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Author Topic: Holiday Parking - Counting peak demand  (Read 8546 times)
Red Arrow
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« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2015, 02:30:41 pm »

The other thing to consider is this: when you require free parking, you subsidize driving.  And when you subsidize driving, you elevate it above every other form of transportation--transit, biking, walking--by making them less convenient, attractive and desirable.  This creates demand for more driving.  So then you have to widen roads, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, which is another way we subsidize driving.  When you widen roads so cars travel faster, you make transit, biking and walking even less desirable and safe.  And when you dedicate the entire public right-of-way to cars, you make mixed-use impossible.  Our city streets effectively become wide, loud, unpleasant, dangerous highways for cars with deep asphalt setbacks and widely spaced, single-use destinations where no sane person wants to be...except when they are sheltered in the protective cocoon of their cars.

Many of us can imagine living above a store on Cherry Street or above a restaurant downtown.  No one would dream of living above a commercial space anywhere near 71st and Mingo.

But when people can live above commercial spaces, you get a magic synergy.  Suddenly, every square foot of land doubles (or triples or quadruples...) in value and productivity.  The land is not sitting vacant 2/3 of the time, it's being utilized night and day. Then, when people can walk to meet their daily needs (stores, services, etc), you don't need a car for every household member. This means we can dedicate even less space to parking and roadway lanes, which frees up more land to create walkable development that's attractive to people.

And when places are walkable and transit-friendly, even people who don't drive receive the same freedoms and benefits of drivers.  They have the freedom to utilize the public right of way.  They can exercise their right to be engaged in their community.  They have the ability to obtain employment because they can get to their jobs without a car. 

Because walkable places with efficient transit are not limited by the caste system of car-ownership, exciting opportunities occur. Suddenly, old folks can participate.  Kids can participate.  Disabled folks can participate. Less affluent people can participate. Everyone can be an active member of their community, whether they own a car and can drive, or not.

And that's the kind of place I want to live.  It's the kind of place I want Tulsa to be.

To eliminate cars and free parking from downtown, public transit will need to be subsidized.  The Transit Holocaust which doomed most real (rail guided, electric powered) trolley systems is proof of that.  Buses used paved roads for free while privately owned trolley companies had to maintain not only their track but the roadway surrounding it that buses and jitneys used.  When you eliminate parking, you elevate bikes, transit and walking as artificially as free parking elevates using automobiles.  I have read that some vocal bicyclists abhor rail transit as rails in the street pose a danger to bicycle wheels.  Should we prohibit clean, efficient, electric powered, rail guided transit for a few bicyclists?  There are electric buses but I doubt they are as efficient as steel wheels on rail.  I agree that transit etc is a much better choice for downtown.  Going vertical is certainly a better use of limited space than parking lots.  Narrow streets are not necessarily friendly to transit. Double tracking a trolley line will take more space than an alley width.  Narrow streets with turns to other narrow streets are unfriendly to large vehicles like trolleys and buses.  To what extent do you think your Utopia should extend within our lifetimes?  The entire city limits?

Public transit is actually responsible for the suburbs.  Before transit, everyone except the 1%ers of their day had to live within walking distance of work.  Maybe now a good transit system could allow Tulsa to embrace its suburbs so we could think of ourselves as a region rather than little fiefdoms.

I donít want to live above a noisy night club, downtown, Cherry St, 71st and Mingo or anywhere else.  I donít want to live in an apartment or even a duplex.  I hope that what you want becomes more available for those that do want the urban lifestyle.  There are still holdouts like me that like having 100 feet between me and my nearest neighbor.  If I could use public transit as a way to get downtown for a similar time and dollar cost as my car, I would be tempted to come downtown more than once or twice a year.  Donít bother including purchase cost, insurance etc for my car as I will have one anyway.  The extra couple of hundred miles I would drive to downtown would not be significant.  Even if I were forced to live downtown, I would find a way to have a car.  I just might not have to drive it when the weather looks like hail or the roads are covered with snow or ice without taking a day of vacation. 
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cannon_fodder
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« Reply #31 on: December 29, 2015, 02:55:15 pm »

To eliminate cars and free parking from downtown, public transit will need to be subsidized.

