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Author Topic: "The Pearl" an area that will go down in History as a turning point in Tulsa  (Read 51034 times)
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« on: December 12, 2011, 09:55:40 am »

It is very pleasant to read Good News associated with the rebirth of Downtown and surrounding areas.
Hopefully the coming year will see much, much more of the same.






2/9/2011 2:09:00 PM
The birth of a community
New developments push Pearl District closer to long-term vision



Jamie Jamieson has a theory about progress and popular perception.

“When one person goes into a blighted urban area, they’re a deranged lunatic,” said Jamieson, developer of The Village at Central Park. “With two, they’re still deranged, but not quite so. When there’s three, they’re not deranged anymore; they’re on the front edge of a curve.”

For a decade, the Pearl District advocate has worn the mantle of neighborhood quixote.

Now, with the opening of Lot No. 6 art gallery and bar, as well as the announcement of The Phoenix Cafe, a new coffee bar by City Councilor Blake Ewing; Square Records LLC, a production company and recording studio by Jeremy Grodhaus; and Black Pearl, a Mediterranean restaurant by Khaled Rahall, it seems Jamieson is finally on the forefront of downtown’s newest hot spot.

“Things are really cooking,” said Dave Strader, an area property owner and president of The Pearl District Association. “It took us a long time to get to this point.”

Originally formed to combat gangs, prostitution and drug use, The Pearl District Association is now fighting for federal funds – and form-based codes – to ensure the area’s continued success.

“You have to have a land-use policy that says, ‘Yes, you can built traditional, mixed-use, funky (and) walkable neighborhoods,’” said Jamieson. “For the last 80 years, the U.S. has enacted rules and policies that say you shall separate schools from homes and shopping from apartments. We need a new code to restore what’s already here, not to mention put in new stuff.”

Oklahoma’s first form-based code applies to The Village at Central Park TIF district, from 11th to Fifth streets and the IDL to Peoria Avenue. The Pearl District Association is now pushing to expand form-based codes east of Peoria Avenue. In November, area representatives presented the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission with a rezoning plan.

“The Pearl is at the forefront of economic development strategy,” said Jamieson. “Unfortunately, the city hasn’t noticed. We’re still wasting our money on widening roads to nowhere instead of investing in sustainable, urban neighborhoods.”

Rachel Navarro, of One Architecture LLC and Live Well Properties, owns several properties in the Pearl District with her husband Shelby Navarro, including the One Architecture building at 418 S. Peoria Ave., Lot No. 6 building at 1323 E. Sixth St. and Pearl Place at 1302 E. Sixth St. where The Phoenix Cafe and Square Records will open this spring.

The couple also owns the E House at 1319 E. Sixth St.; it is vacant.

“When we first started thinking about these projects, it was sort of like a pipe dream,” Navarro said. “Now, not only does it seem perfectly reasonable to us, it makes sense to other people, too.”

Strader, who has been working to improve the Pearl District since the late 1970s, said The Village at Central Park was the area’s first “big accomplishment.”

Today, the 60-unit, Georgetown-inspired development at 754 S. Norfolk Ave. is fully occupied, although Jamieson said some local realtors initially urged clients to avoid the urban neighborhood.

“Our concept was for a walkable, healthy neighborhood,” Jamieson said. “We wanted to create a beachhead to say it is possible for serious-minded people to invest their assets and to be happy and live comfortably in the inner city.”

Jamieson said he views The Village at Central Park, combined with the neighboring Centennial Park and Cultural Center, as the “first pearl” of what he hopes will be “a whole string.”

“We’re going to have a canal run down the middle of Sixth Street, which is part of a new, really creative solution to the neighborhood being in a flood basin,” said Jamieson.

The Pearl District Association is also working to secure $8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to construct a 65 acre-feet detention pond at Fifth Place and Owasso Avenue. Long-term plans call for a 113 acre-feet pond near Eighth Street and Quincy Avenue.

“Places like Amsterdam and Venice have canals running down the streets and tall buildings on either side,” Jamieson said. “That’s what we’re thinking about here — an urban canal and waterway system so when we detain water, it’s not only stormwater detention, but also the context for repopulation, revitalization. It adds value, rather than subtracting value.”

High-density housing is planned around the ponds.

“Whether the canal happens or not — and, frankly, I would be thrilled if it did — I think the addition of the floodwater ponds, especially on the east side are a good thing,” Ewing said. “I think we’ll see a residential renewal following the commercial.”

