everyone that has a different opinion than their own. Very tiresome.

Because this is a forum for discussion.

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRcmY8cwrftG8WpxlMtnTsJbunauwoVq aR5O_hb5RoMA5w8KEgc8A

Popsy
01-06-2011, 01:46 PM
Rover, are you trying to say that what you are saying is a fact any more than what I am saying is a fact? I recognize that what I am saying is not a fact, it is only my opinion. I do not begrudge your opinion, even if flawed in my opinion. The truth is, only time will tell.

Spartan, you have drank so much of the Koolade reality has totally abandoned you. I hope you can recover someday.

Architect2010
01-06-2011, 02:45 PM
No Popsy. You clearly made definitive statements saying that there is not demand for public transportation in OKC. It seems to me that you were trying to speak more along the lines of some personally-inflated sense of fact and not opinion. Don't back up now.

Spartan
01-06-2011, 02:45 PM
Popsy, it's Koolaid not Koolade. Sheesh, you can't even get that straight.

Popsy
01-06-2011, 03:29 PM
arch2010. No, not backing up. The title of the thread is "What do YOU think..........." and I gave my thoughts. Rover stated his were facts, but I do not see how what he said are facts as it has not happened yet. He might have seen it in other cities, but OKC is not one of the other cities. Why don't we wait a couple of years after it is up and running and then see what the facts are at that point in time.

Spartan, you must be off your game if a spelling error is the best you can come back with. I actually spelled it with aid at first, but then thought it looked wrong. Since I have never drank the koolaid it is no wonder I don't know how to spell it and since you have consumed a bunch of it I consider you to be an expert at spelling koolaid.

betts
01-06-2011, 04:00 PM
I personally agree with Spartan. The trolleys have no easily discernable route, they have no easily discernable stops and they arrive at no discernable time. Any one of those problems could sink a transit system, all three doom it, IMO. Since we have an existing system that is dysfunctional, one cannot extrapolate how the public would deal with a functional one, based on prior experience.

There is data from other cities showing both significant increases in ridership, as well as extremely significant transit-oriented development. The streetcars, if the route is designed properly, will have an easily discernable route. The fact that there will be tracks in the ground helps as well, and hopefully we will have superior signage. Trains will arrive frequently and reliably. If we design a route that takes people places they want to go, ridership will be through the roof. We might put the Black Pearl out of business, but not the Iguana. Especially considering our unreliable weather, the option of even going a few blocks at times of extreme heat or cold will make the prospect of going somewhere other than the mall an attractive one. At some point in time, hopefully, you will be able to arrive on a train from Edmond or Norman and take the streetcar around downtown.

Popsy
01-06-2011, 05:34 PM
Betts,

Despite my current thoughts I actually hope it is successful for the sake of the citizens of OKC that are ponying up the 130 million dollars to see it implemented. I would feel better about the project if it was currently limited to the downtown core.

Rover
01-06-2011, 07:32 PM
Streetcars are just the core of the infrastructure that will help enable an efficient transit system throughout the metro area. It will have success, but will be even more used when the rest of the systems feed people to it. It is a long term development process. Streetcars, interurban light rail, train, high velocity train.