But not nearly as much as "car transit" is subsidized. Free parking. Free roads and highways (use taxes like tolls, the gas tax, and tags only pay 50% of road costs). Traffic control devices. Police, fire, and medical care for all the car crashes. Not to mention the land devoted to it, and thus taken off of the tax rolls (including, effectively, the massive parking lots we are talking about). Tulsa spends about $200,000,000 a year to just subsidize repairs of our streets (that's not counting State and Federal money), safe to assume we clear $400,000,000 when we count highways (in the last 6 years: $140mi for the new I-244 bridge, $375mil I-44 widening cost, IDL repairs at $75mil, I-244 resurfacing $25mil), state money, regular repairs, new streets, traffic devices, police need, etc. etc. etc. etc.   

Tulsa transits budget is $14mil. Trail maintenance is about $500k of Tulsa's budget each year.

I'd be OK with more subsidy for other forms of transit.

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When you eliminate parking, you elevate bikes, transit and walking as artificially as free parking elevates using automobiles.

I disagree. Eliminating mandatory free parking only removes one subsidy for auto-centric development. It isn't artificially subsidizing other forms of transit, rather it is placing it more in the domain of the market.

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I have read that some vocal bicyclists abhor rail transit as rails in the street pose a danger to bicycle wheels.  Should we prohibit clean, efficient, electric powered, rail guided transit for a few bicyclists? 

I'm a cyclist. Rail crossings are areas of concern - make sure you are as close to 90 degrees when crossing as you can get. But this has never caused serious concerns, just being careful and/pr planning. Most crossing at near 90 degrees anyway.

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Public transit is actually responsible for the suburbs. 

I disagree again. The suburbs exploded with the advent of highways. Mass transit is not responsible for Owasso, Jenks, Broken Arrow, etc. But I agree, a comprehensive mass transit system could embrace the suburbs - but won't as long as we continue to develop car centered infrastructure.

The entire point is that car centered development rules lead to the outcome we currently have - everyone needs a car, or two, and lots of (free) parking. As long as we subsidize that model, it will continue to dominate. Lets at least explore the possibility of cutting some of the mandatory subsidies...
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« Reply #32 on: December 29, 2015, 03:04:21 pm »

"And that's the kind of place I want to live. It's the kind of place I want Tulsa to be."

And that is precisely what Tulsa used to be when I was a child in the fifties. My grandparents lived above retail and restaurants downtown along with lots of other retired folks whose children and grandchildren had moved to the suburbs. They clerked in those stores. They shopped nearby for everything. Even minorities found nearby downtown convenient. That suburban movement started in the 1920's with Whittier Square and other nearby "suburbs" served by trolleys, buses and taxis. Both downtown and suburban growth were economically driven. There was not enough room downtown for the coming explosions of population that oil wealth and post war(s) economic growth stimulated. The money to be made was in building schools, shopping centers and residential housing. Yet, folks were still tethered to downtown by their employment and good mass transit.

Now I see the opposite happening. Economics are hindering middle class and retiring folks from living downtown. The designs and cost of housing downtown are out of synch with the wealth and needs of a huge aging population unless its rest home status. When faced with the decision of half million dollar lofts near downtown versus buying yourself transportation to live comfortably in the burbs, the burbs will win both with hard pressed and shrinking middle class populations and (particularly) with workers who have eclipsed the magical 50yr old threshold where they become practically resident aliens. No wonder T-partiers love Trumpy. They are angry at being ignored. Highest underemployed rates and very little chance to prosper as large companies keep leaving the city. Either start your own company using retirement funds (high failure rate), decrease your standard of living by selling off assets or go into politics.

