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BG918
11-29-2006, 09:06 PM
The commuter rail line us forumers and city leaders always talk about involves the existing corridor from Edmond south to Norman. In most places it is either one of two tracks with heavy rail freight traffic during the day, which would probably necisitate building another track just for commuter trains.

Here are what I see as the potential stops for such a commuter rail service and the potential for urban development around them:

DOWNTOWN EDMOND
The northern point on the line, the downtown area already has a number of shops and restaurants, is close to UCO, and is near the center of town for commuters doing park-n-ride. Future TOD (yellow box) could include loft apartments and more retail for the downtown area.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/edmond.jpg

NORTH OKC
This location could be anywhere along the line as it goes through sprawly north OKC, I picked the slighly denser residential area at Classen and Wilshire because it a mixed-use TOD could really do well in this area devoid of much retail development. Higher density apartments, mixed retail, and a parking garage would rise from the under-utilized light industrial surroundings here. Is this a good place for a station serving the northern part of OKC?
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/northokc.jpg

MIDTOWN
An already dense area of the city could be made denser with a station nearby. This station would connect the urban Paseo district/neighborhood along 23rd Street to the Capital District, which could denser with more mixed-use development and residential.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/capital.jpg

DOWNTOWN OKC
This is the main station and would require an enlarged Santa Fe Depot to act as an intermodal facility for commuter trains, buses/trolleys, and taxis in downtown. The perfect place for a TOD as Bricktown is adjacent to the station, where retail/restaurant/residential activity will only increase, and the convention center and Ford Center are within walking distance, as are the OKC Museum of Art, downtown library, and the central business district.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/santafedepot.jpg

CAPITOL HILL
This station, in an area where a lot of residents already use the bus system, could help continue to revitalize the historic Capitol Hill area and make Riverside (to the north across the river) more attractive to development. A station on Commerce Street (SW 25th) could aid in urbanizing this street, which is already urban as you go just west of Shields.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/commercestreet.jpg

CROSSROADS
As I mentioned in another thread, a TOD is the only way to really save Crossroads Mall. In several cities they have turned antiquated indoor malls into revitalized TOD's, I don't see why Crossroads would be any different. A mix of mall retail/restaurants, housing, and parking could really transform the Crossroads area of OKC.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/crossroads-1.jpg

DOWNTOWN MOORE
A station here could revitalize Moore's under-utilized downtown area, bringing the "center" of Moore away from the strip malls along I-35. A mix of housing and retail, along with a parking garage for park-n-ride, would complement this station.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/moore.jpg

DOWNTOWN NORMAN
Like in Moore, a station could help continue to revitalize Norman's beautiful Main Street area with a mix of housing, retail, restaurants, and entertainment within a short distance of the Campus Corner district. Norman's historic train depot would make a great station and could be used for connections to Amtrak and CART buses.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/normanrail.jpg

UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
The southern point of the line, this would serve a proposed "East Campus" development that would include new academic buildings and student housing next to the OU campus and Memorial Stadium. OU architecture students have already designed proposals for such a station that would mainly serve OU students and faculty but also residents in this dense part of Norman and people traveling to campus for football games.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/universityofoklahoma.jpg


Your thoughts/suggestions?

brianinok
11-29-2006, 10:00 PM
Sounds like a great plan. I'm impressed with your work. I do have a couple questions, though. Is there a good area between your Edmond stop and your Nichols Hills area stop? Also, is there any potential north of the Edmond stop for future growth? I drove up through that area a few weeks ago and was greatly surprised how many homes were up there, finished and under construction.

Spartan
11-30-2006, 12:40 PM
It woudln't fly. Those are heavily used freight rail roads. And the deal with commuter rail is that it runs during commuter hours to maximize efficiency, and I swear the only time I ever run into a train is during Rush Hour.

I think adjoining the commuter rail lines alongside I 35 and I 235 would be a better use of space, and could improve aesthetics along that really horrible stretch of I 35, and something has to be done to bring in denser development along I 35 south of 240 and on 235 north of I 44.

It's not as if Moore is not doing anything about their downtown. Just last year the city council adopted a city code that makes it easier to condemn certain properties, the Broadway streetscape will be done in a few months, and they will soon start construction on a traffic circle at Main and Broadway.

writerranger
11-30-2006, 01:51 PM
I have always loved your idea!

The success of Dallas' DART is a good example of commuter rail in a "car city." What do you think of DART?

http://ktransit.com/transit/uscentral/dfw/lightrail/dfw-lr07.jpg

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BG918
11-30-2006, 03:24 PM
Yes, Dallas' DART system and Denver's TRAX are good examples for OKC to follow. Both include extensive commuter lines (far more miles than Edmond-Norman) and started as simply another option for commuters coming into the inner city. The success of any commuter line though is in the TOD's at each station which actually encourage people to live/work/shop/eat/play near transit. Just getting a fraction (to start) of OKC's Metro population to be more transit-oriented would be worth the cost in the overall improvement in the quality of life and reduced pollution. Rail should be part of any new bond/sales tax package that goes before OKC and Metro voters. The feds would pay for a good part of it if our congressmen demand it.

Any good commuter line should be paired with a good inner city light rail/streetcar line. This is my proposal for LRT in and around downtown OKC, a "circular" concept that connects established areas in the center city like the CBD, Ford Center, Bricktown, St. Anthony's, OUHSC, etc. with growing areas like the Arts District, Riverside, The Triangle, Midtown, and the Asian District. For more info. see this thread: http://www.okctalk.com/okc-metro-area-talk/7105-maps-iii-light-rail-5.html

Kerry
11-30-2006, 05:06 PM
In adittion to commuter service - the trains could also serve special events - OU football, Hornets games, concerts at the Ford Center, and other events. The one problems is the size of the Santa Fe station. I just don't think it is big enough. An underground station would probably have to be built. It could even connect directly to an expanded metro concourse.

