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Thread: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

  1. #1

    Default Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    State Transportation Commissioners have awarded the contract for construction of the new I-244 bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa. The bridge is a first-of-its-kind in Oklahoma. The new structure will be a double-deck design, which will provide for automobile traffic on top and allow for future High-Speed Rail and other intercity/commuter rail on the lower deck.

    Here's an image:



    Here's an article:

    Tulsa World Article


    For all rail transit supporters who are ready for more than just talk and studies, here's some impressive evidence indicating that Oklahoma may finally be ready to give more than just lip service to future rail transportation.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    This should be in The Tulsa section!Cool project though!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    I think it is in the correct thread - Transportation. If it is for HSR then it isn't just a Tulsa issue.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    My point was less about what Tulsa is doing and more about the bigger picture and how those of us in Oklahoma City who support rail transit should be encouraged to see a project like this being approved and constructed by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

    On a related note, ODOT will soon begin preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Oklahoma City to Tulsa HSR corridor. The EIS is being funded by a $2.25 million federal grant awarded to ODOT under the HSIPR Program.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    I come and go on the whole HSR route between Tulsa and OKC. One of the problems with HSR is that it is very expensive to build and the denser the populated area is the more expensive it is to build it. While maximum ridership would be between Boston and D.C., it is probably cost prohibitive to build it there. Tampa to Orlando would have been a good first choice for two reason; 1) It would have connected three cities with 6 million people (Tampa 3.5 million, Lakeland 0.5 million, Orlando 2 million) and, 2) it is only a 90 mile route. The problem is there is no way to get around once you get to either city and driving in your car is still faster.

    Here is how I see the OKC to Tulsa situation and I start by asking these questions:

    1) Are there currently any problems with the current methods of traveling between OKC and Tulsa. The answer to that is No.
    2) Are there any near-term (next 5 years) issues with the current methods of traveling between OKC and Tulsa. The answer to that is No.
    3) Are there any long term (5-20 years) issues with the current methods of traveling between OKC and Tulsa. The answer to that is still No.
    4) Is there enough demand to warrant multiple trains a day between the two cities? Probably not

    With that in mind, what problem is HSR trying to solve. Are we building HSR between OKC and Tulsa for the sake of building HSR? I can only see two reasons to build an OKC to Tulsa route; 1) As a US demonstartion line, or 2) as the first phase of a larger regional system - say Tulsa to Dallas. The big advantage to the OKC to Tulsa route is that it would probably be the cheapest section of HSR to building the country and in the near future there will be local streetcars at both ends.

    My concern is the same one we have here in Florida. Who covers the operating funds because there is no way an OKC to Tulsa line would be profitable? It will have to be subsidized by someone and it isn't like an interstate where each state would maintain the tracks in their jurisdiction. Until that get worked out I don't see HSR working.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    It may be approved but it won't get built until at least 2025, lol.

  7. Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Kerry, I've had reservations about the HSR line here too, but for different reasons. My issue is, how the hell are you supposed to get around once you get to either Tulsa or OKC? Bus service in OKC might as well not exist and while Tulsa's is better, it's still not reliable as a full-time means of transportation. Tulsa is actually a little more compact, which is probably why the busses are able to run more efficiently there, so light rail might actually work there....but the population hasn't hit the point where it's needed yet. In OKC, I think we've all understood that we don't have much faith that light rail in OKC would most likely not go everywhere it's needed...ie make a spoke and that's it. One stop for each suburb = not gonna be worth it. And for much the same reason you listed....it's still faster and easier to drive than ride. If you live in MWC, downtown is only 10 minutes away...no train can make that up. And if you live in Choctaw, you have at least 2 stops on the way in, so right there, you've beat the train in your car...and it's even more for Shawnee. There's just not enought traffic clogging up the highway yet to make the train work.

    Don't get me wrong, I would LOOOOOOVE to park and ride every day, but if it can't drop me near my office, why would I want to spend twice the time hopping between my car, a train, and a bus, then walking? That all has to be figured out before HSR between the cities really works.