Khaled Rahall, owner of the recently reopened Eclipse Cultural House, has been invested in the Pearl District for 35 years. He owns about 20 properties and plans to open Black Pearl, a Mediterranean restaurant and rotisserie at 1334 E. Sixth St., in March. He formerly owned Vagabond Restaurant.

“We will serve the same Mediterranean food we served back then,” Rahall said. “We will also have an outdoor facility and possibly a wine bar.”

Rahall said the Pearl District’s continued revitalization depends on the city.

“I have heard this for many, many years,” Rahall said, referring to new plans for the area. “I went to meeting after meeting for the neighborhood — and nothing. We’re still in a flood zone.”

Jamieson admitted progress is slow moving, but said the number of new investors coming into the area are suggestive of its recent successes.

“Leading change in a city that is pretty sclerotic is difficult,” he said. “Tulsa is still populated by a lot of people who don’t want anything to change, who are locked into the way they’ve always done things.

“But if you’re not delivering what the new demographics of people want, if you’re not delivering to the value system of new generations, then you’re going to be history. Tulsa has to realize entire paradigms are changing and that we must think and do things differently if we are to survive, let alone prosper.”

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LandArchPoke
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« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 10:47:36 pm »

Pearl District zoning informational meeting set


By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Published: 12/18/2011  2:23 AM
Last Modified: 12/18/2011  5:33 AM

Planning officials on Monday will hold a public meeting to discuss a proposal to apply the city's newly adopted form-based code to the entire Pearl District.


"It's an informational meeting to introduce the form-based code to the property owners," said Wayne Alberty with the Indian Nations Council of Governments. "The informational meetings are being held before the public hearing before the Planning Commission."

Monday's meeting will be the third of its kind. INCOG officials have given two presentations to business owners in the district. Monday's meeting is open to all residential property owners in the district or anyone else interested in the new code.

In April, the City Council voted to add the form-based code to its zoning regulations and applied it to a pilot area made up of a small section of the district with fewer than 100 properties. Alberty estimated that there are about 1,000 properties within the Pearl District.

The district as it is known today was created in 2006 as the Sixth Street Infill Plan. It covers slightly more than one-half square mile stretching from Interstate 244 to 11th Street and from Utica Avenue to the Inner Dispersal Loop.

The Pearl District Design Team, a citizens group, advocated for the creation of the infill plan with the intent of using a form-based code to implement it.

Unlike the current zoning code, which focuses on the separation of land uses and accommodates the automobile, the form-based code calls for the creation of a dense, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood such as those found in urban communities.

The code addresses issues such as a structure's orientation or placement on a lot, its height, and the use of windows and doors to create an inviting setting for passers-by. It also focuses on the streetscape, including lighting and trees.

The form-based code can, in theory, be applied to any section of town. However, each section of town that adopts the code creates its own regulating plan. The plan sets out in detail what is and is not allowed within the area as well as what is required.

Plans are created by interested parties in cooperation with the city. The plans must be adopted by the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and approved by the City Council. Only then can a request be considered by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Even as the push to expand the form-based code to the entire Pearl District moves forward, the Planning Commission is working to fine-tune the new code.

Commissioners, at the request of the City Council, are working to address a provision in the new code that has some property owners concerned.

The provision requires property owners to rebuild according to the standards of the new form-based code in the event a structure is destroyed in a natural disaster or fire, even if the structure existed before the form-based code was applied.
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 10:48:19 pm »

I'm very happy to see the expansion of the form based codes... now I'm wondering what all they have in mind for the shape of development in this area.
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2012, 06:32:16 pm »

Quote
“Leading change in a city that is pretty sclerotic is difficult,” he said. “Tulsa is still populated by a lot of people who don’t want anything to change, who are locked into the way they’ve always done things.


Flea on the back of the dog.  It's always been this way, since the early 70's.
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 01:53:04 pm »

So, I couldn't get the link to The World article, but the article in today's paper about the form based codes was seriously one-sided.  It was completely omited that existing building are grandfathered in.
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2012, 02:08:29 pm »

is it this one?

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20120403_16_A12_TheTul687259

Pearl District zoning plan idea before panel to expand pedestrian-friendly code area appears ripe for controversy

By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Published: 4/3/2012  2:23 AM
Last Modified: 4/3/2012  6:09 AM

The Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on Wednesday will weigh the wisdom of applying the city's newly adopted form-based code to the entire Pearl District.


