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  #221  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Doady View Post
21 buses was just what it said on Wikipedia. Wikipedia also says 63 buses, but for some reason I said 92 buses. My bad.

Yeah, the system sucks, and even Tulsa Transit website says so.



Tulsa's grid is not fine-grained enough for transit though. Arterials spaced 1 mile part, and they never built any other thoroughfares in-between the existing concessions roads. How far people are willing to walk to transit? 500m? 600m?

Glancing at a map of Portland and Denver, I can see that many parts their grids are more fine-grained. In these places, the distance between arterials is half that as Tulsa, meaning more possible bus routes, and reduced walking distances.

Plus, Tulsa has to build a transit system basically from scratch, and transit ridership growth is very gradual. They have an extremely difficult task, no matter the layout of their roads.
I think if they can get good service on the arterials that do exist and get people living near those to use it, that's already a huge accomplishment. Even if only 1/4 of Tulsa residents use the transit on a regular basis, that's already a huge increase compared to whatever it is now (1/200?).
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  #222  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:32 AM
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Does Toronto have 1/4 of its population using transit regularly?
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  #223  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:36 AM
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
I think if they can get good service on the arterials that do exist and get people living near those to use it, that's already a huge accomplishment. Even if only 1/4 of Tulsa residents use the transit on a regular basis, that's already a huge increase compared to whatever it is now (1/200?).
According to the Census Bureau, 1% of Tulsans commute by public transit. Adding non-commute trips might bring that number up a couple percent, but clearly the bus is not a popular mode of transportation in Tulsa.
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  #224  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:44 AM
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Does Toronto have 1/4 of its population using transit regularly?

Presumably. As of 2006, 22% of commuters in the CMA used transit daily.
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  #225  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doady View Post
21 buses was just what it said on Wikipedia. Wikipedia also says 63 buses, but for some reason I said 92 buses. My bad.

Yeah, the system sucks, and even Tulsa Transit website says so.

Tulsa's grid is not fine-grained enough for transit though. Arterials spaced 1 mile part, and they never built any other thoroughfares in-between the existing concessions roads. How far people are willing to walk to transit? 500m? 600m?

Glancing at a map of Portland and Denver, I can see that many parts their grids are more fine-grained. In these places, the distance between arterials is half that as Tulsa, meaning more possible bus routes, and reduced walking distances.

Plus, Tulsa has to build a transit system basically from scratch, and transit ridership growth is very gradual. They have an extremely difficult task, no matter the layout of their roads.
The areas east of downtown + the U of Tulsa and north of i-64 appear to have 1/2 mile spacing between some arterials. and even with wider arterials, those living closer would be able to walk or bike to transit relatively quickly helping support their real estate values and increasing density over time. In any event, these are completely bikable distances on flat, easy straight roads (compare to Portlands hills): 5 mile radius from U of T encompasses much of the city (80 sq miles).

No doubt they would have a difficult task to grow transit, but it could be done with a different population fairly easily.

Compare to Atlanta:link
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  #226  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 3:15 AM
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Guelph is also 3 times as frequent and has double Tulsa's total ridership.

Even Flin Flon has more frequent service and it only has 1 bus.
Victoria, BC has 10 times more ridership than Tulsa with one-third the population.
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  #227  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 3:26 AM
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why are these unfavorable comparisons to smaller US cites always to Canadian cities? is anything being added to the discussion?
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  #228  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 3:36 AM
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^^ yeah seriously, is this city vs city? why the comparison to a high-end provincial and tourist town on an island on the shore of the Pacific?

Lol maybe people in Victoria can't afford cars due to Chinese and Hong Kong investors consuming all available properties and bidding up prices to astronomical levels, and thus are forced to ride transit. Whereas the median home in Tulsa is presumably very affordable, and employment opportunities plentiful (the city is home to Williams, ONEOK, and other big E&P companies like Apache...).

Kind of like Calgary without the light rail and 10x more churches...
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  #229  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 4:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mthd View Post
why are these unfavorable comparisons to smaller US cites always to Canadian cities? is anything being added to the discussion?
When comparing between cities, what difference does it make what country the cities are in? Unless you're suggesting that cities that compare less favourably do so due to their respective country.
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  #230  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 4:10 AM
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When comparing between cities, what difference does it make what country the cities are in? Unless you're suggesting that cities that compare less favourably do so due to their respective country.
these comparisons add nothing to the discussion unless couples with further facts or perhaps an analysis. it really is just city v city, and i really have no idea why they're almost always canadian cities. that's why I asked? what compels people to pop in multiple times to a thread about parking lots and point out which random canadian cities have x times the bus ridership of tulsa, oklahoma?
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  #231  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 4:22 AM
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They're expressing surprise at the statistics, and the people (like many forumers here) are likely Canadian and therefore those are the cities they're most familiar with. I think you'll find that applies to most or all of the people using such cities as a reference point.

