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's First Lady, Victoria Bartlett, leads the pack on a bicycle tour of Tulsa with City Councilors and the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee. (photo: Lassiter)
TULSA – City councilors, Tulsa’s First Lady, and the City Manager took some time during National Bike Month to get out from behind the windshield and see what it’s like to get around Tulsa by bike or on foot.
The City Council passed a Complete Streets policy earlier this year, and this was their opportunity to gain first-hand experience with active transportation on the streets of Tulsa. The event was organized by the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee.
The bike tour rode four miles through Cherry Street into downtown Tulsa and back, while the walking tour covered a one mile route that strolled along 12th Street and Utica. Both tours began at Tom’s Bicycles on 15th Street.
Channels 2, 6, and 8 covered the biking and walking tours. You can view their reports below. Tulsa’s Bike-to-Work Week begins Monday, May 14.
TULSA – The pedestrian-friendly form-based code in Tulsa’s Pearl District is being considered for expansion at a Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) meeting scheduled for April 4 at 1:30 pm in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Michael Bates has an in-depth story over at Batesline on the history of how the Pearl District came to adopt the form-based code.
Neighborhoods like the Pearl District, which developed just after World War One, were treated almost as an afterthought in the zoning code and comprehensive plan, a dumping ground for whatever activities weren’t desired in the nice new parts of the city. It didn’t occur to planners of the period that some people might prefer to live, work, and play in a neighborhood convenient to downtown that was built around people rather than cars.
TULSA – Walkability is about more than sidewalks and trails. A town or city becomes walkable when the entire built environment supports walking, biking and other forms of active transportation, even while cars remain part of the culture. Walkable communities are great places to live, work and play and to simply enjoy life outside of the car.
-5:12 p.m. Pedestrian check, suspicious. 1000 block N. Roosevelt. Three white males and one hispanic male all on bicycles headed east from page park, [Reporting Party] states they were towing another bicycle, she believes they may have stolen it. Gone on arrival, unable to locate.
Without a lot to go on, it’s difficult to tell why the reporting party called police on these four men. What about them makes them suspicious? Because they are walking? Because they are adults riding bicycles? Because they are towing a bicycle?
Yours truly has towed another bike to the bike shop with his cargo bike. Is that a suspicious activity? Would others believe I stole the bike being towed?
It’s entirely possible the reporting party found other aspects about these men to be suspicious. But if this person truly called police because they find adults walking or riding bikes to be suspicious activities, it is simply more evidence of the car-dependence of Tulsa and its surrounding communities.
TULSA – A 16-year-old pedestrian was struck by a car Tuesday evening on 91st Street while attempting to cross the street at Hunter Park, a location that has no crosswalk for pedestrians to get to Hunter Park directly from the neighborhood to the north.
Police say the 16-year-old stepped out in front of car [sic] in a dimly-lit area. He was not in a cross walk. We’re told the teenager is in serious condition tonight. The driver was not ticketed.
The description that the teenager was crossing in a dimly lit area and was not using a crosswalk leads many to believe the pedestrian was at fault. We simply do not have enough information to determine fault, but often pedestrians (victims) get the blame in auto-pedestrian collisions instead of drivers of motor vehicles, who have an obligation to drive with due care and avoid hitting human beings.
The design of the entrance to Hunter Park is completely auto-oriented. So much in fact that the only way to walk to Hunter Park from the neighborhood to the north via crosswalk is to either take more than a half-mile detour by walking west along the north side of 91st Street, crossing at an unmarked crosswalk at Canton Ave., and then returning to Hunter Park along the south side of 91st Street, or take a mile-long detour by walking east along the north side of 91st Street, crossing with the light at Sheridan, and then walking back to Hunter Park along the south side of 91st Street. There are no sidewalks on either side along 91st Street in this location to assist pedestrians in making such a trek.
Walking east to Sheridan would be extremely difficult to do safely because of the guardrails over the creek that runs under 91st through Hunter Park. The creek and guardrails would force a pedestrian to walk in the roadway to make this trip.
So what would most people who want to get to Hunter Park from the neighborhood to the north do? They would most likely cross 91st Street directly. After all, crossing 24-28 feet of right-of-way is a lot quicker and easier, and is possibly safer, than hoofing it 3,200 feet or 5,280 feet along the pedestrian-hostile, sidewalk-absent right-of-way that is 91st Street.
This kind of pedestrian predicament brings to mind the horrific story of Atlanta’s Raquel Nelson who received the ultimate in pedestrian victim-blaming when she was convicted of vehicular homicide – yes, even though she was not driving a car – after her son was killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver while she was crossing a major street from the bus stop directly to her apartment home where there was no crosswalk.