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View Poll Results: Does Robinson make a good streetcar route?

Voters
38. You may not vote on this poll
  • No it does not

    9 23.68%
  • It makes sense coupled with Broadway

    22 57.89%
  • It should be the north AND south spine

    7 18.42%
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Thread: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

  1. #1

    Default Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    I thought I would post some pics of Robinson and try and stir up a discussion on how people feel about including it in the streetcar system. Right now it seems pretty certain that Robinson and Broadway will make up a transit mall that serves the bulk of downtown--a good north/south spine. Most people will initially think, "Robinson? Meh."

    I think Robinson is great, and I didn't initially think that. It's only great when combined with Broadway. So the streetcar goes down Broadway one way, and then comes back up Robinson a block over. The rails should be placed on the inside of the block between them so that users don't always have to cross the street. There is even a possibility it seems to totally rework the streetscape along Robinson to make it user-friendly for streetcar, with wayfinding systems, possibly even little foot imprints in between Broadway stations and corresponding Robinson stations a block over, just for people who are really so clueless they can't go a block over without getting lost.

    I think Broadway is an obvious. Broadway must be the main streetcar corridor, but there are advantages to doing couplets. Plus it spreads the service and spreads the development impact, which is important. It gives way to the most interesting TOD possibilities as well.

    And there is some good urban fabric along Robinson, especially as you come in from Heritage Hills, where Robinson is a perfect candidate for expanding the system north to Uptown and the really busy 23rd Street corridor, which I think can serve as a great backbone for the northside.

    Just some cell phone pics from J. Park all the way down to 4th or so. These are coming down Robinson:


    Median in J. Park certainly conducive for streetcar. Very good density along Robinson between 23rd and 36th.


    Median in Heritage Hills also conducive. Retaining existing landscaping would be a challenge. It switches from 2 rows of trees to 1 center stripe ahead in this pic.


    After 18th or so the residential density begins to rise.


    There's sort of a funky lane configuration where it switches to one-way (which it will need to be 2-way so that a double track doesn't go against the flow of traffic).


    Multi-family properties on the left being renovated right now (the large bldg is being gutted).


    Attractive storefronts (including the Beatnix Cafe) frame the 13th/Robinson interchange, as well as the Garage Lofts.


    We all know how this stretch is littered with great old churches. 4 good ones in this pic alone.


    Unique architecture and buildings under renovation (mixed-use intended) at 10th/Robinson. Nice skyline view looms ahead.


    Getting closer to downtown, the urban fabric is actually more decent than us locals realize. We take it for granted.


    It passes the Memorial here. The entrance stuck in time makes a good landmark along the route, and there are opportunities for infill across the street.

    Then we all know the drill south of 4th in downtown, where there was once a great streetwall before SandRidge destroyed it, but there is still some alright urbanism and a lot of huge employers, where downtown is definitely the core. CityPlace is becoming mixed-use and FNC will probably become mixed-use eventually. The streetcar directly serving it probably increases the chance of a Dallas Mercantile-like rehabilitation project.

    It's just hard to take pics around Robinson and 4th because of all the guards around the post office (another great piece of urban fabric) and the destruction going on at SandRidge, not to mention the streets being a mess.

    But I think it could be a good corridor. Obviously it doesn't get preference over Broadway. But there is some real potential here, and it seems like a decent enough stretch currently. Thoughts on Robinson?

    That's the corridor.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    I put 'no it does not' because none of the answers defined what I think it should encompass. Yes, but only as a leg, maybe from Robert S Kerr to Reno. That's it.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    What do you think "it" (assuming you mean the streetcar line as opposed to Robinson) should encompass?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    I think Walker and Classen need to be another N/S

  5. #5

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    The problem with Robinson and Broadway is that north of 23rd they are roads to nowhere because of I-235. It would require spending millions on the equivalent of a dead-end road with no chance of expansion . South of 23rd is a different story. If it turned and went to OCU or the Capitol it might work but there are better ways to get to both of those destinations.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    The problem with Robinson and Broadway is that north of 23rd they are roads to nowhere because of I-235. It would require spending millions on the equivalent of a dead-end road with no chance of expansion . South of 23rd is a different story. If it turned and went to OCU or the Capitol it might work but there are better ways to get to both of those destinations.
    what if they only went as far north as 13th ..and then turned in a different direction

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    what if they only went as far north as 13th ..and then turned in a different direction
    I think it should make the turn at 10th and go towards the Plaza District and St. Anthonys. I would like to see Central Hub, Bricktown, Medical Complex, and Capitol on their own line.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by BoulderSooner View Post
    what if they only went as far north as 13th ..and then turned in a different direction
    If that were so, then they can only go west as eastward runs you into the "at-grade" railroad tracks of which we can not go across. There's no room to build a bridge for the streetcar or tunnel to go under, as I-235 is "depressed" and adjacent. Plus, no budget for such a project if it were practical.