Meanwhile the tether is no longer connected either. Whether because of loss of quality downtown jobs or shortsighted planning, it is simply more difficult to reside downtown unless you're in the early stages of adulthood with relatively high incomes, no children, are oriented towards youth culture entertainment and its budget . The basics for middle class and aging are still not downtown and that's the bulk of our population. IOW, the economics for returning to my grandparents golden age of downtown living are working against us.

So, I enjoy reading your posts and admire your ability to correctly assess the deficits of suburban sprawl and auto-centric development, but I am depressed by the realization that unless this city has an extreme paradigm shift, they are merely elements of Vision 2055. Help me be more optimistic!
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« Reply #33 on: December 29, 2015, 05:51:08 pm »

The other thing to consider is this: when you require free parking, you subsidize driving. 

Parking isn't free, and "free" parking isn't required in Tulsa. 

Many business locations have parking areas for customers, but there is an associated cost of providing "free" parking.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #34 on: December 29, 2015, 06:49:02 pm »

But not nearly as much as "car transit" is subsidized. Free parking. Free roads and highways (use taxes like tolls, the gas tax, and tags only pay 50% of road costs). Traffic control devices. Police, fire, and medical care for all the car crashes. Not to mention the land devoted to it, and thus taken off of the tax rolls (including, effectively, the massive parking lots we are talking about). Tulsa spends about $200,000,000 a year to just subsidize repairs of our streets (that's not counting State and Federal money), safe to assume we clear $400,000,000 when we count highways (in the last 6 years: $140mi for the new I-244 bridge, $375mil I-44 widening cost, IDL repairs at $75mil, I-244 resurfacing $25mil), state money, regular repairs, new streets, traffic devices, police need, etc. etc. etc. etc. 

Are you going to make Tulsa Transit start paying for road maintenance, traffic light maintenance, fire and police as part of their budget?  How about the police and fire departments that use the streets.  Is road maintenance to become part of their budget as a line item?  There were streets in big cities before there were automobiles.  The cost would be less without so many cars but not zero. There would still need to be delivery trucks downtown.  I think that trucks do more damage to roads than cars.  Granted, you wouldn't need the inner dispersal loop and it takes a chunk of land.  Do you think we could put I-44 back to a simple 4 lane highway?  Maybe we could get the Feds or OTA to put in a big bypass totally around Tulsa and have nothing but 2 lane arterials to Tulsa proper from the bypass which would go north of Owasso or south of Bixby.  Google trolley traffic jam for an idea of how wide open the streets would not necessarily be.  The next time you renew your car tag, check where the money goes.  The majority goes to the General Fund and to Schools. ( https://www.ok.gov/tax/documents/16%25chart.pdf ) I believe a significant amount of the gas tax is also diverted to other items at the federal level.  I agree there is toooo much surface parking in downtown.  I will agree with Ponder that the parking lots out here are bigger than they need to be in most cases.  But, free parking out here is built into the price of shopping.  It just isn't a separate charge.  If you need a car to get some place, "free" parking makes sense. 

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Tulsa transits budget is $14mil. Trail maintenance is about $500k of Tulsa's budget each year.
I'd be OK with more subsidy for other forms of transit.
I wouldn't use Tulsa Transit as an example of good transit with low spending.  The system is not very useful to too many people.  Dig up some numbers on Philadelphia, PA area (SEPTA), New York City, Boston, Chicago and scale it down to Tulsa.  Trail maintenance is primarily recreational.  It is part of quality of life spending that I agree is necessary.

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I disagree. Eliminating mandatory free parking only removes one subsidy for auto-centric development. It isn't artificially subsidizing other forms of transit, rather it is placing it more in the domain of the market.
By eliminating the usefulness of automobiles there is an inherent support of other modes of moving about.  Keep in mind that for downtown, I favor less parking if a useful alternate transportation system is available.

 
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I'm a cyclist. Rail crossings are areas of concern - make sure you are as close to 90 degrees when crossing as you can get. But this has never caused serious concerns, just being careful and/pr planning. Most crossing at near 90 degrees anyway.
The complaint I usually read about is when the rails go around a corner the cyclist want to cross, making a 90ļ crossing more difficult.  I agree that a 90ļ crossing should not be a big problem.