I wouldn't worry about congestion from freight traffic. The railroad is supposed to be double-tracked over the next few years. How many trains a day go through downtown OKC? A system like Colorado railcar is not very expensive to implement and could be up and running in just a few months.

Spartan
11-30-2006, 06:29 PM
I rather like Saint Louis' commuter rail tracks alongside the freeways. It proves the impossible: that dense development CAN occur along suburban freeways.

Writerranger: Would you be wanting the private sector to build these DART lines?

writerranger
11-30-2006, 07:25 PM
I rather like Saint Louis' commuter rail tracks alongside the freeways. It proves the impossible: that dense development CAN occur along suburban freeways.

Writerranger: Would you be wanting the private sector to build these DART lines?

No. That's why they call it public transportation. A metro-wide system would obviously have to be a united municipal effort. However, I believe some cities have private operation of mass transit (with appropriate leasing arrangements).

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Spartan
11-30-2006, 08:01 PM
I would argue Disney's parks have turned out better than if they allowed the local municipalities to build their roads, streetcars,. etc.


Your words.

MadMonk
11-30-2006, 08:19 PM
I can see how some might like it, but I know I'd never use it. I like coming and going on my own schedule, not the train's.

What's TOD stand for anyway?

writerranger
11-30-2006, 08:20 PM
Your words.

Spartan, Let's be fair. In the quote you pulled from another post, I was referring to the Riverside development. That's very different than a metro-wide commuter rail system that would involve multiple municipalities.

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Spartan
11-30-2006, 09:04 PM
I don't see how.

HFK
11-30-2006, 09:13 PM
I especially like your inclusion of Norman's old-town Main Street: I'd not thought about that. Of course, I'm sure that any such service would link OKC to Norman's Main Street/I35 intersection, but I'd not considered the possibility that it might continue on through old Norman and terminate at OU.

Great work, very visionary.

Spartan
11-30-2006, 09:47 PM
This here is a map of a system that I've long advocated, but I'm considering changing it now, and adding the more recent after thoughts of spending a little extra on seperate lines, and running them adjacent to the freeways. Hey, if you seriously believe that it's not cost-efficient to build commuter rail lines, you're under a whole lotta bull.

http://www.filehive.com/files/0916/okcrailmap.JPG

These stops are designed to be more convenient to people living in developments spawned by the existance of these lines, than to people driving, parking, and riding, to whom it would also be convenient to. In other words, my idea has more stops than Brent's.

shane453
12-01-2006, 11:51 AM
The idea is really attractive and there are some great vacant sites for big, really nice TODs, but we'd definitely have to do a lot of feasability studies on freight traffic combined with commuter traffic and the potential for added rail lanes along the Santa Fe right of way. I really liked your station locations, especially the N. OKC and Crossroads stations... those would make incredible TOD sites.

Spartan
12-01-2006, 01:03 PM
Who is 'you' in your post, Shane?

BG918
12-01-2006, 02:22 PM
The thing about the BNSF right-of-way is that there is room to build another track alongside the heavy freight lines, which are some the busiest in the nation. Also there is already somewhat dense development (like downtown Edmond, Moore, and Norman which are right by the BNSF tracks) and more TOD (transit-oriented development) potential than by the highways.

And MadMonk, of course there will be people who never use the commuter rail. There are people in New York who don't use public transit, they have their own cars. But providing the city and its suburbs with another option is important and there will be a significant number of people who WILL use the commuter train and especially will if each station is like a shopping/dining/housing area in itself, the definition of a TOD.

shane453
12-01-2006, 03:44 PM
I was talking about BG's station proposals.

Is there enough room for additional tracks even in the elevated portions of BNSF near downtown?

jdsplaypin
12-08-2006, 03:44 PM
In the Stillwater Newspress an article was included discussing a pending design to implement light rail in Okc mentioning K.C. & Little Rock are on the ball ahead of us & that we need to stay current with the growing mass transit trend. OKC's chamber head (i believe roy williams?) quoted that this is something okc will need considering our current metro transit accomodates only 1/3 of the willing transit riders. my opinion... five years & this will be under construction.

shane453
12-08-2006, 04:10 PM
That article (or one VERY similar) was also in the Oklahoman. It said, as I've thought before, that OKC just needs a "champion" of mass transit to get the ball rolling. The studies are complete, they show we can support light rail... It just takes someone who will step up to the plate and start lining up funding methods- hopefully a voter-approved sales tax. I think Mick could be nearing the point where he wants to see rail transit in the metro, after hearing certain comments from him that allude to it.

HOT ROD
12-08-2006, 05:39 PM
I think we all need to keep in mind two things:

1) Commuter Rail is different than light rail

2) Which type is best for OKC.

Commuter Rail is different than light rail in that CR uses long haul, often diesel locomotives, with dedicated stations. The cars themselves are "heavy" hence the term heavy rail. Commuter Rail is set up to transport suburban commuters into the city, downtown, and/or major employment point(s).

Light Rail is often called "Light Rail Trolley" or Trams or Streetcar, depending upon the right-of-way and types of vehicles. The common theme of Light Rail lines is that most are electric with overhead catenary lines and the vehicles themselves are "light" and usually modern. There are "heavy" light rail systems with dedicated track that act as commuter systems - like Portland's MAX, Dallas DART, however most common lines are circular sytems in the inner city/downtown areas to assist people in moving around - like Portland's Streetcar network.

