Transportation Progress in Tulsa People

June 1, 2012 in Complete Streets

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.

Bus, bike and sidewalk

Buses, bicycles and walking can provide Tulsans the ability to reduce their car dependence and save money. (photo: / 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.

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

Hazel Borys: Confessions of a Former Sprawl Addict

March 7, 2012 in Complete Streets

MANITOBA – North Americans spend more hours in their cars than anyone else on earth. Laws that separate where we live from where we work, learn and shop contribute to this fact. We insist that we have big, fast roads to get us between all these places.

In the above TEDxManitoba talk, Hazel Borys explains how the form of the built environment can foster autonomy among kids, parents, and the elderly. Bikeable and walkable neighborhoods are incredibly important to ensure active and healthy communities and to maintain our independence as we age.

Complete Streets Resolution Approved Unanimously by Tulsa City Council

February 3, 2012 in Complete Streets

PDF File: Complete Streets Resolution Approved by City Council

TULSA – The Tulsa City Council unanimously passed a Complete Streets resolution at Thursday night’s meeting.

The resolution directs city staff to design, plan and operate streets to “provide for a balanced, responsible, and equitable way to accommodate all users including pedestrians, bicyclists, public transit riders, freight providers, emergency responders and motorists.”

The resolution also directs city staff to develop a Complete Streets Policy Guide and attend training to stay educated on the latest and best practices.

Councilor Blake Ewing explained his support for Complete Streets by highlighting its context-sensitive nature.

“What might be really appropriate in the TU area might be wildly inappropriate in South Tulsa,” said Ewing.

“We’ve oftentimes, in planning our streets, had kind of a one-size-fits-all kind of approach”, said Ewing. “I think this is fixing something, in fact, that may have been broken.”

Councilor Phil Lakin expressed excitement for the resolution because “when we do have widening projects, we will be able to add sidewalks at the same time as the streets are being widened, which is a much more efficient use of our contractors.”

Lakin added, “then we can get our kids from the neighborhoods to the schools.”

Councilor G.T. Bynum said Complete Streets was about expanding transportation options.

“Right now, everything we do related to transportation is focused on cars,” said Bynum. “And yet, there are other options out there that might be more appropriate in different areas to allow people to get around.”

Complete Streets on Council Agenda Tonight

February 2, 2012 in Complete Streets

TULSA – The City Council is set to discuss Complete Streets at tonight’s 6pm meeting.

The city’s Engineering Services Department and Planning Department presented modifications to a proposed Complete Streets resolution to the City Council in Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting.

The modified resolution is scheduled to be read at Thursday’s City Council meeting. At that point, councilors can suggest changes to the language of the resolution, vote on the resolution, or kick it back to a committee meeting.

The original Complete Streets resolution, submitted by the Transportation Advisory Board in December, directs the city to plan and design future street projects to accommodate “pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit riders of all ages and abilities, amongst vehicular traffic.”

Complete Streets Resolution Modifications Presented to City Council

January 31, 2012 in Complete Streets

UPDATE: Bike Walk Tulsa has obtained the revised draft of the Complete Streets resolution discussed in today’s meeting:
– Staff Revised RESOLUTION for Complete Streets
Transportation Advisory Board’s Original Complete Streets Resolution

TULSA – The City of Tulsa’s Engineering Department and Planning Department presented modifications to a proposed Complete Streets resolution to the City Council in Tuesday’s Public Works Committee meeting.

The modified resolution is scheduled to be read at Thursday’s City Council meeting. At that point, councilors can suggest changes to the language of the resolution.

The original Complete Streets resolution, submitted by the Transportation Advisory Board in December, directs the city to plan and design future street projects to accommodate “pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit riders of all ages and abilities, amongst vehicular traffic.”

Councilor G.T. Bynum questioned Planning Director, Dawn Warrick, and Engineering Services Director, Paul Zachary, about a number of paragraphs that were deleted from the original document.

“We went through and cut out what we believe is somewhat repetition. Some of the comments referenced what other people are doing, which didn’t really have anything to do with the subject of Complete Streets,” said Zachary.

“What we read when we saw the [Transportation Advisory Board’s] version of it, it was a combination of a resolution and, I want to say, almost a white paper. It almost defined what Complete Streets were at some length.”

Zachary later went on to say, “we thought we were streamlining it without taking apart or diminishing the intent of the resolution.”

Warrick said implementation of Complete Streets would be a joint effort between engineering staff and planning staff. Short of explicitly naming specific departments, the names of which change under reorganizations, the resolution charges “city staff” with the responsibility for implementation.

