Tulsa, OKC City Councilors to Keynote Bike/Pedestrian Workshop

January 28, 2013 in Bicycling, Complete Streets, Featured, Walking by bikewalkadmin

Blake Ewing (left) and Ed Shadid (right) are scheduled keynote speakers at the Feb. 22 workshop at Tulsa’s City Hall.

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.

Sponsored by Tulsa’s Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the free one-day workshop will be held Feb. 22 in the 10th Floor South Conference Room of Tulsa’s City Hall, located at 175 E. 2nd Street. Those interested in attending can register for the Tulsa workshop at the following link: http://www.advocacyadvance.org/trainings