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I disagree again. The suburbs exploded with the advent of highways. Mass transit is not responsible for Owasso, Jenks, Broken Arrow, etc. But I agree, a comprehensive mass transit system could embrace the suburbs - but won't as long as we continue to develop car centered infrastructure.

You need to read up on the development of areas that had more extensive mass transit.  The town where I grew up in suburban Phila took off when the trolley line to the county seat was put it.  It did really boom with the automobile but it got its first transition from farms to housing with the trolley line.  Also check up on the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroad commuter services.  A lot of it still exists under the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA:  http://www.septa.org ).  There are even spots on OETA about OKC putting in a new trolley line which explain how the trolley lines from the early 1900s allowed the expansion of OKC.

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The entire point is that car centered development rules lead to the outcome we currently have - everyone needs a car, or two, and lots of (free) parking. As long as we subsidize that model, it will continue to dominate. Lets at least explore the possibility of cutting some of the mandatory subsidies...
For some areas of Tulsa, I agree.  To envision all of the Tulsa area being totally independent of autos is not realistic and, in my opinion, not even desirable.

Enough for now, I need to cook dinner.
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Red Arrow
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« Reply #35 on: December 29, 2015, 10:47:43 pm »

Just for grins, I looked up the SEPTA reports.  SEPTA is a regional Authority.  It covers the City of Philadelphia and 4 surrounding counties.  I believe the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia County have the same borders. ( http://septa.org/maps/system/index.html )  The system map actually goes into Delaware and shows a few connections to New Jersey.  I lived along the 101 trolley line to Media at the Springfield Rd stop between the Scenic Rd and Saxer Ave stops. There is another intersection with the same Springfield Rd on the 102 line to Sharon Hill. Oh, look.  There is free parking at "my" stop.  We only lived a couple of hundred yards from the stop though so I never needed that parking lot. ( https://goo.gl/maps/T69g4BU9USF2 )

Tulsa is about 187 sq mi according to Wikipedia.  Tulsa County is 587 sq mi.  The Tulsa Transit map ( http://tulsatransit.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/SystemMap11-15-No-Date-current-map.pdf ) shows some excursions into Jenks, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, and maybe a bit past the north edge of Tulsa.  Nothing is in Bixby.  I will still use the county area though since I remember coverage in the outer areas of SEPTA not being as dense as downtown Phila.

Tulsa: $14,000,000 (per CF) and 587 sq mi. for $23,850/ sq mi for the county.  (It would be $74,866/ sq mi if we only considered the area of the city.)

SEPTA: $1,287,658,000 (including revenue, subsidies with $230,000 left over) and 2202 sq mi. for $584,663/ sq mi after subtracting the $230K. ( http://septa.org/strategic-plan/reports/opfacts.pdf )

Tulsa Transit should be spending $343,197,181 if they consider the county their service area.

I am well aware there is a population density difference but if we want to severely reduce automobile use, we will need a usable public transit system which we don't really have at the moment.  It will need to include Bixby too.

At $14M, I think we're a bit short.  (I am not in the natural gas business, M = Mega)  

Now, back to Highway 33 the Yale Ave Bridge.  Grin (http://www.tulsaworld.com/archives/a-dream-fulfilled-dan-p-holmes-never-gave-up-on/article_d689e1e2-5aa4-579e-ba70-3d5e164d1430.html )

Edit: add street view link
Edit: add link about Dan P Holmes
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PonderInc
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« Reply #36 on: January 22, 2016, 09:54:42 am »

I was talking with some folks last night about land use, and how the way we develop our land is so inefficient and unproductive (ie: 2/3 asphalt with single-story buildings is not an efficient use of space, and the tax revenues prove it).  This development pattern creates a huge amount of public infrastructure that has to be built and maintained on very few dollars. Which is why our roads suck, among other things. 

