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September 20, 2019, 05:43:28 am
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Author Topic: We Can't Pave Our Way to Profitability  (Read 1700 times)
PonderInc
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« on: June 17, 2009, 10:36:58 am »

Just a comment after reading a couple TN posts, and hearing an interview with one mayoral "candidate."

Here's the deal.  Tulsa cannot "pave its way to profitability."  The solutions to all our problems have nothing to do with smooth streets.  "Fixing" the cracked pavement will not "fix" Tulsa's problems, and it will not generate new sales taxes.  (Unless you count the QuikTrip purchases of road construction workers.)

I am getting really tired of those who attack any new public investment as "wasteful" in the face of our dire need to "fix" our streets.

Tulsa needs to work strategically to become the sort of city that attracts bright, talented people.  (Rather than repeling them...)  We need to invest in concepts and projects that build community, allow for diversity, and inspire creative and adaptive use.  We need projects that help create civic pride, and make our city more beautiful and interesting.

The no taxes, no investment, no nothing crowd serves only to squash Tulsa's potential.  We already have the lowest taxes and cheapest cost of living of any city I can name.  But what do we have to show for it?  Not a heck of a lot.  (I shudder to think what Tulsa would be like without the generous donations of local philanthropists, who help us compensate for our short-sighted, tightwad, no investment mentality.)

I can't say that I have felt the economic hardship of the extra pennies that have built Vision 2025 projects throughout Tulsa and the region.  But I can say that I can see downtown come alive any time there's a big concert at the BOK center.  I've seen full restaurants, busy streets, and lots of smiling people.  I've admired the arena every time I walk by it, and it makes me happy to think of how much it adds to our community.  (Including the array of acts it attracts to our city, which would otherwise pass us by.)

I have no idea what the coming political season will bring.  But we've got to get over the idea that a city deserves nothing more than asphalt on the streets, on which police and fire trucks drive. 

That's like thinking that the way to grow a business is to spend all your money paving and re-paving (and re-paving) the parking lot. 

Tulsa needs bigger ideas than that.
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RecycleMichael
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« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2009, 01:34:03 pm »

Well said.

I would gladly dodge a few potholes for a new downtown library...or a pumped up park department budget...
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carltonplace
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« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2009, 02:28:37 pm »

I dodge potholes and drive an extra block around a closed off street every day and it really doesn't bother me as much as not being able to shop in or see a movie in downtown.

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nathanm
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« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2009, 02:44:48 pm »

While fixing our streets is certainly a worthy goal, it is by no means the solution to any of our problems except crappy streets.

They are bad enough that every time I have friends or family from out of town they notice, so I can't say that some serious work in that department isn't needed.

Investment in other areas that work towards a more livable city with less need to drive cars everywhere is equally needed. If we can get people off the roads we'll both be encouraging transit oriented development and reducing wear and tear on our streets. It works on the problem from both ends.

I want to drive less, both in town and when I travel to OKC or Wichita or NW Arkansas. Time I spend driving is time useless for other activities. At least while I'm on a bus or a train I can read the news or a book or play a game. (Or post on TNF Wink)
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"Labor is prior to and independent of capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration" --Abraham Lincoln
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2009, 08:42:17 am »

Things I want the next Tulsa mayor to focus on:

1.  The Comprehensive Plan (PlaniTulsa) - keep the momentum going that Mayor Taylor started with community involvement, come up with a plan, and then start implementing it.  This could have a huge impact on the built environment of the city which helps to preserve and expand our urban walkable areas and encourage similar development with new form-based codes in place that need them

2.  Transportation - keep working to 'fix the roads' but also start discussion and serious planning for alternative transport including streetcars in and around downtown, light rail to BA, Jenks, and the airport, and more funds for existing high frequency bus routes to increase service plus new shelters

3.  River - push for continued funding of the low water dams, work with Kaiser to get another river vote on the ballot that would add more dams with locks, implement parts of the river master plan, and expand the new jogging/biking trails down to Bixby to the south and Sand Springs to the west on both sides of the river

4.  OSU-Tulsa/TCC - push OSU to keep expanding its campus with a master plan and student housing, and how they intend to fund and implement it.  Maybe partner with OSU to speed up development or fund infrastructure improvements around campus.  Do the same with TCC and encourage more development at the downtown campus along Boston Ave.

5.  Pearl District - work to secure funding for the Pearl District master plan including the canal, drainage improvements, and streetscaping along Peoria and 6th

6.  Gilcrease Expressway - work to get the final loop completed including the Arkansas River bridge.  No mayor has been able to do it and it has been on the boards since the 1950's...

« Last Edit: June 18, 2009, 08:43:48 am by SXSW » Logged

 
carltonplace
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2009, 12:08:00 pm »

Things I want the next Tulsa mayor to focus on:

3.  River - push for continued funding of the low water dams, work with Kaiser to get another river vote on the ballot that would add more dams with locks, implement parts of the river master plan, and expand the new jogging/biking trails down to Bixby to the south and Sand Springs to the west on both sides of the river


I agree with all of your goals for the new mayor including this one, but I don't think the low water dams (as planned) help Tulsa as much as they do our suburbs. Since The suburbs don't want to play along, I would rather see a dam at 51st Street that would encourage Tulsa river development instead of Jenks river development.
Since the location of the dams is not likely to change, then we should focus our river development goals in two areas:
1. Develop the area at 21st and Jackson (includung the MidContinent Cement Co) with urban transit into downtown
2. Add pedestran crossings at 41st and 15th. At one time there was a Pier concept on this forum for 15th Street that was very cool and forward thinking.

I would also add to your list: Increase momentum of Downtown development. We need many more living, shopping and entertainment options in downtown.

And while we are making wish lists: North and West Tulsa need some attention with basic amenities (groceries) and control of absentee land lords.
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