    UNLESSS...........the rail lot has Go Cars

  8. #8

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by sidburgess View Post
    I would ride ANY train between OKC and Tulsa quite often. I don't mind HSR, but honestly, I would be for any rail. I much prefer to ride than drive and Tulsa's transit is adequate for me. Heck, OKC's is too, it just isn't pleasant for short trips.
    Where would you go once you got to Tulsa?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Here is the problem I am having. A HSR train holds 300 to 500 people. How many trains a day do you think there would be between OKC and Tulsa on any given day? 4? 6? 8? 12?

  10. #10

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by sidburgess View Post
    Well if it ends at the Denver station, then I would go to several locations along the bus routes.
    Okay, so your final destination will be restricted to the bus route. How many times a month do you go to those locations in Tulsa now?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by sidburgess View Post
    On average, maybe 10. I am by no means a "super user". But I do prefer public transit/rail 100% more than driving. If it is available, I will always try to take it.
    My concern is two fold. Let say there is 10 trains a day each way. That is 20 trains per day but it would still be nearly 2 hours between trains. You can drive it in 90 minutes, at a fraction of the cost, AND not be limited to bus routes. I think people will do it initially because of the novelty of the train but when a 90 minute drive turns into a 3 hour train ride plus a connection to a city bus - people won't do that for long.

    My second concern is that if the schedue is increased to reduce wait times most of the trains will travel empty. Paris to Orleans is about an hour by train and they have 68 trains a day between the two station (34 each way). It will be eons before OKC to Tulsa could support 68 trains a day.

    Maybe we should build something like this state-wide instead. It is faster, cheaper, and serves direct point to point. The best part there is zero wait time at either end. You could get on it at mutiple places in OKC and be in downtown Ardmore, Tulsa, or Muskogee in 30 minutes with no waiting. Downtown OKC to downtown Norman in 13 minutes. You can even summon a skytran car to be waiting for you with your smartphone.

    http://www.skytran.net/phpsite/home/home.html

  12. #12

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by sidburgess View Post
    But I think that the SkyTram is neat idea. I certainly am not opposed to it.
    The best part about Skytran is that it is easily expandable. An initial station could be built in downtown Ardmore and if the local community wants to expand it they can. To update the route all they need to do is update a database and anyone in the system can go directly to the new stations - non-stop at 150 mph. Plus it is really cheap to build since no additional right of way is needed. The track is designed to carry electrical lines so it can replace exisiting powerline right of ways or even be built next to existing rail lines without interfearing with existing rail traffic.

  13. Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    sidburgess - but you aren't the average person. The average person has to be convinced to use it....often, or it won't make it. The diehard fans don't have a large enough base to make it work. As Kerry and I said, you have to be able to get somewhere once you get to the city and it has to not take longer than it would by car.

    OKC is a car city. While you may be able to avoid having one, again that's not normal for the average person here. Your point about the Greyhound makes our point for us. It's at 2 hours, which isn't that much more than a car...but then you have to catch another bus to get to the next point. Yes, rail is going to speed that up, but is it going to stop anywhere on the way into Tulsa? And in a short 90 mile ride, how much do you think it's going to save in time on an already short trip?

    If you compare to China or Japan...their high speed lines cover longer distances so the train has more time to get up to speed and more miles to make up time in comparison to a car. European lines don't travel at as high of a speed, so they are more comparable to what we would see here. But you aren't going to see 300mph trains on that line...sorry. The best speed you could honestly hope for would be in the 150-200 tops range, and that's pushing it. It's just too expensive for the really high speed stuff and we can't get that going anywhere in the US...so why would OKC-TUL get it?

    Sorry...just not gonna happen....no need.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    The rest of the world doesn't have an interstate system either. Japan has one freeway that runs the entire legth of the country and it is a toll road. In place like Austrialia they don't have any national freeways. HSR between OKC and Tulsa would work if I-44 didn't exist.

    Likewise, try to drive from Birmingham, England to Liverpool, England. It is 98 miles and takes 2 hours (without traffic).

  15. #15

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    If and when we develop HSR between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, it's many years away. I agree that it certainly makes more sense for that to happen sometime after both Oklahoma City and Tulsa have established their own regional rail transit systems. Further, it would be much more operationally and economically effective if the HSR line to Dallas/Ft. Worth were developed at the same time.

    Until that time, passenger rail supporters in Oklahoma City, Tulsa and communities in between have recently succeeded in getting legislation moving to create a task force to study implenting Amtrak intercity passenger service between Oklahoma City and Tulsa by upgrading the old Frisco line that is now owned by the State of Oklahoma.

