TULSA – Bicycle/Pedestrian infrastructure funding was the topic recently on KRMG radio’s “The Future of Real Estate” with Darryl Baskin. Shannon Compton, chairwoman of INCOG’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, stopped by to talk about the projects that could be funded in the Improve Our Tulsa ballot initiative that Tulsa voters will vote on Nov. 12.
Oklahoma City Councilman Dr. Ed Shadid and Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing address workshop attendees at Tulsa’s City Hall in February.
Last month, Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing and Oklahoma City Councilman Dr. Ed Shadid both gave keynote speeches at “Navigating MAP-21″, a workshop designed to help advocates and officials learn how to maximize underutilized federal funds for local bicycling and walking infrastructure projects. Facilitated by Advocacy Advance, the event drew participants from a variety of Oklahoma communities to Tulsa’s City Hall. The full text of the keynotes and Q&A session is included below.
How is everyone doing this morning? Man, you guys seem really excited to be here. Who else rode your bike? Ren? Of course, we have two hardcore bike-to-workers. I thought about it. For a second. Because I thought it would be really cool to get up here and say that I did that. Then I remembered that I was, you know, fat. And it’s really cold. Didn’t know if my tire was aired up right.
So you’re going to hear things throughout the day, and you will hear from advocates for pedestrian-friendly cities and bike-friendly cities about the benefits of providing those things as it relates to health, as it relates to saving the streets from the wear and tear of a car and those types of things. I’m not even going to go there. Because nobody wants to hear a fat guy talk to them about the values of a healthy city. I’ll let Councilor Shadid do that. He’s thin and he’s a doctor. So, what I want to talk about is something that I know a little bit more about.
Before I do that, I’ve got a question. Who lives in the city that you live in because that’s where you grew up? Get ‘em up high. I gotta know. Who lives in the city that you live in because a job brought you to that city? Who lives in the city that you live in because that city just excited you and blew your mind, and you chose to live there because all of the offerings of that particular city? Ok. Did you guys get a look?
Blake Ewing (left) and Ed Shadid (right) are scheduled keynote speakers at the Feb. 22 workshop at Tulsa’s City Hall.
TULSA – District 4 Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing and Ward 2 Oklahoma City Councilman Ed Shadid are the scheduled keynote speakers at next month’s free bike/pedestrian federal funding workshop at Tulsa’s City Hall.
Designed for elected officials, government agency staff and bicycle/pedestrian advocates, the Navigating MAP-21 workshop will help attendees develop the knowledge, skills and resources to access untapped or under-utilized federal funding sources at the state, regional and local level to build bicycling and walking infrastructure and programs.
Scheduled for Feb. 22, the Navigating MAP-21 workshop is being facilitated by Advocacy Advance — a partnership between the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking & Walking. Funding surface transportation programs at more than $105 billion, MAP-21 is the first long-term transportation authorization enacted by the federal government since 2005. The funds provided by this program can help the City of Tulsa and surrounding communities implement bike lanes, bike trails, sidewalks, safe routes to school, and other bike/pedestrian infrastructure and programs.
Attendees to the workshop will learn about under-utilized funding sources that exist for biking and walking projects and programs, which the region has not yet tapped into; learn the key characteristics, requirements, and opportunities of those sources and best practices from around the country; discuss favorable factors for bicycling and walking investments; understand the important role of elected officials, government agency staff, and advocates in securing this funding; and share knowledge and experiences in the local context, working together to develop a list of local priorities and strategies for funding bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs.
As the City of Tulsa works to renew the Fix Our Streets capital improvement program, Ewing and other councilors — in light of last year’s unanimous council approval of a Complete Streets resolution — have expressed their intent to make any new funding package a more comprehensive transportation package that will include bicycles, pedestrians and transit.
Ewing has been a staunch advocate for urban infill and walkability. Nowhere was that more evident than his vote against last year’s QuikTrip Planned Unit Development application for the expansion of the company’s 11th & Utica location. The PUD sought to close 10th street so the new store and gas pumps could be built across the public right-of-way, breaking up the walkable grid of the neighborhood and violating the neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendly small area plan.