Which type of system does OKC need?

Commuter rail would necessitate the use of dedicated rail lines and stops at train stations - since the vehicles are heavy and can not co-exist with regular traffic. Typically, these CR lines are found in the largest of cities that have extensive suburbs that require transit to downtown: Chicago's METRA Rail, Vancouver's West Coast Express, San Fran's CalTrain are examples. These systems are almost very similar to AMTRAK except that the insides are set up to accommodate volume of pax (versus long distance "comforts" of AMTRAK) and pax usually have two levels to sit per car.

"Heavy" Light Rail can co-exist with regular traffic and usually follows major thoroughfares or Interstates. These systems, while their capacity is usually smaller than Commuter Rail, "act" as commuter systems for less extensive suburb areas where ridership would not be that great. They also provide flexibility in that the lines often veer into the regular automotive right-of-ways and therefore does NOT require train stations but instead light rail platforms. Denver's new system is a perfect example of this.

Light Rail trolley's are the most common use of light rail technology. The vehicles are usually similar in capacity to a bus yet much more efficient. And trolley's reside exclusively in automotive right-of-way and have stops (not stations) on small platforms on the side of the road (like a bus stop). Trolley's could be modern low floor vehicles (like Portland's Streetcar), modern or heritage single vehicle tram (like TTC in Toronto or Little Rock or OKC's old Classen Streetcar), or something inbetween. The important difference of trolleys is that they are very frequent and circulate passengers using small vehicles in dense areas (or areas that become dense due to the Trolley line).

So which is best for OKC?

Since we don't yet have very many commuters, I think OKC should start with a light rail trolley circular that runs in downtown and maybe has "streetcar" type extensions up Classen to the Asia District and OCU, over to the Health District and State Capitol, down to the Riverside and Capitol Hill districts, and perhaps on to the Meridian Corridor, State Fair Park, and Stockyard City.

The key of this idea is that 1) the initial line would begin in downtown and would circulate the major downtown districts and 2) would be very inexpensive since all would be needed is track inst on existing street right of way and modernization of the traffic network (of course). The stations themselves would be very similar to the existing bus stops.

I'd envision a line that begins at the OKC Transit Center go down Walker to Sheridan or Reno over to Bricktown up to Deep Duece and Triangle turn into Automobile Alley and keep going into Midtown then turn back into downtown toward the OKC Transit Center. This circular would have stops at major attractions/employers along the way. There could also be a track running down Broadway connecting the two ends of the circle (Reno and 13th street?) that could provide a RUSH Hour/express into the CBD. Basically, the first line would replace Metro's Spirit bus trolley with a Rail trolley on fixed guideway - very inexpensive yet would be very welcome/necessary in downtown.

OKC could even do like Tacoma did in building a major parking garage system for autos to park and pax to hop on the trolley into downtown for work/play/shopping/etc. That is why I questioned the location of the OKC Transit Center as it only seems to be bus oriented but then again the light rail could stop there and use it as its central point.

This trolley system should be part of MAPS III using a combo of Federal dollars for the traffic system and sales tax for everything else and would cost less than $100M (probably only $50M in OKC) yet provide SIGNIFICANT benefit to the densification of downtown and the inner city. Portland Streetcar is the perfect example of what I'm talking about here - it provided a complete renaissance to downtown Portland and should be "copied" for OKC.

Extensions to OKC's central trolley line should be added to Asia District/OCU and the Health Center/State Capital after the circular line is complete. The southern extensions to Riverside/Capitol Hill and Meridian/Fair Park/Stockyard City could be added once I-40 ist complete.

The best use would be two new circles that spin off the downtown ones (in other words, spin off from Midtown up Classen to 30th over to Blackwelder down to 23rd over to Lincoln down to 13th over into the HSC district over to the Research District and OSSM down back across 13th into Midtown and/or down Lincoln into Deep Duece/Triangle connecting to the main circular) BUT the spin offs could be single lines up Classen to Blackwelder to OCU and over 13th into the HSC up Lincoln to the capital. The former would be more comprehensive and certainly add to the inner city density with the latter being less expensive.

Whatever the case, I think OKC should start with a circular trolley line then perhaps consider Heavy Rail (Commuter Rail) or Heavy Light Rail to Edmond and Norman once the inner city and Downtown rebuild/expand its employment reach.

Patrick
12-08-2006, 05:44 PM
I honestly don't think OKC is ready for commuter rail YET. But, we may need it someday. Until our highways get really really really congested, the need just isn't there. Just my 2 cents.

HOT ROD
12-08-2006, 05:48 PM
Patrick I agree.

That is why I noted that OKC should start with a trolley circular with extensions in the inner city. Once downtown grows above 20K residents and the inner inner city gets above 100K, then the metro could implement a commuter system (heavy or "heavy" light rail).

But to start, OKC should get a downtown circular trolley built immediately!!!

BG918
12-09-2006, 02:14 PM
I agree with that, buth both LRT and CRT should be PLANNED at the same time. LRT would be a good start to build up densities downtown but CRT would need to follow quickly behind. As downtown builds up in density it is important to limit sprawl in suburbs which is what CRT would help do.

writerranger
12-09-2006, 08:17 PM
Hot Rod.....

Not sure how I come down when it comes to type, routes, etc., but wanted to thank you for the informative post that can help with the brainstorming. Good job!