At present, the code - along with a regulating plan - includes 125 parcels of land covering about 60 acres of the district between Fifth Place and 11th Street west of Peoria Avenue.

The entire Pearl District, meanwhile, includes 1,172 parcels of land covering roughly 300 acres and is bounded by U.S. 75 and Utica Avenue between Interstate 244 and 11th Street.

Commissioners will be asked Wednesday to consider a regulating plan for the portion of the district not covered by the new code.

The plan is the first step in expanding the form-based code to the entire district.

Generally speaking, the form-based code encourages the development of dense, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and discourages the use of automobiles.

Wednesday's public hearing is sure to be contentious, with some business owners having already voiced their opposition to the new code.

At a February Planning Commission meeting, attorney Malcolm Rosser, representing Sonic Corp., told commissioners that extending the form-based zoning code to the entire district would doom the company's drive-in restaurant at 120 S. Utica Ave.

"The short answer on this from their (Sonic's) standpoint is that if the form-based code is extended out to cover this store, that store will eventually be shut down," Rosser said.

Nancy Keithline and her husband, Charles Keithline, own the Pediatric Dental Group building at 602 S. Utica Ave.

In a letter sent to other property owners in the district last week, Charles Keithline said the new code would limit the design and placement of new buildings while restricting parking and making existing structures nonconforming.

"To expand the code to include all of the Pearl District seems short-sighted at best and possibly disastrous to property values," he wrote.

Of particular concern to some business owners is the new code's requirement that new construction be a minimum of two stories and be built up to the property line.

In addition, vehicle access to properties is limited to alleys, with parking behind buildings.

Mike Thornbrugh, a spokesman for QuikTrip Corp., said those requirements simply won't work for the company as it plans to build its next-generation store on the site of an existing QuikTrip at 11th Street and Utica Avenue.

The Planning Commission recently recommended approval of a Planned Unit Development for the new store. Should the City Council fail to approve that plan, Thornbrugh said, "that particular site will deteriorate because we can't do anything."

Thornbrugh said QuikTrip has tried to work with the Pearl District Association to reach a compromise and that the new store would have sidewalks, bike racks and landscaping - all part of QuikTrip's effort to work in the spirit of the new code.

But, he added, "common sense will tell you a convenience store, you get in quick and you get out. A two-story building, that would not work."

Dave Strader, president of the Pearl District Association, said his group is not trying to push the form-based code down anyone's throat.

He noted, for example, that the code includes "auto-oriented" areas near Interstate 244 and Utica Avenue.

Strader said QuikTrip was presented with several design options for its proposed 11th Street and Utica Avenue store but rejected them all.

"They have not worked with the Pearl District," Strader said. "They are really rigid with their designs."

Strader also took exception to the notion, expressed by some opponents of the new code, that the process was not inclusive.

"They don't seem to have any interest until there is a deadline, and if they had been involved in the planning from the beginning, there might be a different outcome," he said.

Rachel Navarro, who owns property along Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue, is a strong supporter of the new code. She said the parking requirements in the existing zoning code make it necessary for her tenants to get a zoning variance each time they open a business.

"The form-based code will eliminate that requirement," she said.

Her support of the new code is not simply a product of self-interest.

"I support the whole vision of the Pearl District Association for the neighborhood," she said. "The vision for walkable, urban infill that addresses the pedestrian.

"I am behind that. I'm excited about that."
Planning Commission
What: Meeting

When: 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: City Council chambers, City Hall, Second Street and Cincinnati Avenue
Form-based zoning
Under the form-based zoning code approved by the City Council in October, a building's form - as well as its placement on a lot - takes precedence over how the land would be used.

The code aims to create dense, urbanlike environments that are pedestrian-friendly and discourages the use of automobiles. For example, vehicle access is limited to alleys, with parking behind buildings.


Original Print Headline: Panel to address Pearl District zoning
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012, 02:13:17 pm »

So, I couldn't get the link to The World article, but the article in today's paper about the form based codes was seriously one-sided.  It was completely omited that existing building are grandfathered in.

