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Author Topic: FREE Presentation! "Walkable City" by Jeff Speck  (Read 2219 times)
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« on: April 29, 2016, 11:13:07 am »

I would really encourage everyone on here to go to this event.  If we are able to drum up a decent crowd, we may be able to get the funding to have Jeff do a study which will lay out a map of downtown "Walkability Scores" and some possible actions we can take to improve our downtown.  We have contacted and given books to the Mayor, City Councilors, downtown developers, other city officials involved with downtown issues, etc. to have them read the book and are encouraging them to come to the event. 

I always say that what we need is to get these people informed about the issues and their importance.  This is an attempt to begin that process. 

From DECOPOLIS's Facebook post....https://www.facebook.com/decopolis/

FREE EVENT! Downtown walkability presentation by JEFF SPECK!

As a downtown retailer DECOPOLIS highly encourages anyone with an interest in learning about ways we can help make our downtown become more "pedestrian lively", to come to this event. We have given books to and, are contacting the City Councilors, Mayor, downtown developers, and many others, and encouraging them to also come to this event.

So if lots of YOU also come, it will show that the people of Tulsa really do care about this type of thing!

The DCC "Downtown Coordinating Council" is hosting this great presentation on walkability and urban planning by Jeff Speck. Anyone with an interest in Downtown Tulsa is encouraged to come and hear what he has to say about possible ways we can help the heart of our city become a more enjoyable and pedestrian friendly environment.

Light refreshments will be available. Meet and greet/social hour begins at 6:30, the seminar will begin at 7:00.
WHEN
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM (CDT)
WHERE
Cox Business Center - 100 Civic Center Assembly Hall

REGISTER HERE!
 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/creating-a-more-walkable-tulsa

And remember "tickets" are free!

Mention this post and receive 40% off "Walkable City" by Jeff Speck at DECOPOLIS.
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davideinstein
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2016, 04:03:55 pm »

I'll be there for sure.
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PonderInc
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« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2016, 09:06:41 pm »

This is a huge deal.  

I'm especially happy to see that the DCC is sponsoring this event.  Not everyone on the DCC understands the importance of walkability and how land use/urban design impacts this. During the update of the zoning code, some members of the DCC fought to PREVENT the option of allowing character overlays downtown.  This means that if some property owners in a particular DT neighborhood wanted to initiate an overlay to ensure that future developments would foster a pedestrian environment, they would not be allowed to so.

People need to be happy on foot, or they won't walk.  Some things that impact this: 1.) Narrow traffic lanes with cars moving at a slower speed (makes it safer and more comfortable to cross the street). 2.) Human scale. This is basically the opposite of a big box store.  Lot's of smaller places make people feel comfortable rather than dwarfed by one massive monolithic building.  A large building can still have a human scale if the ground floor has a variety of small retail spaces that you see as you walk along the sidewalk.  Many of Tulsa's historic office buildings demonstrate how this is done.  3.) Comfortable sidewalks and an appealing streetscape, which includes things like awnings and shade trees, as well as doors and windows that face the sidewalk (It's important to give people something to look at while they walk. Nobody wants to walk along a blank wall.) 4.) A variety of uses that are busy during different hours of the day (You need a certain density of destinations to attract people to a place. Then, you want things that are open at different times throughout the day, so people will feel safe...bc there are always folks walking around.)

None of this is rocket science.  It's basically how people built cities for hundreds of years.  But a lot of developers have cut their teeth on single-use, car-centric, suburban developments and only know how to build things that prioritize /depend upon driving.  Or, they think they can stick any building up by the sidewalk and call it "pedestrian friendly"...which isn't true, as many of our more recent downtown structures can attest.  

Everyone should go see Jeff Speck's presentation.  Once you start thinking about this stuff, you'll never look at a city the same way again.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2016, 09:08:26 pm by PonderInc » Logged
johrasephoenix
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2016, 09:41:00 am »

Great book.  Jeff Speck is locked on.

I also highly recommend Cities for People by Jan Gehl.
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erfalf
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2016, 12:21:31 pm »

The presentation on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caR0Ip1tgvI
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 12:42:00 pm »

The downtown coordinating council voted to hire Jeff Speck to do a study yesterday:

http://www.newson6.com/story/32117997/urban-planner-hired-to-analyze-downtown-tulsa-growth-potential
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PonderInc
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2016, 03:50:38 pm »

I'm certainly glad that Speck is coming back to Tulsa.  And I'm ever hopeful that the DCC is starting to "get it."  Of course, the DCC has hired other consultants in the past and ignored them.  We've also developed a Downtown Master Plan that the DCC voted to support... except when certain individuals don't feel like it. (Not that they ever read it...)