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BG918
04-06-2008, 03:40 PM
After replying in the Warren Theater thread about how that was a missed opportunity for Moore, it got me thinking about this one I created a while back. To avoid things like that happening again it is important to begin PLANNING for such a commuter rail system NOW. Just imagine if the Quail Springs Crossing project U/C north of Penn and Memorial were part of a planned TOD for north OKC??? If Spring Creek shopping center in Edmond had been built in downtown around the station instead??? If all the new development in Moore or Norman along I-35 was located around future rail stops??? Sorry for the rant, but the quicker we plan for this thing the more success it will have once we finally build it. Sure people will ride it to go to work and events downtown but the true success of the system will be in connecting the largest cities in the Metro and the TOD's around each station.

Also, I would add a stop at NW 63rd to my list above which is similar to what is actually "planned" with the FGS. I add that because it is a gateway to Nichols Hills and a fairly densely populated part of the city and because of what Chesapeake has planned for that area. There would be an additional "north OKC" stop but I'm not sure where exactly, either at Wilshire or Britton IMO.

The downtown map showing where commuter rail connects to the light rail system, a key component to its success:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/okclightrail4.jpg

flintysooner
04-06-2008, 05:15 PM
The fixed guideway plan I recall had a train stop at Moore's 4th and Broadway location. In fact it was the south end of the phase I plans I believe.

Personally I'd rather see and would support a very ambitious plan to at least tie together Norman, Edmond, the airport, Tinker, something west, and downtown.

But these things take so long I just want to see something get started.

betts
04-06-2008, 05:37 PM
The fixed guideway plan I recall had a train stop at Moore's 4th and Broadway location. In fact it was the south end of the phase I plans I believe.

Personally I'd rather see and would support a very ambitious plan to at least tie together Norman, Edmond, the airport, Tinker, something west, and downtown.

But these things take so long I just want to see something get started.

I agree. With gasoline prices rising, and availability in question, we need to start something sooner rather than later. My daughter, who has lived in Atlanta for four years, recently started riding MARTA, which she thought she'd never do. Her roommate is as well. When gasoline prices get high enough, or traffic gets bad enough, people whom you think would never get out of their cars and take public transportation just may do so.

Since I spent years using public transportation in Denver, I have no misgivings about it at all. As soon as something decent is available, I'll use it. I will NOT, however, stand in the grass next to a bus stop because there's no bench or overhead covering. That is something that needs to be fixed ASAP.

CuatrodeMayo
04-06-2008, 09:26 PM
I sketched this out a while back when I was thinking about an Edmond-Norman line. Turn on the satellite image and you can see how the significant architectural element of the station lines up with the tower on Old Central on the UCO campus.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107022609557984163662.00000112dd8116b57abd1&om=1&z=15 (http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=107022609557984163662.00000112dd8116b57abd1&om=1&z=15)http://oktalk.net/bb/Themes/scribbles11_tp/images/icons/modify_inline.gif

HOT ROD
04-07-2008, 01:08 AM
Looks very good BG!

PennyQuilts
04-07-2008, 04:56 AM
My husband takes the communter train to work in Washington, DC, everyday. The interstate traffic is so horrendous that it is just too iffy to try to drive. That being said, on the communter train, they are constantly caught behind freight lines annd if the trains run on time 3 out of 5 days, it is a thrill. And that is in the DC area where mass transit has been used, successfully, for decades.

The problem with a congrested area is that you have to factor in wrecks, slow trains, etc., all the time. My husband could drive to work in 35 minutes if the traffic cooperated but with wrecks, construction, etc., you'd have to add in an extra hour, every day, to ensure you get to work on time - maybe. This area has rivers so you aren't on a grid the way you are in Oklahoma City. There are upteen different ways to get where you are going in OKC and you can drive around wrecks, most of the time. Not so in this area. You are stuck on the interstate and due to rivers, that is your only way through if you are going north/south. Adding in an extra hour or so a day is a lot of time to sit around on the off chance that something will go wrong - and an hour is probably not enough if there really is a wreck. So he takes the train, instead. It still takes a lot longer but at least it is more predictable and he can read and drink his coffee. You get regular 20 minute delays vs. the distinct possibility of an hour or two on the highway. So he ends up with a three hour a day commute. Insanity, I know.

And the point of all that is when people have a reliable means to get where they are going within a reasonable period of time, most of them are going to do that instead of relying on a train. I think it would be great for big events but even then, the parking involved in getting to a depot would be horrible.

flintysooner
04-07-2008, 06:37 AM
Just for reference here is the link to the Oklahoma Fixed Guideway Study site (http://www.okfgs.org/).

My hope is that they will build something that will already have people at each end of whatever they build. Like airport to downtown or Tinker or OU or UCO. My fear is that they won't do that and then the thing will be proclaimed a failure because of low usage volume.

metro
04-07-2008, 08:23 AM
I agree. With gasoline prices rising, and availability in question, we need to start something sooner rather than later. My daughter, who has lived in Atlanta for four years, recently started riding MARTA, which she thought she'd never do. Her roommate is as well. When gasoline prices get high enough, or traffic gets bad enough, people whom you think would never get out of their cars and take public transportation just may do so.

Since I spent years using public transportation in Denver, I have no misgivings about it at all. As soon as something decent is available, I'll use it. I will NOT, however, stand in the grass next to a bus stop because there's no bench or overhead covering. That is something that needs to be fixed ASAP.

I used to ride the MARTA all the time. During the 1996 Olympics it was a MUST.

