Bike to Work Week May 14-18

May 10, 2012 in Bicycling

Mayor Dewey Bartlett

Mayor Dewey Bartlett will kick off Tulsa's Bike-to-Work week Monday, May 14 at the Coffee House on Cherry Street. photo: City of Tulsa

TULSA – May is National Bike Month and Mayor Dewey Bartlett will kick off Tulsa’s Bike to Work week on Monday morning, May 14 at the Coffee House on Cherry Street.

Mayor Bartlett will be joined by First Lady Victoria Bartlett, fresh off last week’s bicycle tour with City Councilors, and city staff to talk about the nearly 100 bicycle racks that are scheduled to be installed around the City of Tulsa later this year.

Bicycle parking is sorely needed in Tulsa, and this first round of bicycle racks will make it easy to ride and park near key destinations in downtown, Cherry Street, Brookside, the Blue Dome and the Brady District.

The new bicycle racks will include Tulsa’s first ever on-street bike parking in the form of bike corrals. A series of inverted-U-shaped racks that allow 10 bicycles to be parked in one on-street car parking space, bike corrals will be a welcome addition to some of Tulsa’s most popular destinations.

Bike Racks in Pilot Program

These bike racks will be installed as part of Tulsa's pilot bike rack program.

In addition to the bike corrals, select bike racks are actually specially commissioned “art racks” in the shape of bison, oil derricks and the city skyline. These racks will be placed near prominent locations such as City Hall, BOK Center, the Central Library and ONEOK Field.

The public is invited to drop by the Bike To Work Week kickoff event at the Coffee House on Cherry Street at 1502 E. 15th Street to ask questions and see the locations of the bike racks.

Free refreshments and breakfast pastries will be provided. The event takes place bright and early from 6 to 8:30am.

Mayor Bartlett is scheduled to appear at 7am. The mayor is even rumored to actually ride his bike to work at City Hall from the event. Let’s see if he follows through.

Bike to Work week will cap off with a celebration on Friday, May 18 at Joe Momma’s Pizza from 4:30 to 6:30pm. There will be music and prizes. Plus, you can sign up for the Bike to Work Commuter Challenge that runs throughout the entire bike-to-work season.

Forty Years Ago, A Warning For Pedestrians

November 16, 2011 in Walking

TULSA – More than 40 years ago, Alan Wakeman warned of the effects of the automobile on pedestrians. Wakeman proposed car-free streets in areas of London that serve primarily as destinations, places where people want to be. Rather than disrupt this space to make way for cars that were just passing through, Wakeman advocated for closing the streets of these destinations to motor vehicle traffic entirely.

Alan Wakeman’s short film “Motor Car Madness”, produced in 1970,┬ácomes to Bike Walk Tulsa’s attention via David Hembrow, a U.K.-born Dutch cyclist, whose blog “A view from the cycle path” claims Dutch people cycle more than those in other countries due to the Dutch cycling infrastructure that completely separates bikes and cars.

Circle Saves The Square?

Would pedestrian-only streets work in Tulsa? What would it be like if certain areas of downtown were off-limits to cars? The pedestrian street idea was already tried once in Tulsa with Bartlett Square at the location of 5th and Main, where the Bartlett Fountain now sits boarded up in the middle of a traffic circle as a result of being hit and destroyed multiple times by drunk drivers.

Why was Bartlett Square unsuccessful? Or was it successful? Why was it removed, replaced with a traffic circle and opened back up to motor vehicles? Did the circle save the square? Have sales for merchants in Bartlett “Circle” increased now that motor vehicles can drive through? It would be interesting to know what portion of sales for business owners in that area today come from people on foot or people who drove and parked within the boundaries of the old pedestrian-only square.

Bartlett Square Today The return of motor vehicles has obviously breathed new life into Bartlett Square.

Would pedestrian streets work in an entertainment district like the Blue Dome or the Brady District? How about Cherry Street or Brookside? What about the Pearl District?

What if Tulsa had a true bike share system with stations strategically located next to both parking areas and pedestrian-only streets so people could park on the perimeter of an entertainment district and then walk or ride a bike the last few blocks to their final destination?

Can pedestrian streets be successful in a state like Oklahoma that ranks #1 in the U.S. for adult obesity growth rate? Will Tulsans walk or bike a few blocks if they cannot park at the front door of their destination? Or are Tulsans too far gone in their sedentary lifestyles?