The question that came up was "How do we change it?"

I keep thinking about this because it's such a chicken/egg problem.  But I think the answer has to be: invest in fixed-route transit (rail or BRT) and shape development policy around transit.  Then let (require) the private sector to build mixed-use density along the publicly-funded transit lines.

I think the transit has to come first.  Because otherwise, if you try to build density first, suddenly everyone gets stuck in a traffic jam and demands wider roads and more parking.
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« Reply #37 on: January 22, 2016, 10:59:28 am »

I;m include to agree, mostly. Clearly you need the base population to utilize the services - Wagner couldn't put in light rail from  the turnpike to downtown and then wait for the eastern section of town to just fill in. I think it has to be in an area that is already developed and has a propensity to being urban (CBD, Pearl, Cherry, Brooksidie, or even other parts of Midtown). Even if immediate population of the neighborhood doesn't support it, it has a head start and it will.

This is in line with what communities did before cars were the go to mode of transportation. Trolley lines would be expanded to the areas the city wanted to develop. Even here in Tulsa there are some development quirks that can be explained by where the trolley line ran. And we do it still today - but we do it with highways. Where did we put the the Creek Turnpike? Where we wanted the City to grow (fun fact - Tulsa requested pedestrian bridges as part of the Creek over the Arkansas river. But citing "economics" the idea was shot down. Dewey Bartlett was on the panel and said it was a matter of economics). Why do we want to expand the Tisdale through west Tulsa?  To encourage development.

All that to say, putting the "government subsidized" road before development is nothing new.

The other side of the argument, that you need density before transit, has not been shown to have great success. In NYC new subway lines can cost $1 BILLION per mile. Cities who have tried to retrofit transit have had lots of expense, and mixed success. Even places that are often ahead of the curve messed it up, example A: Austin, Texas. Most of the population wishes they would have pulled the trigger on transit in the 1990s, before the city really boomed and added hundreds of millions (billions?) to the cost of any proposed project.

The best transit systems are the ones that survived the glut of post war destruction. The next best ones are the ones that grew along with the density of the city. Lets do that.
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« Reply #38 on: January 22, 2016, 02:54:41 pm »

What you have is developers after profit, and city governments after the next marginal dollar (no matter how inefficient). Until one stops, this madness will continue. Developers will never stop chasing profit. It should take a city putting it's foot down and saying we are not extending ourselves just to capture that extra few dollars in revenue.

It's like the stadiums in all these cities though. Right now, if St. Louis or Oakland won't pony up, someone else is happy to step in there and take the financial burden on (for whatever reason).

I'm not trying to sound hopeless, but this is what is driving this development. It's cheaper to develop on flat land AS LONG AS the city will provide services at little to no cost. Try doing the same development with no public infrastructure.
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« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2016, 03:01:25 pm »

erfalf - I don' think anyone is arguing with your statements. Its foolish to think developers will benevolently change the way they have been profitably doing business for 50 years. They aren't in it for legacy, usually they only hold the property until the loans are consolidated into s a mortgage and they are paid in full - then walk away.

Its that marginal return you are talking about. We add retail, add retail, add retail, and never get ahead. We add subdivisions and subdivisions, gated communities and so on... but the new revenue doesn't seem to help our continuous budget crisis. Clearly, our return isn't in excess of the cost of adding new roads, sewers, school capacity, etc.  It isn't a matter of demanding better development because its cool, because it attracts young educated people, or because it is better environmentally --- but it is more economical for the city.  Every lot in downtown, midtown, Cherry Street and Brookside has water, sewer and utilities run to it. The roads are there and don't need to be expanded.  From a fiscal perspective, we may as well pack those lots with taxable assets and ta paying citizens. 
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« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2016, 05:33:49 pm »

erfalf - I don' think anyone is arguing with your statements. Its foolish to think developers will benevolently change the way they have been profitably doing business for 50 years. They aren't in it for legacy, usually they only hold the property until the loans are consolidated into s a mortgage and they are paid in full - then walk away.