While the article doesn't go into it, I thought the concern was that the new code would apply to any rebuild.    
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 02:18:38 pm »

That is it, but I think I may have read an earlier version or something.  Maybe I didn't read the whole thing (Oops! Shocked)

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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 02:30:00 pm »


Mike Thornbrugh, a spokesman for QuikTrip Corp., said those requirements simply won't work for the company as it plans to build its next-generation store on the site of an existing QuikTrip at 11th Street and Utica Avenue.
But, he added, "common sense will tell you a convenience store, you get in quick and you get out. A two-story building, that would not work."

...unless, of course, you understood that the second story may be another use besides a convenience store...
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 03:57:40 pm »

...unless, of course, you understood that the second story may be another use besides a convenience store...

+1, sir!
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 07:36:54 pm »

 If not here, then where?

  Tulsa has a lot of great suburban neighborhoods and areas that can match the best of those in many a city even twice our size.  We can be proud of that.  But what we DON'T have are good urban neighborhoods and areas for those people who like that lifestyle.  Just as some couldn't imagine living in a highrise, or walking and taking transit every day, many wouldn't dream of living in a single family, detached house with a yard to mow and a highway commute.  I know of many who would be appaled at the thought of it.  I have friends and family who have left Tulsa because it doesn't offer any good urban living options.  I have heard many a story of people who have either left or chosen not to move here because we don't as a city offer good urban living.  I have also met people who might have moved here, IF they could have found a place to live.  Just as some of you would never dream of living in Manhattan, there are a lot of people who would never want to live in a suburban style neighborhood.  Now we are not going to create Manhattan here, but in the Pearl District and in Downtown, we can start re-creating great "Urban Village" and "urban neighborhood" lifestyle options for the region.  We had it once, we can do it again.

And, you must realize it's not enough to simply live in a "tall building" or a particular style of apartment, when you're an urbanite there are certain things you absolutely expect to go along with that lifestyle.  For example, often your apartment is smaller than a traditional home, but it doesn't matter to the urbanite for the sidewalks become your hallways, the nearby coffee shop your "breakfast nook or study", no need for a home theater for you have a real theater down the way, parks are your yard, the local pub your den, and so on.  It's a different way of living and enjoying the world.  Something we do not offer here, and we lose out as a city because we do not.  

Surveys and statistics are showing that ever more people are wanting that urban lifestyle.  And if we are not going to create good ones in areas like the Pearl District and Downtown, Brookside and Cherry Street, then where?  Those areas by the way, combined, represent a mere ONE percent of the city, surely we can manage it in ONE percent of the city?  Or are we going to say, No, Tulsa is not going to offer that?  

Are we content to continue watching so many young and talented people, and businesses by the way, move to other cities that do offer that lifestyle? If not here, then where?      


Urban neighborhoods.

Just as you wouldn't want certain things in your suburban style neighborhood next to your home, so too there are things that the urbanite does not want in his neighborhood. Also, many a business, farm or other enterprise has been pushed out of some rural areas of our city as suburban neigborhoods and developments begin to grow into them,,, so too a similar thing might also happen in an urban neighborhood.  This scenario actually HAS happened before in this area when the zoning laws were changed from what were once "naturally occuring Form Based Codes" with streets built that way because that was the norm, but then things were changed forcing minimum parking requirements, outlawing mixed use developments, etc.  Basically since times have changed again, what your doing with Form Based Codes is helping to reset the area back to something like the form it once enjoyed.  

The urbanite and urban business need the sidewalk to be active and pedestrian friendly.  A business that doesn't fit in to that "form" can be just as awkward or even harmful as many a thing I could think of going in next to your suburban style home in your neighborhood.  Different neighborhoods with different needs and "forms".  Do we only want suburban neighborhoods in Tulsa, or do we also want at least some small areas to have good urban neighborhoods?  

If not here, then where?

Form Based Codes are a way to help pedestrian friendly fabric become established in a car oriented area.