    Westward is easy from the transit mall and does get you to important destinations such as serving greater Midtown and reaching out to Plaza District, Asian District, and OCU. Plus it intersects with key bus routes.

    Yes, going due north allows you to interface with 23rd street of which you could easily reach the capitol or Asian District by the direction you turn. Paseo would yes indeed be a terminus because of the high due north as has been noted.

    You know, just throwing this out there- Paseo would be a cool destination for a historic streetcar running as demand developed. It would be a cool place to house it too for people to gaze at and use it to "bus people in" when they have their festival and major events where parking is difficult. I am saying running it on occasion. Modern would serve the neighborhood most of the time.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    I think it should make the turn at 10th and go towards the Plaza District and St. Anthonys. I would like to see Central Hub, Bricktown, Medical Complex, and Capitol on their own line.
    10th is out because of the traffic circle. And there is not support for removing it as it serves an important function. 11th/13th are better.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    10th is out because of the traffic circle. And there is not support for removing it as it serves an important function. 11th/13th are better.
    I look at streeetcar routes in Europe and they go through traffic circles all the time. Even the one in Tampa goes through a traffic circle.

    Here is just a sample:
    Tampa


    Orleans, FR (here are just 3 of 18)







    Oslo, Norway




  11. #11

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    I look at streeetcar routes in Europe and they go through traffic circles all the time. Even the one in Tampa goes through a traffic circle.

    Here is just a sample:
    Tampa
    Sure, absolutely, if the traffic circle is big enough to make the circumference- ours is not without grinding screeching wheels; or if the circle is signalized to stop traffic when the train approaches.

    Going across on 11th is far less invasive than the modifications that we would have to make to our existing circle.

    Plus, I saw what the construction zone did to businesses in that area. I distinctly recall that two businesses didn't make it and several others lost half of their revenue. I'm not saying that the result wasn't worth it in the long run, but it was a painful project that "crippled" that area.

    As a member of the MAPS Transit Subcommittee, it is our job to look out for the citizens who may be adversely impacted by our project. Everybody will have to endure some degree of pain while the project is built. But we are trying to minimize that with new expedited construction techniques. These new techniques can allow for one block to be completed in 14 -21 days.

    That circle does not fall within the less invasive construction methods that we have at our disposal. Much less even "removing it" and putting signals in. It would be extremely detrimental to Midtown during the construction phases.

    Signalizing the intersection would a bunch of ugly poles and quite frankly, I think that the train would be in peril of people who still don't know how to go around that circle and yield properly. In Europe, such circles are very much a part of the driving culture. Ours is still a novelty.

    I will gladly, publicly state that I will rally against messing with it. What an absolute waste of recently expended taxpayer money for the circle on top of the idea. Sorry, this is just one of the few opinions I'm pretty certain about.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Let me just say that the only reason for posting the photos north of 23rd was to show how the really good median continues. The median represents a good opportunity to lay a track and have a streetcar-ready environment from the get-go, similar to St. Charles Avenue. It would be very classy. I agree that expansion opportunities north of 23rd along Robinson aren't that great, but it does get you to the Paseo as well as any other route.

    My personal feeling on it of course is that the route should be the transit mall, then cut through Heritage Hills on Robinson, and then go all the way down 23rd, which could be such a great corridor as a defining stretch of OKC. The question of this thread though, is do you you all think that Robinson through downtown and midtown is a good streetcar stretch? If not what is a good solution for Robinson? How does Robinson relate to or not relate to Broadway? Just talking about Robinson and all things Robinson here.

    I don't know what Walker and traffic circles have to do with that. There will not be a traffic circle along Robinson.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    If that were so, then they can only go west as eastward runs you into the "at-grade" railroad tracks of which we can not go across. There's no room to build a bridge for the streetcar or tunnel to go under, as I-235 is "depressed" and adjacent. Plus, no budget for such a project if it were practical.

    Westward is easy from the transit mall and does get you to important destinations such as serving greater Midtown and reaching out to Plaza District, Asian District, and OCU. Plus it intersects with key bus routes.

    Yes, going due north allows you to interface with 23rd street of which you could easily reach the capitol or Asian District by the direction you turn. Paseo would yes indeed be a terminus because of the high due north as has been noted.

    You know, just throwing this out there- Paseo would be a cool destination for a historic streetcar running as demand developed. It would be a cool place to house it too for people to gaze at and use it to "bus people in" when they have their festival and major events where parking is difficult. I am saying running it on occasion. Modern would serve the neighborhood most of the time.