Councilor Bynum, desiring clarification, requested an updated draft to indicate specifically who would be responsible for implementing the resolution.

Warrick proposed language such as “those staff responsible for implementation of [the comprehensive plan] and for design and implementation of street projects.”

Councilor Blake Ewing raised concerns over the language of the resolution that stated Complete Streets would be implemented “when possible.”

“What I don’t want to have happen is that we do this great plan, and then that one line becomes a vehicle at some point in the future for someone to say, ‘well, the resolution said only when possible,'” said Ewing.

Councilor Bynum suggested the planning department report back to the council quarterly with progress on implementation of the comprehensive plan.

“We don’t want this to be something that gets passed and then you never hear about again,” said Bynum.

Complete Streets to be Discussed at Council Public Works Committee Meeting

January 9, 2012 in Complete Streets

Transportation Advisory Board

The Transportation Advisory Board presents its annual report, including a Complete Streets resolution, to the City Council Public Works Committee in December. photo:

TULSA – Complete Streets has been placed on the Tulsa City Council’s Public Works Committee meeting agenda by councilor G.T. Bynum. The meeting is scheduled for 8am on Tuesday, January 10 and can be viewed on the TGOV website.

Paul Zachary, Director of Engineering Services, and Dawn Warrick, Tulsa’s new Planning Director, have been asked by the council to attend the meeting to discuss the Complete Streets concept and the Complete Streets resolution that was recommended to the City Council in December by the Transportation Advisory Board (TAB).

The board’s resolution directs the city to plan and design future street projects in a “balanced, responsible, and equitable way to accommodate and ensure travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit riders of all ages and abilities, amongst vehicular traffic.”

According to Urban Tulsa, Warrick was instrumental in drafting the “Complete Streets” guide for Louisville, KY.

Urban Tulsa Weekly to Feature Oklahoma’s Health Crisis

January 6, 2012 in Complete Streets

Percent of Obese (BMI > 30) in U.S. Adults

TULSA – Oklahoma ranks near the top of a lot of bad lists. Our state is currently ranked 7th in the nation for adult obesity, and we rank #1 in adult obesity growth rate. That means we are the best at getting fat faster than anyone. Cue “Simply the Best! Better than all the rest!”

Urban Tulsa Weekly’s cover story next week, due out Wednesday, is expected to delve into Oklahoma’s Medical Crisis. Be on the lookout for this article, and as you read it, consider why Tulsa needs a Complete Streets policy that will enable us to get out of our cars and incorporate active transportation into our daily lives.

The Difference Between a Road and a Street

December 20, 2011 in Complete Streets

The Complete Streets concept is one of the most significant developments in street design for bicyclists and pedestrians in the last decade. But the addition of bike lanes and sidewalks to a project is not enough to make a Complete Street. If engineers and planners don’t consider the surrounding land use of the area, if they don’t consider all modes of travel equally in the street design from the outset, if the automobile is still the primary beneficiary of the design with bicyclists and pedestrians a mere afterthought, you won’t get a Complete Street – you’ll get a complete road.

According to the Smart Transportation Guidebook, the desire to go ‘through’ a place must be balanced with the desire to go ‘to’ a place.

Roads are efficient connections between two places. Streets are a network within a place to allow people to get around. People generally don’t enjoy going ‘to’ places with high speed, high volume automobile traffic, so roads shouldn’t go ‘through’ these places. Streets in our places should be designed, scaled and prioritized for the individual – for people.

Chuck Marohn from Strong Towns explains more about the important difference between a road and a street in his TED talk above.

Complete Streets Amendment Proposed in Congress

December 13, 2011 in Complete Streets

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK)

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) (photo: Senator Begich's office)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) has introduced an amendment (to S.1950) that would require the Federal Department of Transportation to set safety standards for motorized and non-motorized modes, which would give the US DOT the authority to enact a Complete Streets policy while encouraging states to develop their own.

The amendment says the Secretary of Transportation “shall establish standards to ensure that the design of Federal surface transportation projects provides for the safe and adequate accommodation, in all phases of project planning, development, and operation, of all users of the transportation network, including motorized and non-motorized users.”

The Commerce Committee will hear the bill on Wednesday, Dec. 14th at 10:00am. This amendment would provide the opportunity to see Complete Streets policies enacted in all 50 states. If you would like to see Complete Streets become the standard of roadway design in this country, contact your senators today before the Commerce Committee hearing tomorrow.

Contact your Senators today.