HOT ROD
04-08-2008, 01:09 AM
Just for reference here is the link to the Oklahoma Fixed Guideway Study site (http://www.okfgs.org/).

My hope is that they will build something that will already have people at each end of whatever they build. Like airport to downtown or Tinker or OU or UCO. My fear is that they won't do that and then the thing will be proclaimed a failure because of low usage volume.

I agree Flinty.

That is one of the peeves of mine regarding our new Sound Transit "central link' light rail line that is under construction. It will only run from downtown Seattle to the Airport and is projected to have ONLY 15,000-25,000 riders per day. Now that includes commuters (as it does run through some populated areas of South Seattle).

My peeve is, aside from Downtown Seattle, the light rail goes to NO major employer, NO major attraction, and runs through the "poorer" sections of S. Seattle (we don't really have ghettos here, just 'poor' sections). While there's nothing wrong with being poor or living in the poor section of town (or ghettos in OKC, Chicago, NY, elsewhere for that matter); Im pissed (excuse my lingo) because we are spending $4B (yes billion) for a 14 mile line that will get max 30,000 riders daily. That's ridiculous!!!

How could we have fixed this? Well, there is a MAJOR attraction/employer 5 miles to the north of downtown Seattle - called the University of Washington. Also, along the way - is Seattle's most Densely populated 'hood known as Capital Hill. Even along its current alignment, they chose to AVOID a bedroom S. suburb known as Renton (which is known to have a Boeing assembly plant as well) and they avoid the largest mall in the state - SouthCenter - also in S. suburbs

At MINIMUM, the first light rail line should have gone from the UW to Downtown via Capital Hill. Im POSITIVE ridership projections would have been 4 fold! And the line would have cost the same (or cheaper, since originally the DT-SeaTac line was budgeted for $2B but has overrun to the current just shy of $4B total). If the line would have connected to Renton and Southcenter before hitting the airport; I'd imagine at least a 10 fold projection since those ARE DESTINATIONS!!!

It seems as though Seattle wants to become one of the handful of cities with transit to the airport (others include Chicago, NY, SF, Vancouver, PORTLAND OR, DCA) - yet what Seattle didn't understand IS those cities have lines elsewhere, NOT JUST TO THE AIRPORT!

I dont know ANYBODY who will park in downtown Seattle in order to take the light rail to the airport OR who would park at the airport to take the light rail to Downtown Seattle. ??? ..

So, I say - OKC should start with the downtown trolley; build up your central city. Get it dense and allow the streetcar trolley to build critical mass in downtown. The downtown streetcar trolley could funnel residents and visitors to work, to the games, to entertainment - all of which should grow and create critical mass of pedestrians - that could feed other forms of transit.

THEN from there, build commuter heavy rail along the BNSF corridor (from Guthrie to S. Norman via Downtown; with stops at Edmond downtown/UCO, S. Edmond PnR, N. OKC/Village PnR, Capitol, Capital Hill/Shields Transit Center, Crossroads PnR, N. Norman or Downtown Norman, S. Norman PnR). In all honesty, this commuter heavy rail should be easy to implement (you'd only need to build the stations/stops really and possibly double track some sections)/Amtrak could run it or at least get it started. ...

THEN with success from the downtown trolley and BNSF Commuter Rail, we could implement high-floor light rail (not heavy rail or low-floor trolley) to go E-W Yukon or El Reno to E. Midwest City/Choctaw via Downtown.

THEN or at the same time, we could implement a Streetcar (low-floor) line to go from the Airport to Downtown.

The key is, build critical mass - and what already is the most massive area of the state of Oklahoma? you guessed it, downtown Oklahoma City! But add in a transit line in downtown and you INCREASE pedestrian critical mass and improve options for workers, residents, and visitors which translate into MORE employment, More residents, and MORE visitors -- Downtown becomes the true economy and destination; which other areas desire to feed into. At that point, you build the other lines; FEED into your generator - Downtown OKC.

As for TOD, not all stops need to be. but I'd say the stops that are not PnR should be TOD (mostly those that are inner city or the downtown of a suburb).

betts
04-08-2008, 06:23 AM
I would think fewer people take light rail to go to the airport in other cities than to go to work or shop. You've got to park your car regardless, and you've got all the baggage to handle. It's a pain hauling luggage through the airport if you've parked in the adjacent lot, much less from your car to the train, out of the train and into the airport. I seriously doubt a line to the airport would be that heavily used here, especially for those of us who would have to transfer trains, as the only through trains would be east-west. That should be the part of the line that is only done if we've got a bunch of money floating around, or it's part of a Midwest City to downtown, El Reno to downtown line that would be used regardless.

flintysooner
04-08-2008, 06:57 AM
I had not really thought through the airport consideration and this is an interesting discussion. I was thinking about Washington D.C. when I visited there many years ago. I stayed out near the airport and took a shuttle from the hotel to the airport. Then I took the Metrorail, which was new then, into D.C.

Part of the attraction actually was riding the Metrorail just because of the novelty then.

But the other part was that there were hotels out there by the airport that were much more affordable than the ones closer to downtown. And parking in downtown was terrible even then.

Chicago was kind of that way for me, too. I'd fly in and stay at a hotel near the airport and take the train into town.

Airport idea for Oklahoma City needs more consideration for certain.