Blake's comments in the article are spot on.  Speck will certainly recommend implementing an urban overlay, which Bumgarner and a few others don't understand, and, thus, opposed vehemently.  Who knows...maybe a $70k education will help him understand why his development on Boulder is an example of what not to do.

I could save the city $70k.  Here's my proposal for a walkable downtown.  Let's see how many of these ideas are included in the professional recommendations.

Connect entertainment and employment centers by restoring the urban fabric along dead spaces (especially, surface parking lots). This can be achieved by sacrificing a couple rows of parking to build shallow liner buildings, with ground floor retail spaces.

Ground floor retail needs to be human-scaled, attractive, and have at least 70% transparency on the first-floor frontage (aka: windows and doors).

Downtown buildings should be mixed-use, with residential over commercial to activate the space and create synergies 24/7.

Large buildings should use different facades to break up monolithic spaces.  Architectural detail on the first two floors matters.  Make the first 30 feet nice, and save money up higher where no one will notice.

Pedestrian amenities include sidewalks, streets trees, deep awnings, flower beds/planters, benches, artwork, water features, gentle lighting, and comfortable places to hang out and chat.  Tactical urbanism projects could transform dead spaces into locations for public art, street performers, and concerts. 

Permanent food truck stations or street market kiosks with infrastructure for water, electric, shade trees and benches could be used to line certain parking lots to simulate a street frontage and activate the space.  (This is the pupae stage of urbanism for entrepreneurs without tons of capital: provides affordable, first-generation development of the space.  Later, real buildings will replace these spaces.)  Trucks/kiosks must be positioned to line the street without gaps to complete the street face.

All streets should be two-way, and lanes should be narrowed to slow traffic. "Bump outs" at intersections make pedestrians more visible to drivers and shorten the distance people have to cross to make it safely across the street. Bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes further calm traffic and make other modes more efficient.  Back-in angled can also be used to create more parking and further narrow the street width.

All buildings in downtown Tulsa should be built up to the sidewalk with activated ground floors.  Any parking should be located behind the buildings and screened from the street.  This means wrapping parking garages with ground-floor retail, or surface parking lots with liner buildings. Any surface lots that don't include liner buildings should be screened using low landscaping and canopy trees.

Certain uses will be prohibited downtown: gas stations and drive-thrus.

re: how to create liner buildings around surface parking lots:
Implement a design overlay and re-establish the parcels so small developers /entrepreneurs can fill the blanks and restore the tax base to these wasted places.  Churches could also do with with their lots, and use the spaces to build affordable housing and commercial spaces for developing entrepreneurial skills among under-served populations, recent grads, elderly, minority owners, etc.  TCC could partner with TTC to involve students in the building and development process for credit. Use the finished space for student housing, recent grad housing, job incubators, etc.

That's it off the top of my head.  Let's see what the professionals come up with.  Wink







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Bamboo World
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2016, 04:09:42 pm »

The downtown coordinating council voted to hire Jeff Speck to do a study yesterday:

http://www.newson6.com/story/32117997/urban-planner-hired-to-analyze-downtown-tulsa-growth-potential

I noticed that article online today.  Blake Ewing's comments are absolutely correct.  Jeff Speck's recommendations most certainly will be:

1. add protected bike lanes
2. re-stripe pavement to create driving lanes a maximum of ten feet wide
3. get rid of one-way streets
4. reduce the number of driving lanes on streets with low traffic counts
5. plant trees along the curbs to help protect and shade the sidewalks
6. allow more on-street parking to help protect bike lanes and sidewalks
7. eliminate traffic signals at low volume intersections
8. reduce huge corner radii
9. eliminate center yellow lines and other pavement markings on low volume streets

Jeff Speck almost certainly will not recommend:

1. moving curbs where traffic paint will do the job
2. installing pavers or other expensive rough surfaces which hinder walking and accessibility
3. installing glaring acorn lights
4. installing traffic signals with push buttons
5. straightening kinks and offsets which help to reduce driving speeds
6. installing signage with weird abbreviations in the middle of narrow sidewalks or behind poles where the weird abbreviations can't be easily seen
7. eliminating plans for sidewalks because Barbo [sic] Cox thinks walking alongside a street might be dangerous
8. building parking garages along sidewalks, such as the proposed Santa Fe Square for the west side of Greenwood Avenue
9. building pedestrian-only streets, such as the proposed extension of Frankfort Avenue through Santa Fe Square

erfalf:  Thanks for the YouTube link!
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2016, 10:15:23 pm »

I'm certainly glad that Speck is coming back to Tulsa.  And I'm ever hopeful that the DCC is starting to "get it."  Of course, the DCC has hired other consultants in the past and ignored them.  We've also developed a Downtown Master Plan that the DCC voted to support... except when certain individuals don't feel like it. (Not that they ever read it...)