    The problem with the Paseo is that NW 30th is a lot further than NW 23rd or NW 16th. And in order to do that, you'd completely bypass 23rd, maybe give it A stop, which 23rd could easily be much more than, whereas the Paseo really is just one stop.

    Maybe a good topic for another thread could be Paseo v. Uptown v. Plaza. I don't mean to be a thread nazi at all, I guess there's no reason not to fan out from the one thread now that we have this whole transit forum now, which was a great idea!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    And Kerry, don't take it the wrong way. I appreciate the ideas you bring forth to the conversation and the project. Its just that I have had far too many people come up to me and tell me that we "should just rip it out." I will be and am totally against it. Plus, 11th is completely close enough to benefit the area and easily drop down to connect directly into St. Anthony's if such a connection is desired by them..

  15. #15

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    And Kerry, don't take it the wrong way. I appreciate the ideas you bring forth to the conversation and the project. Its just that I have had far too many people come up to me and tell me that we "should just rip it out." I will be and am totally against it. Plus, 11th is completely close enough to benefit the area and easily drop down to connect directly into St. Anthony's if such a connection is desired by them..
    No problem UP. I don't want the traffic circle removed either. However, signalization at these interesection is minimial. I'll checkout the 11th and 13th Street options.

    This is a picture of one of them from Orleans, FR.



    Mods - we hijackd Spartan's Robinson thread enough. Can these last few posts be moved to the streetcar thread. Sorry.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    No problem UP. I don't want the traffic circle removed either. However, signalization at these interesection is minimial. I'll checkout the 11th and 13th Street options.

    This is a picture of one of them from Orleans, FR.



    Mods - we hijackd Spartan's Robinson thread enough. Can these last few posts be moved to the streetcar thread. Sorry.
    This picture that you found is actually a great way to explain how it might be done if it had to be done.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Here is an example of the 13th / 11th configuration.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    I went and looked at 11th a few weeks ago and am totally on board with it as an option for Midtown access. It's a less busy street in ternms of traffic, creates more of a couplet configuration than 10th and 13th and has plenty of opportunity for TOD while bringing passengers to the heart of Midtown (Plaza Cout) and very close to St. Anthony's. I don't know why we should interfere with our existing traffic circle when there's such an acceptable option.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    One of the things I took into consideration when I was building my vision was scalability; could I expand the system while at the same time reusing as much existing track as I could. This served 3 purposes; 1) it reduced cost, 2) it increased service times the closer I got to downtown, and 3) it allowed for expansion of the system without abandoning existing track.

    With that in mind here is my issue with a double track version of 11th street as a gateway to Midtown. 11th Street does not line up well with Broadway nor does it go to Classen. The couplet route UP used opts to go through a residential area to get to Classen instead of going by an employer with over 1,000 employees and hundreds of visitors a day operating 24/7/365 rain, snow, or sunshine.

    If this streetcar was a private business and you told the bank you were going to run your streetcar past some homes versus a major regional employer you probably wouldn't get the loan. I think the reality is this streetcar, if it goes to Midtown at all, is going to run on 10th Street right past St. Anthony Hospital, traffic circle or no traffic circle, and make its way to Classen.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    With that in mind here is my issue with a double track version of 11th street as a gateway to Midtown.

    I don't follow this as it isn't proposed as a double track on 11th. It's coupled with 13th.

    11th Street does not line up well with Broadway nor does it go to Classen.

    11th doesn't need to line up well with Broadway. The northbound line is making a lefthand turn on to 11th at the historic Lawyer's Building. The right hand turn to go south on Broadway is at 13th. Both places we can make turns. A easy right hand turn is difficult on 10th.

    The couplet route UP used opts to go through a residential area to get to Classen instead of going by an employer with over 1,000 employees and hundreds of visitors a day operating 24/7/365 rain, snow, or sunshine.

    We would abut their property and have easy access to a redefined pedestrian connection to their new main entrance via Dewey.

    If this streetcar was a private business and you told the bank you were going to run your streetcar past some homes versus a major regional employer you probably wouldn't get the loan.

    What homes? Study more carefully what abuts 11th/13th. One block away from the new Main Entrance to St. Anthony's, Villa Theresa School, sandwiched by popular restaurants, potential redeveloped housing at the apt building on 11th/Walker, elderly housing, Harvey Lofts, Sieber Hotel Apts, Garage Lofts, Floral & Hardy, Beatnix, and a huge Urban Renewal TOD opportunity at 13th/Dewey. Tannenbaum proposes around 230 apts. Tons of churches too. Lots of empty lots and two blocks away from the Medical District cooridor, when people claim they will walk 3.