And don't forget that not every part of a casual internet discussion has to have some grand purpose. Sometimes people just chat and express surprise at things they find unusual, express amusement at things they find funny, etc. without it having to "add" something.
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  #232  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 2:45 PM
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We won!

A mayoral election is coming up soon here in Tulsa, and due in some part to this contest, each "contestant" is going to have to answer the "What can we do to not end up with more surface parking downtown?"

Oh and as a quick side note, I am a Tulsan and I don't mind the comparison to Canadian cities for the contrasts are definitely eyeopening. But it would also be nice, and perhaps more constructive, to be compared to more similar cities in order to garner some more relatable and applicable solutions and ideas.

Currently there is a moratorium on buildings being torn down and replaced with surface parking. But that was a temporary ban and is due to expire this year. The reason the moratorium went into place was because the local paper was rumored to possibly be in the works to tear down one of the buildings it owns "one of the oldest high-rises in the city", and this after it had torn down another only a couple years ago for a few measly parking places. There is a fantastic little nugget of pedestrian friendly urbanity within that crater of parking lots, but you tear out any more and even that will be severely damaged, and many, but not all, people realize that.

During the period of the 80's, Tulsa's downtown essentially turned into a suburban, high-rise, office park. Then in later decades many of the oil companies left, leaving empty buildings. Empty buildings that cost a lot more to pay taxes on than a parking lot, set in a culture that is used to to parking right next to where it is going.

Now things are turning around downtown. We have a new Arena, a downtown Ballpark, several new downtown museums and art venues opening, some great new parks, old buildings are being converted into living and hotels, and of course lots of new restaurants, clubs, art galleries, shopping, etc. and recently we have even seen new multifamily living developments going in and new office towers.

There are at least a few things I would like to see happen in Tulsa and downtown to help grow and create good quality, attractive, pedestrian/transit friendly urban development (I have a saying "Pedestrian friendly and Transit friendly are the same thing, two sides of the same coin".)

1. At least make it legal to build urban, pedestrian/transit friendly development in more parts of the city, especially in those areas near and around downtown. Within the IDL (the highway that circles downtown) it's legal to do what you want, but outside that... current zoning laws and restrictions are still geared towards creating suburban style development. In most of the city there are minimum parking requirements (there have been instances where developers who want to build more urban, have had to go before the board of adjustments in order to get exceptions in order to not have to tear out nearby buildings in some of our small, remaining, pedestrian friendly strips, in order to meet minimum parking requirements!). In most of the city mixed use developments (like living above shops) is illegal. Accessory dwelling units that add density and a range of living/price options are illegal, and on and on. Again: at least make it legal to build pedestrian/transit friendly developments. Would love to have some areas zoned to, not just make it legal, but to encourage good urban development, BUT this is a very conservative area and if you try to go too far they will cry "Get the government out of telling me what to do with my property!" and "Don't want the government trying to take away my car and my freedom with some United Nations plot to have us all riding busses and living in apartments!". So, considering the circumstances, one can make a case saying that the current zoning "tells people what to do with their property" so lets get rid of that and allow more freedom (thus at least allowing for more urban development to occur vrs, having it be illegal). Baby steps, one does what one can.

2. Now, in downtown, within the IDL, I would like to be brave and push things a bit further. Not just allow for urban development, but actually zone for good urban development (like one might argue that we have zoned for and encouraged suburban development in the rest of the city for over a generation). ( Another of my sayings "If you try to make ALL your streets "A" high quality, pedestrian/transit friendly streets, you will likely end up with very few of them being that way.) There are some great pedestrian friendly strips in downtown and some budding, pedestrian friendly areas as well. But, these areas and strips are separated by gaps. Those gaps are more often than not empty lots and surface parking. My greatest fear for downtown is that those gaps will either be enlarged by more tear-downs and or will be filled in with pedestrian unfriendly developments, thus destroying any chances of having a decent "critical mass" of quality urban development from ever taking root. I think downtown Denver has a plan that does that with incentives and the like to encourage good pedestrian/transit friendly development along certain connected corridors and discourage bad urban development.

Any ideas or specifics on what incentives and disincentives can be used for this, please let me know so that I can be a voice for them here in Tulsa.

There are other things that could be done, but those above would be great, politically, socially and economically feasible starts imho.
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Last edited by WilliamTheArtist; Apr 16, 2013 at 4:10 PM.
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  #233  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2013, 3:05 PM
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You're on the right track about property rights. Any honest libertarian would want to get rid of parking minimums and required setbacks. Shedding light on this might go a long way.