Blake's comments in the article are spot on.  Speck will certainly recommend implementing an urban overlay, which Bumgarner and a few others don't understand, and, thus, opposed vehemently.  Who knows...maybe a $70k education will help him understand why his development on Boulder is an example of what not to do.

I could save the city $70k.  Here's my proposal for a walkable downtown.  Let's see how many of these ideas are included in the professional recommendations.

Connect entertainment and employment centers by restoring the urban fabric along dead spaces (especially, surface parking lots). This can be achieved by sacrificing a couple rows of parking to build shallow liner buildings, with ground floor retail spaces.

Ground floor retail needs to be human-scaled, attractive, and have at least 70% transparency on the first-floor frontage (aka: windows and doors).

Downtown buildings should be mixed-use, with residential over commercial to activate the space and create synergies 24/7.

Large buildings should use different facades to break up monolithic spaces.  Architectural detail on the first two floors matters.  Make the first 30 feet nice, and save money up higher where no one will notice.

Pedestrian amenities include sidewalks, streets trees, deep awnings, flower beds/planters, benches, artwork, water features, gentle lighting, and comfortable places to hang out and chat.  Tactical urbanism projects could transform dead spaces into locations for public art, street performers, and concerts. 

Permanent food truck stations or street market kiosks with infrastructure for water, electric, shade trees and benches could be used to line certain parking lots to simulate a street frontage and activate the space.  (This is the pupae stage of urbanism for entrepreneurs without tons of capital: provides affordable, first-generation development of the space.  Later, real buildings will replace these spaces.)  Trucks/kiosks must be positioned to line the street without gaps to complete the street face.

All streets should be two-way, and lanes should be narrowed to slow traffic. "Bump outs" at intersections make pedestrians more visible to drivers and shorten the distance people have to cross to make it safely across the street. Bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes further calm traffic and make other modes more efficient.  Back-in angled can also be used to create more parking and further narrow the street width.

All buildings in downtown Tulsa should be built up to the sidewalk with activated ground floors.  Any parking should be located behind the buildings and screened from the street.  This means wrapping parking garages with ground-floor retail, or surface parking lots with liner buildings. Any surface lots that don't include liner buildings should be screened using low landscaping and canopy trees.

Certain uses will be prohibited downtown: gas stations and drive-thrus.

re: how to create liner buildings around surface parking lots:
Implement a design overlay and re-establish the parcels so small developers /entrepreneurs can fill the blanks and restore the tax base to these wasted places.  Churches could also do with with their lots, and use the spaces to build affordable housing and commercial spaces for developing entrepreneurial skills among under-served populations, recent grads, elderly, minority owners, etc.  TCC could partner with TTC to involve students in the building and development process for credit. Use the finished space for student housing, recent grad housing, job incubators, etc.

That's it off the top of my head.  Let's see what the professionals come up with.  Wink

This is all great as long as you only count on downtown urban residents to support downtown.  You seem to have neglected "visitors" from the suburbs.  I agree that downtown should discourage automobiles but... there is no viable way for me to get to downtown other than using my auto. Taxi, Uber, Lift etc are not a viable alternative from 111th & Memorial.  A park and ride would be a good start. A downtown circulator would be a good first attempt.  As usual, I prefer rail to buses but I understand the up front cost. (Never mind the eventual total cost and the fact that buses use roads paid for by general revenue and gasoline taxes.)
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PonderInc
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2016, 03:12:15 pm »

Since almost half of downtown is covered in surface parking lots, I'm sure there will be plenty of room to park your car, even when people start rebuilding the urban fabric.  As land value goes up, eventually it will be worthwhile to build another parking garage somewhere.  As long as new parking garages are lined with ground-floor uses, and are attractive for the first 30 or so vertical feet, that's fine with me, but it shouldn't be our first priority.

Back in the 50's we started thinking that the success of downtown relied on folks from the suburbs being able to drive in and park. That philosophy didn't save downtown, it helped destroy it.  If we had focused on preservation of historic assets 60 years ago, we would have the bones to be an impressive and thriving city today, with far more venues and housing options to attract people downtown. And a vastly more valuable tax base to support the city's needs.
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 05:11:25 pm »

Walkable doesn't mean "no where to park." In some cities, transit has developed such that there basically is no where to park (San Francisco, NYC)...but everywhere else, there is parking. In Tulsa, there is far more footprint downtown devoted to cars than to people.