In Oklahoma City, Shadid has been at the forefront of a battle that has been brewing over the new OKC Boulevard slated to replace the old I-40, which was moved to the south last year. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation initially planned long highway-like elevated sections of the boulevard in an effort focused on primarily moving as many cars as possible quickly through downtown Oklahoma City.
Shadid has been leading an effort to change ODOT’s plans and instead make the space vacated by I-40 more walkable, bike-friendly and more suitable to placemaking. In an editorial on the OKC Boulevard last year, Shadid expressed the importance of cities thinking beyond the automobile.
In terms of the design of our city, one principal guides me as much as any other: one gets more of the behavior for which we design. If a city builds more bicycle trails, it will get more bicyclists riding longer distances. If one builds complete streets and sidewalks which facilitate pedestrian activity, the city will see an increase in the number of people walking the estimated 10,000 steps a day which we all need. If the City exhibits tunnel vision and focuses almost exclusively on moving the greatest number of vehicles through limited access points, it will not only get more people driving automobiles through the type of congestion it sets out to solve, but we will limit our economic development potential and the ability to create that which we all so innately crave; the development of community.
TULSA – Bike Walk Tulsa has created a bike parking locator map to help Tulsa area bicyclists find bike parking near their final destination.
The map, located at bikewalktulsa.org/tulsa-bike-parking-locator/ and accessible on the site’s sidebar, provides directions to the nearest mapped bike rack when users enter their final destination street address in the search box at the top of the map.
Bike parking at the University of Tulsa. (photo: Lassiter)
Bike racks are marked for the public, customers, or tenants. Some office buildings downtown have bike racks for building tenants and their employees, so it is important to distinguish which racks are available for anyone to use and which racks are exclusive.
The initial bike parking map contains nearly 60 locations with more than 650 parking spaces for bicycles. Many of the locations, when clicked, are accompanied on the map by a photo to provide a visual cue as to what the bike rack looks like and where it is situated.
Of course, bike parking is extremely elusive and hard to spot, so we know this is not all the bike parking in Tulsa and the surrounding communities. That’s why we need your help.
Bike Walk Tulsa wants to map all the bike parking locations throughout the metro area. Not only Tulsa, but we also want Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Sapulpa, Catoosa and more. If you see a bike rack somewhere in town, take a picture and email the photo and the location information to us at [email protected]. We’ll get it added to the map.
TULSA – Seven out of 10 Tulsans spend more than 45% of their income on transportation and housing combined, according to a study by the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG). If you’re looking for ways to get that number down (who isn’t?), you might be interested in an article in the June edition of Tulsa People on the progression toward more transportation options in our city.
Buses, bicycles and walking can provide Tulsans the ability to reduce their car dependence and save money. (photo: pedbikeimages.org / Dan Burden)
Written by INCOG’s Transportation Projects Coordinator James Wagner, the essay touches on what’s being done to improve bus service, how the city is working toward Complete Streets, and the long-time-in-coming-hopefully-sometime-soon addition of city-installed bike racks around the city.
Back to that statistic on the portion of income Tulsans spend on transportation and housing, Wagner explains the impact transportation costs have on families in the Tulsa area:
The Department of Housing and Urban Development is using this new measure of housing plus transportation cost to determine the relative economic impact of the “drive till you qualify” phenomenon, in which would-be homeowners ventured farther into the suburbs to find houses they could afford, only to pay higher transportation costs.
HUD noticed that transportation costs often outweighed the cost of similar housing closer to work, resulting in a net loss for families trying to keep their housing costs low.
More transportation options in Tulsa can help families save money. A city focused solely on the automobile — a mode of transportation that, per vehicle, can cost as much as $8,000 – $10,000 per year to own and operate — is not serving the needs of families who are looking for ways to reduce that 45% statistic. Better transportation options will provide Tulsa families the opportunity to choose the right mode of transportation to fit their budget.