There must be a sizeable latent demand for urbanity. It sounds like the ball has started rolling and needs you and others to keep pushing.
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  #234  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 12:18 AM
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You people have it all wrong.

The worst part about Tulsa isn't the surface parking downtown or the lack of bus routes... it's the fact that they only serve near-beer.

Tulsa needs more alcohol content.
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  #235  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 12:24 AM
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Tulsa needs its own Aubrey McClendon (native of Oklahoma City, former CEO of Chesapeake, and big OK City booster/developer). Are Williams, Apache, and ONEOK at all interested in improving downtown or do these companies pretty much "keep to themselves"?
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  #236  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 12:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthd View Post
these comparisons add nothing to the discussion unless couples with further facts or perhaps an analysis. it really is just city v city, and i really have no idea why they're almost always canadian cities. that's why I asked? what compels people to pop in multiple times to a thread about parking lots and point out which random canadian cities have x times the bus ridership of tulsa, oklahoma?
To Canadians, the idea of a city with more than 100,000 having really infrequent public transit is absurd. We literally have difficulty comprehending how a city so large manages to actually function without a decent public transit system, because the reality for our cities is that without public transit, tens of thousands of people would be cut off from their educations and livelihoods, and roads would be congested to gridlock.

Public transit is one of the biggest ways in which American cities differ from Canadian cities so naturally we find novelty in the comparison. Also, our transit systems cost more ($3 per ride) and receive less subsidies (a 40% fare recovery requirement, minimum), so it isn't even like the US where transit is "for poor people" and must be near-free. We have a totally different approach to transit here.
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  #237  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 1:01 AM
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Basically America is the land of the automobile. Canada is more in tune to European and Asian ideals concerning public transportation. The US is still like this in a few great places within densely populated areas, but many cities, towns, and such growing today were created and/or grew with making more than enough space for cars in mind. Hopefully most US cities will reach levels of public transit use that cities in the Northeast already enjoy.
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  #238  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 1:28 AM
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To Canadians, the idea of a city with more than 100,000 having really infrequent public transit is absurd. We literally have difficulty comprehending how a city so large manages to actually function without a decent public transit system, because the reality for our cities is that without public transit, tens of thousands of people would be cut off from their educations and livelihoods, and roads would be congested to gridlock.

Public transit is one of the biggest ways in which American cities differ from Canadian cities so naturally we find novelty in the comparison. Also, our transit systems cost more ($3 per ride) and receive less subsidies (a 40% fare recovery requirement, minimum), so it isn't even like the US where transit is "for poor people" and must be near-free. We have a totally different approach to transit here.
http://www.apta.com/resources/statis...rship-APTA.pdf

Americans should indeed demand levels of transit frequency that match Canadian levels, especially in western cities which are bus transit friendly. The built environment isn't really the issue for these cities, but rather the political will to fund transit adequately. Also, cars are cheap and very convenient for short trips.

Has anyone compared Portland's bus frequency vs say Vancouver's? my hunch is Portland buses are going to be more comparable in terms of frequency, but less so in terms of ridership.

Last edited by dc_denizen; Apr 17, 2013 at 1:39 AM.
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  #239  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 1:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
Tulsa needs its own Aubrey McClendon (native of Oklahoma City, former CEO of Chesapeake, and big OK City booster/developer). Are Williams, Apache, and ONEOK at all interested in improving downtown or do these companies pretty much "keep to themselves"?
Those companies are big donors to various things in Tulsa. But the biggest donor is Kaiser with BOK and the Tulsa Community Foundation (the largest foundation of its type in the US)and the George Kaiser Community Foundation . His donations to Tulsa average more than the entire city budget!

One of the latest things is a huge new park near downtown and next to the river that will be close to 150million dollars (larger than the purportedly largest donation in history to a public park that was recently touted for NYC) and this after he has spent over 50 million dollars on other things at the River Parks. Then of course for downtown there is the new BOK Arena, the new Guthrie Green which is a small but very high quality park in the Brady Arts District and right across from that his support for the Arts and Humanities Councils new AHHA facility and the Woody Guthrie Museum and collection and Philbrook Museum expansion, then there are the Teach For America lofts nearby, and I could go on and on. I don't know where Tulsa would be without his generosity.
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  #240  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2013, 2:00 AM
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^^ That's awesome. It would be nice if more of our billionaires would focus their investments in urban real estate and redevelopment in this way; private wealth ownership does have the benefit of freeing the owner to invest in ways that are less constrained than would be the case for other financial investors like mutual funds. Dan Gilbert and McClendon are great examples, but where are the Bill Gates, Matt finks, and George Soroses?
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