Kerry
04-08-2008, 07:38 AM
A line to the airport is a must. I take my luggage on MARTA and I see lots of other people with luggage. It is very convenient for business travelers. Yes a family of 4 going on vacation for 2 weeks wouldn't want to bring 5 or 6 pieces aboard but a business traveler with one bag would. In London you can actually check your bag at the train station and get your boarding pass. You don’t see your luggage again until you pick it up at your destination. With self-service kiosks in Norman, Downtown, and Edmond you could check into your flight at the train station and check it with an attendant at the station and then you would not have bags to carry at all.

CuatrodeMayo
04-08-2008, 09:36 AM
Sounds like a good idea. I was working on a project last semester in the Loop in Chicago. One of the features the client wanted in the building was a place to check luggage just like Kerry mentioned. Great idea.

An airport-city train connection is a MUST. Flying into Chicago, DC, and NYC, having a train into town is very helpful.

I have traveled with my wife (lotta luggage) in areas where I took the train and it wasn't that difficult. Especially since most trains acutally stop IN the terminal.

BG918
04-30-2008, 12:02 AM
Just messing with Photoshop I have two lines for COMMUTER rail: the gray line (Edmond-downtown-Norman) and the orange line (downtown-airport). These would serve the suburbs of Edmond, Moore, and Norman and suburban parts of OKC as well as the airport. The gray line would connect with future urban light rail/streetcar (LRT) at Santa Fe downtown, Midtown (NE 10th), and at NW 63rd...see map above. Amtrak to Fort Worth and (hopefully) to Wichita and Tulsa/St. Louis would be accessible at the Santa Fe downtown and Downtown Norman stations.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v316/bg918/OKCTRANSIT.jpg

Some notes:

The University of Oklahoma station at the southern end of the line would not have the same frequency of service as the other stations and would mainly be used for special events i.e. football games at the stadium.

All Norman stations would be well-integrated with CART bus routes.

The Crossroads station would be added only if a proposal to rework the mall into a transit-oriented development was developed.

The Britton and Memorial stations would make great TOD's with retail and residential surrounding them.

The NW 63rd station could be a key element in Aubrey McClendon's and CHK's mysterious "grand" plan for the Nichols Hills/Western/NW 63rd area.

Feel free to add your own comments...

CuatrodeMayo
04-30-2008, 08:22 AM
I likey.

metro
04-30-2008, 08:27 AM
any room for a Penn Square stop before hitting Nichols Hills at NW 63rd and Western?

CuatrodeMayo
04-30-2008, 08:30 AM
I don't think the existing track right-of-way goes close enough.

BG918
04-30-2008, 01:33 PM
Even if we don't build this thing for another 10-15 years we need to start planning now so TOD's can develop around future stations. An example would be Quail Creek shopping center north of Quail Springs Mall. That could have been built around a future Memorial Rd. station. Same goes for the Warren Theatre in Moore, could have been built near the downtown station where there is plenty of vacant land. Also the University North Park development in Norman, and others. If we build these along where the stops will go that will make the system that much better once trains are running...

Same goes for LRT in inner OKC, we need to get the routes planned NOW so development can start taking place.

RabidRed
04-30-2008, 04:36 PM
A line to the airport is a must. I take my luggage on MARTA and I see lots of other people with luggage. It is very convenient for business travelers. Yes a family of 4 going on vacation for 2 weeks wouldn't want to bring 5 or 6 pieces aboard but a business traveler with one bag would. In London you can actually check your bag at the train station and get your boarding pass. You donít see your luggage again until you pick it up at your destination. With self-service kiosks in Norman, Downtown, and Edmond you could check into your flight at the train station and check it with an attendant at the station and then you would not have bags to carry at all.

Love this idea!!

flintysooner
04-30-2008, 05:40 PM
Same goes for the Warren Theatre in Moore, could have been built near the downtown station where there is plenty of vacant land.
The fixed guideway study has 20 commuter stations listed. The one in Moore is labeled "4th Street" and appears to be at Moore's SE 4th and the tracks. This station was actually the farthest south station in the Phase I plan as I recall. Here's the link to the PDF (http://www.okfgs.org/documents/Commuter%20Rail%20Alignments.pdf).

BG918
05-01-2008, 01:44 AM
My plan is based on the FGS with a few differences. I've cut out a few stops just because I worry if you have too many it will take too long to get from, say, Edmond or Norman to downtown which defeats the purpose of rail. Moore, for example, would be best served by one station (IMO) in between the two main east-west streets and near the existing, albeit small, downtown that could become a TOD. Moore seems very I-35-centric though so that would be a big change for them, but one I think they could embrace. The more you build along I-35 the less of a chance that happens though which is why it is important to plan NOW.

I think some of the most exciting possibilities with this system will be the revitalization of rundown areas in south OKC. In Denver the area around where their LRT goes on the northside of downtown was once the worst part of the city and is now seeing new investment because of rail. Areas around SW 44th, Capitol Hill, SW 15th/Stockyards City, etc. could really benefit from this.

I also left out the line to MWC. That would happen so far into the future, if at all, I didn't feel the need to include it. I-35 corridor (gray line) is Priority #1 along with the LRT starter line from OUHSC to the blvd., then the airport (orange) line and then the Walker/Classen line from the river through downtown to inner city neighborhoods (midtown, Asian District, OCU, Crown Heights, Belle Isle) to Nichols Hills & Penn Square. Another line connecting NH/Penn Square to midtown/OUHSC would round it out. The Sheridan Trolley would be a way of connecting commuter rail and LRT into Bricktown, into the CBD (would run right by Devon's new tower), and into the Arts District/Film Row. That (the Sheridan Trolley) is not part of FGS but should be...

traxx
05-01-2008, 10:06 AM
I'd definately take a light rail to work and back if it ran at the right times and the price was right. What would also be nice is to have bike rentals at the stops so you could bike to wherever you're going when you get off the commuter train.

flintysooner
05-01-2008, 11:00 AM
In the Moore case the depot needs to be near the track. I don't know if they are using the track or just the right-of-way. 19th Street might be better though because you have Convergys there; a tremendous retail area with Wal-mart, Lowe's, Home Depot, Penney's, Warren, and more planned; and 19th Street has a railroad underpass which is increasingly significant.

