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.

City Officials Tour Tulsa On Foot and by Bike

May 7, 2012 in Bicycling, Featured, Walking

Tulsa's First Lady leading bike tour

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.

News On 6: Tulsa’s City Leaders Take Bike Tour For New Perspective

KJRH: City Councilors Take Midtown Tulsa Bike Tour

KTUL: City Councilors Bike, Walk Around Tulsa

Pilot Program to Provide Tulsa’s First-Ever On-Street Bike Parking

January 10, 2012 in Bicycling, Featured

TULSA – Nearly 100 bicycle racks, including bicycle corrals that will provide the city’s first-ever on-street bike parking, are coming to Tulsa as part of a bike rack pilot program, according to city officials.

The bike racks will be installed in various locations in Tulsa’s downtown, Brady District, Blue Dome District, Pearl District, Kendall-Whittier, Brookside and Cherry Street.

“The plans for the racks are about 95% complete,” says Doug Duke, Senior Traffic Engineer for the City of Tulsa. Duke expects a contract to be awarded sometime in March with installation beginning as early as April. All the racks could be in place as early as June.

Bike Racks in Pilot Program

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

Most of the racks being installed will be “Type A’s”, according to Duke. “They are basically inverted U’s with a logo plate attached.”

Each district or neighborhood will have its own logo displayed on the logo plate of the bike rack.

Yet, one of the most exciting aspects to the pilot program is the addition of on-street bicycle corrals to locations downtown and on Cherry Street. The corrals will create the first on-street bike parking in Tulsa in modern history.

Each bicycle corral will replace an on-street car parking space or other vacant street space with five racks that can fit 10 bikes within the space of one car. Placing the racks in the street ensures pedestrians have room to move on the sidewalk.

The on-street corrals are planned to be installed in front of Caz’s Chowhouse in the Brady District, Joe Momma’s in the Blue Dome District, and TCC’s downtown campus. Five on-street corrals are planned for Cherry Street.

“Installing angled parking [on Cherry Street] created opportunities for on-street rack corrals in hatched-out areas where we didn’t want vehicles parking as they would block visibility of traffic,” said Duke. “Not wanting these areas to go to waste, we thought they would be ideal areas for the corrals, as the bikes and racks would not block views of traffic and would put the racks “front and center” to vehicular traffic.”

In bicycle-friendly cities like Portland, businesses are on waiting lists as long as two years to receive bicycle corrals because they know it means they can have more customers park directly in front of their establishment.

In locations where bike racks cannot be placed in the street, the single Type A racks will be installed on the sidewalk in an orientation parallel to the curb to ensure bicycles don’t encroach upon the expected or normal pedestrian path.

In addition to the regular Type A racks, several locations are set to receive upgraded custom “art” racks in the shape of oil derricks, bison and the city skyline.

The custom art rack upgrades are being funded by the Tulsa Beautification Foundation and the Zarrow Families Foundation. The city has been working with these foundations and the Tulsa Hub to develop the designs and the desired locations.

The pilot bike rack project is a joint effort between the Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) and the City of Tulsa, who recognized the need for bike parking as a result of the Trails Master Plan, according to James Wagner, INCOG’s Transportation Projects Coordinator.

“We conducted webinars and provided “best practice” material from the Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals to the engineers at the City of Tulsa to identify the best designs used around the country and placement of the racks within the sidewalk space,” said Wagner. “Plans are to provide this same opportunity to other communities in the metro area in future years.”

INCOG allocated $50,000 in federal grant funds for the bike rack program. The funds came from the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality (CMAQ) program designed to encourage alternative transportation.

To learn more about bicycle corrals, check out the Streetfilms video below.

Crosswalk Enforcement

December 21, 2011 in Walking

PORTLAND – The City of Portland regularly conducts crosswalk enforcement in problem areas to remind vehicle drivers, including bicyclists, they need to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.

The enforcement action involves a decoy pedestrian who attempts to cross the street. A police spotter notifies a police officer when a vehicle driver doesn’t yield and the officer then pulls over the driver and issues a warning or citation.

Tulsa has many places where this kind of enforcement action, if done regularly, could really change driver behavior. Good candidates include areas with large number of pedestrians like the crosswalks near the angled parking on Cherry Street and Brookside.

But it would also be smart to run enforcement operations in locations where pedestrians aren’t the norm, like 71st and Memorial or 15th and Louisville, because these locations can be some of the most dangerous for pedestrians because drivers are not expecting people to be walking in those areas. Drivers need to learn to be aware and yield to pedestrians at all crosswalks.

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, comes 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?

Opportunity Missed For Reverse Angled Parking on Cherry Street

November 6, 2011 in Bicycling, Walking

Cherry Street Angled Parking

Forward angled parking was added to Cherry Street in October 2011. Reverse angled parking would have provided safety advantages for both bicyclists and motorists. (photo: Lassiter)

TULSA – The City of Tulsa restriped Cherry Street last month and added forward-in angled parking to the north side while maintaining parallel parking on the south side, missing an opportunity to add reverse angled parking, which is considered safer for both bicyclists and motorists.

Reverse angled parking forces drivers to back in to a space in the same manner one would parallel park, except the car is parked at an angle with the rear facing the curb and the front facing the roadway.  Reverse angled parking makes the roadway safer by allowing the driver leaving a parking space to see oncoming traffic. Backing in to angled parking also has the effect of unloading passengers toward the sidewalk instead of toward the roadway, which means there is less likelihood a child will come into contact with traffic on the roadway when exiting a vehicle parked in a reverse angled space.

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