When was the last time you were downtown and had to park more than 4 blocks away? I was downtown twice this weekend, with multiple events going on and never had to park more than 2 blocks away (even with multiple roads and some lots off limits). The weekend before I was down for Pride, and also parked 2 blocks away. Usually, even when downtown is "packed" there are thousands of empty parking spaces within blocks of the event(s).

Quote
A downtown circulator would be a good first attempt

If only there were some sort of downtown Tulsa circular such that you could park and catch a ride somewhere else downtown. Some sort of loop like thing.  http://thebradyartsdistrict.com/?q=about-loop-downtown-shuttle

Seriously though, there are nearly 28,000 structured parking spaces in downtown Tulsa.   Right now, we have plenty of parking and struggle with walk-ability.  If we added another BOK Center on the other end of downtown and they both hosted Garth Brooks concerts on the same night, we'd still have plenty of parking.

Plus, some new large developments (apartment complexes, condos, hotels, office complexes) include even more parking to add to the inventory.




 
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 06:07:13 pm »


When was the last time you were downtown and had to park more than 4 blocks away?


For me, the answer is never, or at least so long ago that I can't remember.


If only there were some sort of downtown Tulsa circular such that you could park and catch a ride somewhere else downtown. Some sort of loop like thing.  http://thebradyartsdistrict.com/?q=about-loop-downtown-shuttle


I've never ridden the Loop bus, but took the trolley many times.  In my opinion, people don't understand the Loop bus as well as they did the trolley (although the routes are basically the same).  The trolley had three advantages over the Loop bus:

1. Riders could hear the trolley's bell clanging to know approximately where it was;
2. The trolley's windows are transparent, the Loop bus windows are very dark; and
3. The trolley did not charge a fare.  (although 25 cents is not much to pay for a relatively short trip on the Loop bus)

I think the Loop bus would benefit from a simpler route (without as many turns and detours for closed streets).


And most of the structured parking sits empty most of the time.  That's why Jeff Speck suggests new housing developments near under-utilized garages.
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johrasephoenix
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2016, 06:15:25 pm »

There is so much unused parking I taught my wife to drive stick shift downtown.  Acres of unused parking.

But I've become less militant with time about the need to accomodate parking.  In Tulsa most people will drive, and that's OK.  There are smart ways to handle that traffic.  The current system of massive underutilized surface parking lots is the 100% wrong way.  But structured parking and below ground parking (as in downtown Austin) can work fine in the absence of a mass transit system.

I live downtown and had an interesting conversation with a business owner in the Brady District.  He said that they negotiated with the Tulsa Parking Authority to offer $2 all night parking in its garages near the Brady (ones at 1st and Main less than a block from the action).  Even on the busiest nights the garage is almost empty despite being almost practically free.  Tulsans haven't yet crossed the psychological hurdle to park in garages.  It's not something most Tulsans know how to do and they won't do it unless they absolutely have to.

I live in the Brady District and don't pay for parking and just park on the street.  It's never been a problem even during Tulsa Tough + Cain's + BOK + Drillers + Brady Theater at 9pm.  There are huge amounts of umetered parking on the northwest side of downtown on Cheyenne or further west that are almost never used.  Like ever.  In a parking apocalypse situation you can just park north of the interstate in the disgraceful urban renewal wasteland.  

I parked for free on the street in Boston and Chicago for years.  Tulsans are huge weiners when it comes to the fighting-for-your-goddam-parking-spot game.  There it was a game of hunter and hunted with the towing people, parking enforcement, street sweepers, and assholes who think that if you snow shovel out a spot then it is your's in perpetuity.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 06:17:00 pm by johrasephoenix » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2016, 06:31:10 pm »

I parked for free on the street in Boston and Chicago for years.  Tulsans are huge weiners when it comes to the fighting-for-your-goddam-parking-spot game.  There it was a game of hunter and hunted with the towing people, parking enforcement, street sweepers, and assholes who think that if you snow shovel out a spot then it is your's in perpetuity.

One of my cousins lived at Commonwealth and Berkley in Boston in the mid to late 70s. She had a well used Honda Civic which she parked on the street.  She also had a spot in a parking garage just-in-case.
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2016, 01:04:34 pm »



The downtown coordinating council voted to hire Jeff Speck to do a study yesterday:

http://www.newson6.com/story/32117997/urban-planner-hired-to-analyze-downtown-tulsa-growth-potential


An August 19, 2016 update from the Downtown Coordinating Council:

Jeff Speck is returning to Tulsa in September to start a full-scale Walkability Study of Downtown Tulsa. He will spend a week visiting with downtown groups, discussing downtown growth with investors and builders, and walking the streets to get a view of our downtown life.

The Walkability Study will be presented sometime early in the new year, open to the public. More details later this year.

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