I would connect that area (the Riverwalk area) via trolley route to downtown Moore and then perhaps another trolley from downtown Moore north to 27th Street area.

The Old Downtown Guy
05-09-2008, 01:47 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BG918
"10th and Broadway are perfect for a light rail line connecting OUHSC to midtown to lower downtown. The median could be turned into a ROW and there is a fair amount of density. Still could use more though, and this project is a step in the right direction. "
Light rail would not be the appropriate solution. Inner-City circulation is better accomplished with other systems like trolleys or street cars. Fixed rail street cars are the most appealing, and fun to ride, but OKC will probably go for "modern street cars" which are buses designed similar in appearance to trains and they use elevated platforms at their stops.

A light rail system should already be under construction connecting Norman, OKC, Edmond and Guthrie, but there is a dearth of mass-transit leadership in Oklahoma. So vast hoards commuters will continue to squander their precious time and hard earned incomes on gasoline; driving their SUVs to work and back on bond funded highways that we have no money to maintain.

BG918
05-09-2008, 03:20 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by BG918
"10th and Broadway are perfect for a light rail line connecting OUHSC to midtown to lower downtown. The median could be turned into a ROW and there is a fair amount of density. Still could use more though, and this project is a step in the right direction. "
Light rail would not be the appropriate solution. Inner-City circulation is better accomplished with other systems like trolleys or street cars. Fixed rail street cars are the most appealing, and fun to ride, but OKC will probably go for "modern street cars" which are buses designed similar in appearance to trains and they use elevated platforms at their stops.

A light rail system should already be under construction connecting Norman, OKC, Edmond and Guthrie, but there is a dearth of mass-transit leadership in Oklahoma. So vast hoards commuters will continue to squander their precious time and hard earned incomes on gasoline; driving their SUVs to work and back on bond funded highways that we have no money to maintain.

Mick Cornett has stated that mass rail transit is a priority for the next MAPS referendum. Maybe OKC city government can lead the way pairing with cities like Edmond and Norman to fund rail?? And modern streetcars would be only slightly better than buses, we need light rail on the streets with its own dedicated ROW so it's FASTER than both a bus and driving your car...

foodiefan
05-09-2008, 04:25 PM
. . .anyone thinking about the "Park and Ride" that you see in the DC area?? Seems that might be at least a place to start.

sgray
05-09-2008, 08:17 PM
BG918, would you PM me as I would like to discuss some ideas I have on this subject and some tough sketches I have made as well.

mheaton76
05-10-2008, 10:21 AM
Hey everybody , there is a really great NYT article today that discusses the huge jump in ridership in cities like ours that have light rail - Charlotte, etc.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/10/business/10transit.html?hp


www.unitedstatesofmichael.com

veritas
05-10-2008, 10:41 AM
The problem with light rail ever coming to fruition is the population density between downtown and the suburbs. For example, running a line to Norman from downtown one would have to bridge a relatively sparsely populated area in and around the Crossroads mall/SE OKC portion of the city.

For light rail designers, this issue would pose a cost problem because of the lack of density. There is a magic number of density that light rail has to serve before it can become a somewhat self-sustaining and cost effective proposal. Until development takes place in these "in-fill" areas, I would be surprised if light rail could ever really become feasable.

Rather, what I foresee is a test area or something like that running from downtown to Bricktown then to either or both the Golden Triangle area and new Core to Shore development area. This would provide a small scale building block for future expansion while generating public interest and approval.

/2 cents

HOT ROD
05-11-2008, 12:52 AM
But, Crossroads is a TOD in waiting and could serve as a MAJOR Park N Ride stop. It is also a destination, given its status as a retail core. As I've said earlier we should do the following:

Commuter Rail (Heavy Rail) - by adding track so not to interfere with Freight Ops, we need the following stops; Guthrie downtown, S. Guthrie PnR, Edmond downtown area, S. Edmond PnR, Britton station, Chesapeake station, Capitol station, Santa Fe station Downtown, then on to Capital Hill station, Crossroads PnR, Moore downtown, Norman downtown, S. University PnR, Purcell.

This would be the first two lines which would unite the metro area having stops at major employment and population centers and destinations. The routing works PERFECTLY to feed downtown with the rest of the metro, allowing people in Guthrie and Purcell to feasibly participate in downtown and the metro area's renaissance.

The major expense would be adding track for crossovers and the building of station platforms. If done right, the stations could serve or add to community amenity like a city hall and/or library. I'd also expect TOD style housing options to spring up, as well as quality retail within walking distance from many of the stations.

Light Rail Transit: These trains use dedicated track but often could mix in with existing traffic. They use high floor platforms but tend to have more stops than heavy commuter rail. LRT would be useful in the inner city mostly, with the most prominent line connecting the NW Business district to Downtown. It could also establish the E-W corridor (since Heavy Rail might not be feasible) as well as run down to the International Airport then on to Mustang or Chickasha.