Once a "form", urban pedestrian friendly, or suburban car oriented, establishes itself, it wants to grow, IF it's allowed, and ONCE it establishes itself.  Otherwise in our situation with some 200 square miles of suburban car oriented development, and urban forms made illegal, the urban form is obviously going to have a rough time of it.  Think about what QT did in Brookside recently as one small example.  The people and many businesses of Brookside came together, worked long and hard, did some difficult give and take negotiatiating, to come up with the "Brookside Plan" which also wanted any new buildings built up to the sidewalk, wanted to protect existing buildings whenever possible, etc. But QT basically said F-you and tore down old buildings, and expanded their car oriented design creating an even larger gap in the pedestrian friendly fabric.  Contiguous pedestrian friendly fabric is important. Go downtown and walk from Boston Ave along 5th to the Mayo Hotel.  It's a wonderful walk that is slowly coming back to life again.  But once you get to the end of that little stretch of street, you look each way and decide to turn back because the pedestrian friendly nature in the area ends.  Go north or south on Boston Ave from around 5th, again, good pedestrian friendly fabric that suddenly comes to an end within short order.  There are great things to see and visit just a little ways away like the Blue Dome District, or the Boston Ave Church, but nobody wants to walk to those places because of the gaps in the pedestrian friendly fabric.  Just as thats true in downtown, its also true in other areas like the Pearl District, Cherry Street and Brookside. Those gaps and "car oriented forms" hurt pedestrian friendly businesses and keep us from being able to create good urban neighborhoods.  

If not in places like the Pearl District, then where?

Transit.  "Pedestrian Friendly" and "Transit Friendly" are the same thing.

  Currently good transit is illegal in Tulsa.  In most parts of the city by far, we have minimum parking requirements, mixed use is illegal, accessory dwelling units are illegal, etc. Transit friendly and Pedestrian friendly are the same thing.   If you make pedestrian friendly spaces difficult, or downright impossible and illegal to build, then any hopes you have for good transit go down the drain which again hurts any effort we may have towards creating good urban living.

If you have any concern for transit and having it be the most efficient and cost effective it can be, one has to realize that your transit is only as good as your pedestrian friendly areas.  Otherwise it's going to cost you a fortune and you will still have people compaining about lousy, ineffective, cumbersome transit. Downtown can't be a sole island of "urbanity" with say a trolley or bus making a little circle within the IDL, though that would certainly help our current so called "parking situation".  There needs to be other pedestrian friendly places to go to, and to come from, for transit to really work and to create a viable, urban living experience.  The nearby Pearl District is a perfectly logical place to do just that.  

 If we want it, and help to get it established with Form Based Codes, even in this tiny part of the city, we CAN again have superb urban living right here in Tulsa.  We have great suburban living options we can brag about and be proud of, lets work to create great urban living options that we can be proud of as well.  The old pedestrian friendly form and businesses here lost out when the times and zoning laws changed, and over the decades we have created some really fine suburban areas.  But times are changing again, now is the time for us to decide if we want to begin to re-offer really good urban areas for the ever growing number of people who want that.  

If not here, then where?  Woodland Hills? Not likely happen there.  It would be absurd to try this there if we couldn't do it here in a far more obvious part of the city.  Here in this neighborhood, near downtown, where all this work to create these Form Based Codes, get them up here to TMAPC, and so on, has happened,,, this is the logical place.

   Do we as a city, as a region, want to be able to offer good, competitive, attractive, urban living options?

If not here in this, comparably speaking, easy and obvious area, then where?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 09:08:22 pm by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 08:33:25 pm »

It's a different way of living and enjoying the world. 

That's putting it mildly.  I'm not against it for those that want it but I have to admit it's foreign to me.

Moving on....

You have talked about nodes connected by transit before.  At least I think it was you.  How much traffic do you think there could be among Cherry Street, Brady/Blue Dome, and Brookside?  I lumped Brady/Blue Dome since they are actually pretty close to each other regarding walking.  If the wasteland was eliminated the whole Brady/Blue Dome area would really only be defined by north or south of the RR.  I have never really been a bar hopper or trinket shopper so the concept of dinner on Cherry St and then going to Brookside for drinks just for something to do is also foreign to me. 
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 06:52:13 am »

That's putting it mildly.  I'm not against it for those that want it but I have to admit it's foreign to me.

Moving on....

You have talked about nodes connected by transit before.  At least I think it was you.  How much traffic do you think there could be among Cherry Street, Brady/Blue Dome, and Brookside?  I lumped Brady/Blue Dome since they are actually pretty close to each other regarding walking.  If the wasteland was eliminated the whole Brady/Blue Dome area would really only be defined by north or south of the RR.  I have never really been a bar hopper or trinket shopper so the concept of dinner on Cherry St and then going to Brookside for drinks just for something to do is also foreign to me.  