Bicycling spotlighted on May 30, 2012 Urban Tulsa Cover. (Source: Urban Tulsa)
TULSA – In this week’s Urban Tulsa cover story, Matt Nelson provides an overview of Tulsa’s burgeoning bicycle culture.
Nelson points out that, for a city of its size, Tulsa has a treasure trove of bicycling amenities — think RiverParks, Turkey Mountain, Tulsa Tough, Tulsa Bicycle Club, Wednesday Night Rides — accompanied by a diverse community of bicyclists:
Over the past few years there has been a rising trend in the so-called “hipster” cycling community that values a simple, no technology approach to cycling because they believe cycling is just the right thing to do. Ask someone on their technologically advanced carbon-fiber bike wearing their team-sponsored cycling jersey and they’ll tell you it’s about the competition and fitness. Ask someone on their cruiser headed down Riverside, and cycling is an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy time with friends or family. So who are the real cyclists? The answer is YES!
The cover story hits newsstands today. Pick up your free copy this week or read it here.
TULSA – With two days left in Bike to Work Week and a long bicycling season ahead, the City of Tulsa released a short video documentary of Monday’s Bike to Work Week event with Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Councilor Skip Steele.
Let’s hope this willingness to participate in bicycling events progresses from talk into action in improving Tulsa’s streets for bicycling.
"Riding for Brighter Days" by Jan McKay on display at ART BIKE Tulsa 2012 during Mayfest. (photo: Lassiter)
TULSA – The National MS Society is presenting ART BIKE Tulsa 2012, an installation of colorful, uniquely-designed bicycles transformed by some of Tulsa’s leading artists and high school students to bring awareness to Multiple Sclerosis.
The art bike installation has been on display in the lobby of the Williams Center Towers at One West Third Street since May 9 and will continue to be on display at that location through Mayfest. The exhibit will then move to Tulsa International Airport where it will be on display through September 14 leading up to the Bike MS: The Mother Road Ride, a two-day ride from Tulsa to Oklahoma City along Route 66.
"Neon Okie" by Kate Johnson on display at ART BIKE Tulsa 2012. (photo: Lassiter)
The HBO documentary delves into our nation’s weight problem and finds that increases in calorie consumption coupled with a lack of physical activity are the root cause. Better diets will help you lose weight, but physical activity is needed to keep that weight off long-term.
“The question is what changed in the last 30 years to make this obesity epidemic happen,” says Robert Lustig, MD, a Neuroendocrinologist with the University of California, San Francisco.
The increase of car-dependency in our communities is a major factor in the reduction of physical activity.
“We don’t walk, we don’t bike, and it’s cut off hundreds of calories of physical activity,” says Barry Popkin, PhD, an economist and Professor of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
More than 75% of Americans drive to work — a 300% increase since 1960. In 1969, 42% of children walked or biked to school. Today, more than 80% are driven to school. Currently, less than 5% of adults meet the minimum guidelines for physical activity.
“In fact, roughly one in four adults gets no physical activity at all,” says Eric Finkelstein, PhD an economist at Duke University.
“We’ve engineered physical activity out of our everyday lives,” According to William Dietz, MD, PhD, the Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Our work as adults has been increasingly sedentary.”
Much of our sedentary lifestyles comes about from the built environment, one that prioritizes the moving of motor vehicles as fast as possible while ignoring more active modes of transportation.
Cars dominate so much of our lives that one child in the documentary who lives in a poor community with few parks nearby laments, “all these parking lots are, like, kind of the park we have.”
Karl Dean, Mayor of Nashville, is working to change his city into one that makes living a healthy lifestyle “the easy choice.”
Dean isn’t just talking either. He’s walking the walk by pouring $13 million into sidewalks. Nashville also has received $7.5 million in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for obesity prevention efforts, building on their work of improving bike lanes, sidewalks and parks.
“We have to invest in quality of life. People want to live in a city that’s healthy, that’s clean, that’s walkable and bikeable, that’s full of places where they can exercise and enjoy fresh air,” says Dean.
“We know that to be healthier we need to eat better and exercise more. And how you make that part of the city is really the challenge.”