Light Rail - Streetcar/Tram Trolley - these trains (some people call them glorified busses) create density due to their running in existing streets and having numerous stops. This makes them especially valuable in downtown - creating a critical mass and serving numerous destinations. We could also have a streetcar line run from downtown to OCU and the Asia district (creating density along the way), downtown to the Capitol district and the Health Center (of course), and downtown to Core2Shore/downtown south to Capital Hill to Stockyard City to Fairgrounds to Meridian (also creating density along the way). We wouldn't want this to go to the airport because it would take quite a long time to get there.

So, to recapture:

Heavy Commuter Rail uses trains similar to Amtrak and are useful for carrying large numbers of pax long distances. They tend to have a small amount of stops at stations and PnR strategically positioned to funnel people into and/or at major employment/shopping/entertainment destinations. The idea of Commuter Rail would be to unite the metro area, from Guthrie and Purcell to Downtown: perhaps continuing north on to Stillwater. And since there would be a number of major destination stops (Downtown, Capitol, OU, Crossroads, Chesapeake) the trains would run up and down all of the day, with rush hours service being most frequent. The service would end roughly at 11am and start at 5am from the suburbs into downtown.

Light Rail uses smaller vehicles than Heavy Rail. These trains have individual motors and tend to be electric with overhead catenary wires. Light Rail differs from Subways in that subways tend to have more connected cars, tend to be underground, and definitely have separate right of way as the power comes from a third rail. However, OKC's system would be a Portland MAX style light rail which is a commuter style line which often would mix with the existing streets esp in the suburbs. It would be useful mostly to run EW from downtown since heavy rail is not too feasible. It could also run to the airport. Light rail has more stops than commuter rail but they tend to serve denser areas. Ill leave it up to BG or others more familiar with the city to lay out this particular line.

Streetcar/Light Rail Trolley/Tram - these are the smallest light rail vehicles and are used in high density/traffic areas OR to create such. I think this is NEEDED badly in downtown Oklahoma City - to create the urban pedestrian vibe that all of us desire. These are also the cheapest to implement, and have the most bang for the buck - in that they create density OR manage it if the area is already dense. Who cares if it is considered a glorified bus or whatever, OKC needs this!!!

In OKC's case, I think the EASIEST and CHEAPEST thing to implement - would be for the state to buy a commuter train ($10M if that) and start the line running from Guthrie to Norman, stopping at Downtown, Crossroads, and possibly S. Edmond. These stops either already exist OR could easily and quickly be implemented and are necessary to funnel commuters into the system. This line could be done TODAY!!!! Later, we could shell in the other stations and twin the track/dedicate CR track as the OCCaR (Oklahoma City Commuter Rail) AND DOWNTOWN becomes increasingly more popular.

I hope Maps III has the downtown Streetcar lines (and I suspect it will). I just think we should think big and not just have a demonstrator line and expanding it in such a long horizon (like the METRO study suggests). Maps III should circulate all of downtown in its first incarnation. Then it could be expanded to the Health Center/Capitol campus, Asia District/OCU/Paseo, and Capital Hill. Again, the idea of the Streetcar Tram system is to CREATE density and manage it once it arrives. Take a look at Portland Streetcar if you need any idea of what this could do for Oklahoma City. It creates critical mass, which is required for large companies being downtown as well as the retail, hotel/housing, and entertainment draws!

These two methods alone - would create density and make downtown viable and get lots of people out of their cars, not that the metro has a problem with it now. It MAKES DOWNTOWN into a permanent destinationm, since it feeds downtown with suburbanites.

It also makes it feasible for someone living in Guthrie to work in downtown or go to school at OU or the Health Center. It also makes it possible for special events downtown like the NBA, major sports events, concerts, conventions, and festivals - all taking place downtown. This is very desireable.

One more point, it also could save Crossroads Mall. With a commuter rail stop (and I admit, it would be extremely cheap to build one there), you could not only have an instant 'what' 25,000 space parking lot to PnR from but also it's possible that those cars might shop at the mall or live in the housing that would sprout up (which would allow them to shop at the mall). At the same time, the mall could reinvent itself and enhance its role as the top retail anchor of the southside. I see it as a win-win situation for them - the city needs the parking spots, the mall needs the incidental trips that CR would initiate.

mmonroe
05-11-2008, 01:26 AM
I was told, this pertains to the Tinker area, that they will never remove the tracks because in a time of war, if necessary, they would need another way to ship goods in and out of the base. The only problem I see is the lack of upkeep. If these lines doubled as commuter rail, then, God forbid, we ever get as far as needing to ship supplies in and out of the base, that everything would already be in place for something like this.

Eh.. just some late night food for thought.

veritas
05-11-2008, 06:44 AM
All planning is pie in the sky until the study that is currently being commissioned is done. I believe that MAPS III has a dollar amount dedicated to studying this issue. Don't get me wrong, I'd love a commuter rail system. But we're likely 15 years out from seeing any movement.

However, the Urban Land Institute does predict that the population of OKC will double in the next 25-30 years so planning for such growth would be prudent now.

jbrown84
05-12-2008, 04:00 PM
veritas, the Fixed Guideway Study is complete.

OKFGS.org (http://www.okfgs.org/)

plmccordj
05-12-2008, 07:07 PM
I'll get excited about a train when we can get a decent bus system. An everyday bus system is fundamental to every city. I have nothing against trains but to at $3.60 per gallon for gas, ordinary citizens should have the option of riding a bus to work if they choose. Oklahoma City should be ashamed that in 2008 you cannot even catch a bus to the largest single site employer in the state, Tinker AFB.

jbrown84
05-19-2008, 07:44 PM
I hear ridership on the city buses is up 40%.