I think the "nodes" idea would be a longer term sort of thing.  The first steps would be start transit downtown which A. Alleviates the need for more parking downtown by better using what exists and also allows developers to cut costs by adding less or no parking to their developments. and B. Instead of spending money on new parking garages the city instead spend it on transit.  C. You start developing a robust, dense, very pedestrian friendly core and urban habits.  The other thing you do is zone for those node areas to develop as pedestrian friendly ones so that when you get to "step 2" extending transit out to the nodes, those nodes are bigger and denser areas to go to than they are now.  So essentially your either going to be spending money dowtown on parking for the Brady/Blue Dome or transit.  Your "traffic" is either going to be the number of people looking for parking in the Blue Dome/Brady districts, or those same people parking elsewhere and using transit. Your going to have to accommodate them one way or another, it's HOW we want our downtown to develop, the path we take, car oriented, or transit oriented, that is the key.

All of this is not just about people going downtown bar hopping or trinket shopping.  Its also about the growing population of people living downtown and hopefully around those "nodes" as well, and the growing number of businesses and visitors/tourists. Again, rather than spending millions on new parking garages, spend it instead on transit to better use the ample parking that already exists in and nearby downtown.  Also, in time as you get more people living and visiting downtown and if they are already on foot, transit to those other nodes really helps expand and greatly enhance the urban living experience.  For example, If I live downtown and don't have, or want to have, a car, or two, being able to easily go to other areas of the city to shop, work, have a meeting, dine, entertainment options, etc. makes it all that much more realistic for me to not have that car.  Downtown all by itself, might feel constraining and limiting.  If we want true urban living in Tulsa, it will be very desirable to have a little more than just downtown.  We alread have some decent starts with nearby Cherry Street and hopefully the Pearl District, and even Brookside.  Then add to that biking, or having a scooter, renting a car whenever you want to take other trips etc.  Your options open up and it becomes more realistic to have that true urban lifestyle.  Then, the reverse is also true in that as those nodes develop and infill, people living near them or visiting them can then easily transit to downtown or the other areas. Step by step "pardon the pun" you build up your high quality, enjoyable, pedestrian friendly infrastructure and also slowly alleviate the necessity to have multiple cars per couple or family, or even one.   And too, all of this really helps your regular transit throughout the city for once people get to downtown or one of those nodes, they are good to go with lots of options.  This would imo, increase ridership there, which would increase ridership on your downtown/node transit.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 06:56:43 am by TheArtist » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 08:28:34 am »

Jeez, that article illustrates why changing the status quo is so hard in this town. People see things in stark black and white and automatically jump to fear in the face of change. The code change is for new construction, not existing and the opt out/exclusion process will be exactly the same as it is to day (TPA approval process).

Form based code -vs- status quo can be summed up in a few pictures

Form based




Status Quo
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 12:13:42 pm »

I was wondering the same thing (why do people not get the grandfather clause?).  If a form-based-code is adopted, Sonic will close that store?  That makes no sense at all.

When the time comes for a rebuild (20 year spec?) - THEN I might understand the decision.  But by then there will either be a urban development such that Sonic can find a workaround - OR, it will be stalled out and variances will be handed out to "spur development."  Of course, if development does take off in that area Sonic could always sell the land for a massive profit.

Really though - WIlliam hits the nail on the head.  Tulsa has TONS of options for suburban sprawl development with single family homes, large front lawns, and strip malls.  We have very few areas that can be marketed as urban living.  Urban areas draw a premium, which is a good thing for land owners and tax collectors, as well as others who want to havea vibrant and diverse community.

Someone needs to point out that OKC is developing urban neighborhoods around downtown and will soon implement a trolley system.  Once we figure out, five years later, that they have done so successfully we'll be all about it but probably still stuck in our ways.  But what does Sacramento, Nashville, Miami, Baltimore, Denver, OVerland Park, Gulf Port, Flagstaff, Peoria, Ft. Myers, Arlingoton, Cincinatti, NYC, San Francisco, New Orleans, etc. etc. etc. know about development.  What we need is MORE PARKING LOTS.  None of them fangled things with green space, partial walls, or other elements to them.  Hell no!  An open canvas of asphalt is what we need.  And Jenks/Brokwn Arrow/Owasso style subdivisions.  Here, I'll throw out a few random names for the next three:   Timber Mills, Redbud Estates, and Parkside Villas.   Now come up with a few strip malls, 4 archetectual styles, and another 100 miles or roads to maintain.
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