    I think the reality is this streetcar, if it goes to Midtown at all, is going to run on 10th Street right past St. Anthony Hospital, traffic circle or no traffic circle, and make its way to Classen.

    What makes you think that? Certainly there hasn't been a big ground swell of support to dig up that circle and disrupt the businesses in Midtown.
    Give 10th a rest. You talk about conserving track and connectivity to Classen. The couplet travels as "the crow flies" and conserves track. Plus, going accross on 10th means tearing out a 2nd newly installed circle that the city put in at St. Anthony's request.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    Give 10th a rest. You talk about conserving track and connectivity to Classen. The couplet travels as "the crow flies" and conserves track. Plus, going accross on 10th means tearing out a 2nd newly installed circle that the city put in at St. Anthony's request.
    I just think the MAPS III committee and consultants are going to suggest 10th St, if phase 1 goes to Midtown at all. They don't have to take out the traffic circles, they can just lay the track right through them. Like I said, it is done all over the world.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Kerry, two things:

    1. Not every path will be a double track. It's quite likely that it will actually mostly be single tracks coupled with a matching single track a block over, or perhaps even two, and it's also quite likely that any routes venturing beyond the downtown vicinity (north of 13th) will be single track just because those areas don't need rapid service at first and it can be expanded later. I've seen a lot of your posts over the years and on this topic I'm curious about your insistence on the double tracks, which you commonly back up not with an argument for double tracks everywhere, but just by saying it's how it will be. What have you seen that makes double tracks the obvious solution?

    2. Keep in mind who you're talking to. When you say things like, "I just think the streetcar will end up going down 10th," you're saying that to the chairman of the committee who ultimately decides the route (and they must be pretty close to a decision at this point, too). So I think Jeff knows where it will end up going, or he's close to that now.

    Jeff:

    How would you feel if I started another poll with districts and people can choose the top 3 or 4 that they think NEED to be served. I was just curious about thoughts on Robinson here, since I had the pics of the median and all, but realized perhaps some poll numbers on here and other sites could be helpful to you in terms of gathering data.. to pit Deep Deuce against the Arts District or 23rd against the Plaza District, Bricktown against Midtown, etc. How would you think such a poll should go?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    I'm not Jeff, but I'd be interested in people's opinions, ideas. And, if you've got a district you're interested in, tell us why. Remember that ridership is important, TOD is important, stops are important. It's not just a ride to somewhere, but a ride through somewhere. Ideally, we'll have riders who live near the streetcar line, work near the streetcar line or recreate near the streetcar line. And, is there anything on this route that specifically would be of interest to tourists, remembering that downtown is a focal point for tourists/convention-goers, festival attenders, etc but they might like to leave downtown to go somewhere else interesting. How would you get to your district, remembering that simplicity is key for riders. Ideally, the route is as straight a line as possible so that people can easily locate it. Could it be single track early on before ridership increases? Where would you put a couplet?

  24. #24

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    2. Keep in mind who you're talking to. When you say things like, "I just think the streetcar will end up going down 10th," you're saying that to the chairman of the committee who ultimately decides the route (and they must be pretty close to a decision at this point, too). So I think Jeff knows where it will end up going, or he's close to that now.
    To clarify:

    Jeff is a member but not the chair of the MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar and Transit Subcommittee. The Chair and Vice-Chair of that committee are Nathaniel Harding and Zane Boatright, respectively, both of whom are members of the MAPS 3 Citizens Advisory Board. Jeff is also a member of the COTPA Alternatives Analysis Steering Committee, Chair of the ACOG Regional Transit Dialogue Public Outreach Subcommittee and Education Director of the Modern Transit Project.

    Although some members of the MAPS subcommittee have presented system map concepts, all showing the 11th and 13th couplet, this part of the route has not been formally discussed. It will be specifically bought up at the next Alternative Analysis Steering Committee meeting (now scheduled for this coming Thursday, February 17th at the Oklahoma City Community Foundation at 10th and Broadway from 3:30 to 5 pm). It will most likely be discussed in detail at the next MAPS subcommittee meeting, Wednesday, February 23rd at 420 West Main.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Thoughts on Robinson Ave--streetcar-appropriate?

    Just for clarification, I serve on nearly all the transit committees, but do not Chair MAPS Transit. Nathaniel Garding does, who also serves on the main Citizens Advisory Board.


    Spartan, I guess I would be more interested in a "Pete White" type of challenge. Rank these-

    If there are funds for a 1b extension, where would you like to see the streetcar go?

    Paseo
    Asian
    Capitol
    Plaza
    Farmers Mkt/West River Area
    Greater Core2Shore/Boathouses

    Rank them basically.

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