Its that marginal return you are talking about. We add retail, add retail, add retail, and never get ahead. We add subdivisions and subdivisions, gated communities and so on... but the new revenue doesn't seem to help our continuous budget crisis. Clearly, our return isn't in excess of the cost of adding new roads, sewers, school capacity, etc.  It isn't a matter of demanding better development because its cool, because it attracts young educated people, or because it is better environmentally --- but it is more economical for the city.  Every lot in downtown, midtown, Cherry Street and Brookside has water, sewer and utilities run to it. The roads are there and don't need to be expanded.  From a fiscal perspective, we may as well pack those lots with taxable assets and ta paying citizens. 

I'm certainly not arguing that are city leaders are acting wisely. Just that they are acting. I agree COMPLETELY that it is a losers bet to keep adding all this infrastructure when it is already in places that are perfectly develop able. I REALLY don't understand why more gentrification hasn't occurred in some areas. Especially around 6th street/Pearl. Land can't be that expensive, and I would think they could still capitalize on mid to high end homes.

I've seen study after study showing how a reasonably dense small town downtown is far more efficient at generating revenue (forget the savings in costs) than a huge lot with a Walmart. See graphic below. Who benefits from smaller scale development more? But who runs the show? If I'm looking at Walmart vs a dozen PERSPECTIVE retail establishments in an urban setting, a city will pick Walmart because it is considered a safer bet, ie, more likely to get $70 mil in revenue ($3 mil tax). The incentives are all out of whack.

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« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2016, 06:08:14 pm »

I keep thinking about this because it's such a chicken/egg problem.  But I think the answer has to be: invest in fixed-route transit (rail or BRT) and shape development policy around transit.  Then let (require) the private sector to build mixed-use density along the publicly-funded transit lines.

I think the transit has to come first.  Because otherwise, if you try to build density first, suddenly everyone gets stuck in a traffic jam and demands wider roads and more parking.

I think you got this correct.  Rail would work better than BRT since BRT can be changed with a few pen strokes.
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« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2016, 06:30:47 pm »

(fun fact - Tulsa requested pedestrian bridges as part of the Creek over the Arkansas river. But citing "economics" the idea was shot down.
I'll have to go along with that one since the old bridge to Jenks which in now a pedestrian bridge is close by.
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« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2016, 06:37:46 pm »

I REALLY don't understand why more gentrification hasn't occurred in some areas. Especially around 6th street/Pearl. Land can't be that expensive, and I would think they could still capitalize on mid to high end homes.
Isn't that area still subject to severe dampness occasionally.  I wouldn't invest there.
 
Quote
I've seen study after study showing how a reasonably dense small town downtown is far more efficient at generating revenue (forget the savings in costs) than a huge lot with a Walmart. See graphic below. Who benefits from smaller scale development more? But who runs the show? If I'm looking at Walmart vs a dozen PERSPECTIVE retail establishments in an urban setting, a city will pick Walmart because it is considered a safer bet, ie, more likely to get $70 mil in revenue ($3 mil tax). The incentives are all out of whack.



I cannot argue the income per acre to the city but at what level do you discourage business due to cost.  Artist, how much more rent could you afford for your business if taxes severely increased your landlord's cost?  (No $, just a percentage.)  There is a thing called diminishing returns.  I don't know that we are there but the concept exists.
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johrasephoenix
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« Reply #44 on: January 24, 2016, 08:43:51 pm »

I just wrote a paper on this:

Tulsa is roughly three times the physical size it was in 1970.
It's population has been roughly stagnant since then
It has continued to sprawl rapidly despite little actual population growth
This has been made possible because of our heavy subsidization of private development and automobile/utilities infrastructure
It now has enough roadway to stretch from Tulsa to the East Coast to the West Coast and back to Tulsa
This is financially crushing and why Tulsa has perpetually crumbling roads



I have some graphics for this but can't figure out how to post an image...
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