    H.R. 1686

    The bill passed the House last week by a vote of 77-18 and is headed to the Senate.

    More info: Passenger Rail Oklahoma

  16. #16

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by sidburgess View Post
    I have been wanting to draw a map for some time using the same number of buses we have now. Perhaps Kerry would be interested in putting one together too.
    If it was up to me I would create a mass transit zone in OKC. The district is everything inside I-35/I-240/I-44. I would focus all mass transit efforts inside that zone. If you want access to mass transit you have to live/work in this area. If you live/work outside this area you need a car. The City should focus on building a high quality efficient and focused mass transit system. I would rather serve fewer people really well than a lot of people poorly.

    I would also make all mass transit free to ride. There are ways to keep homeless people from living on it. One way to do it would be to issue id cards that would have to be swipped when you get on. You would have to submit a water bill in order to get a card and they would be good for 1 year. You would get one card for each member of your family. Visitors could also get a temporary pass by showing an out-of-state drivers license and they could be issued in-mass for conventions good for the duration of the convention.


  17. #17

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    It would work if a piece of a larger network that includes San Antonio-Austin-Dallas-OKC-Tulsa-Springfield-St. Louis-Chicago...

  18. #18

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    The rest of the world doesn't have an interstate system either. Japan has one freeway that runs the entire legth of the country and it is a toll road. In place like Austrialia they don't have any national freeways. HSR between OKC and Tulsa would work if I-44 didn't exist.

    Likewise, try to drive from Birmingham, England to Liverpool, England. It is 98 miles and takes 2 hours (without traffic).
    I think more accurately if the Turnpike Authority didn't exist. I see no way those that are profiting from the turnpikes would not vehemently oppose HSR along their most highly trafficked route. From what I understand of the Turnpike Authority, a very small group of "investors" make huge profits from the toll road network in the state. I am generally in favor of toll roads and other "use taxes" - but as I heard more about the Turnpike Authority in OK it just began to fail the "smell test". I hate to sound conspiratorial but I believe the Turnpike Authority would be a HUGE obstacle to overcome before HSR will ever be a reailty in OK.

  19. Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    The only problem with the turnpikes right now is that ODOT can't absorb the extra cost to maintain them. They are far better maintained right now as toll roads, not matter how annoying it is to pay to drive. Until the legislature corrects ODOT's funding, we're stuck with it. And that's not going to happen until we can pass something like a 5 cent/gallon tax on gas. People are sooooo opposed to it, but it means so little to a person filling up, but so much over all. So the state basically gets a $1 for each time someone gets gas. $1 X's how many fill-ups in a year?....right to ODOT for the roads we use. It's been tried, and we voted it down in our lovely smart anti-anything-new-tax minds.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by bombermwc View Post
    The only problem with the turnpikes right now is that ODOT can't absorb the extra cost to maintain them. They are far better maintained right now as toll roads, not matter how annoying it is to pay to drive. Until the legislature corrects ODOT's funding, we're stuck with it. And that's not going to happen until we can pass something like a 5 cent/gallon tax on gas. People are sooooo opposed to it, but it means so little to a person filling up, but so much over all. So the state basically gets a $1 for each time someone gets gas. $1 X's how many fill-ups in a year?....right to ODOT for the roads we use. It's been tried, and we voted it down in our lovely smart anti-anything-new-tax minds.
    It would have been easier to do if past taxes weren't wasted.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
    Where would you go once you got to Tulsa?
    You know, planning modern streetcar systems isn't just limited to OKC. Tulsa is planning one, too.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Tulsa I-244 High-Speed Rail Bridge Approved

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    You know, planning modern streetcar systems isn't just limited to OKC. Tulsa is planning one, too.
    That was a question I was posing to Sid who said he would take rail transit to Tulsa now if it was available.

    I wrote this back in post 5.

    With that in mind, what problem is HSR trying to solve. Are we building HSR between OKC and Tulsa for the sake of building HSR? I can only see two reasons to build an OKC to Tulsa route; 1) As a US demonstartion line, or 2) as the first phase of a larger regional system - say Tulsa to Dallas. The big advantage to the OKC to Tulsa route is that it would probably be the cheapest section of HSR to building in the country and in the near future there will be local streetcars at both ends.

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