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November 23, 2017, 02:40:11 pm
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Author Topic: Tulsa light rail/trolley/streetcar discussion  (Read 6575 times)
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« Reply #45 on: July 30, 2016, 02:47:46 pm »

OKC has set up their routes to connect "Midtown" with Bricktown through the business district, Auto Alley (Broadway) and also connects to the convention center and Cheasapeake Arena.  It basically hits all of the downtown entertainment districts and the office core for locals and connects the convention center/hotels to those areas for visitors.  It's pretty well laid out IMO.  


The question should be how do we do something similar in Tulsa that can be expanded in the future.  How do you connect the hotels and convention center for visitors to Blue Dome and Brady?  How do you connect downtown neighborhoods?
« Last Edit: July 30, 2016, 02:49:29 pm by SXSW » Logged

 
Bamboo World
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« Reply #46 on: July 30, 2016, 03:53:55 pm »



I like the idea of a Boulder streetcar since it is one of the few seamless corridors through downtown that is also centrally located.  But Boulder is just not a very interesting street.  And maybe that is fine but the successful streetcars I've seen run down streets with retail, restaurants, etc.  Maybe this is the catalyst Boulder needs but it will be a long and arduous process.  Who would be your target audience for this route and why are they going north to south or south to north?

Would you have small loops at either end with a Boulder route.  For example at the south end east on 18th to Boston, north on Boston and back west on 17th?  And on the north end east on Archer to Boston (or all the way to Elgin) and west on Brady?
 

The Boulder route idea isn't mine.  I think it was Jack Crowley's.  I think the idea was to intersect with light rail at the BNSF tracks, and then serve as a catalyst for development of the vacant UCAT land near the north end, large tracts of vacant land at the south end, and some other vacant land within a 3 or 4 block walk from Boulder.

In the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP), several little loops were shown at both ends, as potential variations.

 
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« Reply #47 on: July 30, 2016, 08:39:44 pm »

We are missing something here.  I think it may be attitude related more than infrastructure.  I spend a lot of time in Milwaukee over about three years a while ago and one thing that really stood out was that they really didn't appear to have an exceptional public transit system - there were plenty of buses, but didn't seem to be 'overdone'. 

Another thing that really stood out was the EVERYBODY walked around downtown to get where they wanted to go - from banks, theater, hotel, work, mall - everywhere.  They came into town and parked, but once there, never moved until day's end.  And there were a lot of bicycles, too.  This was an all season phenomenon. 

Somehow they have developed the culture of walking around in the central business district.  It is just the way it is...not even an expectation but and assurance that if you wanna go somewhere you walk there.   And it is mega-pain in the backside cold in winter... when the wind is whipping around the buildings, it is worse - colder and stronger wind - than Tulsa.  Worse than Chicago....!!

Don't know if this something that could be studied, but an investigation there would probably be much more valuable than any of the DC junkets.  Might even get some good information and insight.  Portland, too.






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« Reply #48 on: July 31, 2016, 07:52:50 am »

Does anyone know what kind of ridership the downtown circulator bus is getting?

Bump. Anyone know where we could see this data. My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over the the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it. I hope those changes were to attract more night life riders at the expense of children/families. And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.

Additionally, any streetcar/trolley/rubber tire trolley project will start by looking at the Loop's numbers, so having them in this discussion would be fruitful.
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Bamboo World
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« Reply #49 on: July 31, 2016, 10:11:59 pm »



OKC has set up their routes to connect "Midtown" with Bricktown through the business district, Auto Alley (Broadway) and also connects to the convention center and Cheasapeake Arena.  It basically hits all of the downtown entertainment districts and the office core for locals and connects the convention center/hotels to those areas for visitors.  It's pretty well laid out IMO.  


The question should be how do we do something similar in Tulsa that can be expanded in the future.  How do you connect the hotels and convention center for visitors to Blue Dome and Brady?  How do you connect downtown neighborhoods?


I'm much more familiar with KC than OKC, but I did look at the OKC Streetcar map you posted, the OKC Streetcar website, the MAPS 3 website, Google Earth, and Wikipedia (for projected headways).

Again, like in KC or in Little Rock, I think I could walk from the most remote points on the line and get from one end to the other almost as fast as I could riding a streetcar.  According to Wikipedia, OKC Streetcar's projected headways are 8 to 12 minutes.

Using Google Earth and the comparable speed of the streetcars in KC, I estimate the following times from the OKC ballpark to James E. McNellie's:

Walking = about 38 minutes
via OKC Streetcar = about 25 to 37 minutes, depending on the wait time for a streetcar


I estimate the following times from the OKC ballpark to 4th & Broadway:

Walking = about 18 minutes
via OKC Streetcar = about 15 to 27 minutes, depending on the wait time for a streetcar


I think the bigger questions are: What are the chief purposes of building a streetcar system serving such a small area?  Why does Tulsa want/need a downtown streetcar?

I'm not questioning how it could be done in Tulsa.  There are a number of possible routes to connect hotels/the convention center/office core/entertainment venues.  But at $25 million per mile, the expense doesn't seem worth it to me, because it doesn't take very long to walk to locations in downtown Tulsa.  Also, most of the hotels have shuttles to take guests where they want/need to go.
 
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Bamboo World
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« Reply #50 on: August 01, 2016, 05:11:15 pm »


My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over to the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it.


I haven't ridden the Loop bus, either.  I rode the trolley many times.

I saw the Loop bus go by at least three times last Saturday, but I couldn't tell if anyone was riding it -- its windows are too dark.


And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.


I've heard that the Loop bus ridership numbers are lower than the trolley numbers were -- much, much lower.

The trolley was better than the Loop bus.


Using Google Earth, I've estimated the travel time from 6th & Boston to Cameron & Boulder:
Walking:  about 16 minutes
via Loop bus:  about 16 to 46 minutes, depending on the time spent waiting on the bus

Travel time from 6th & Boston to 5th & Cheyenne:
Walking:  about 6 minutes
via Loop bus:  about 26 to 56 minutes, depending on the time spent waiting on the bus
« Last Edit: August 01, 2016, 05:54:16 pm by Bamboo World » Logged
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« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2016, 02:25:38 pm »

The Boulder route idea isn't mine.  I think it was Jack Crowley's.  I think the idea was to intersect with light rail at the BNSF tracks, and then serve as a catalyst for development of the vacant UCAT land near the north end, large tracts of vacant land at the south end, and some other vacant land within a 3 or 4 block walk from Boulder.

In the Downtown Area Master Plan (DAMP), several little loops were shown at both ends, as potential variations.

 

Outside of the the downtown master plan is there any more info on the Boulder streetcar route?  I wonder if they would do a couplet along Main south of 3rd, one running northbound and the other going southbound with small loops at both ends.

I travel to Denver quite a bit and have made some observations on their light rail system.  There are two light rail lines that utilize the freight rail ROW on the west side of downtown and terminate two blocks from Union Station, which has the main downtown bus terminal underground between the rail stop and the historic station with new high rise development above it.  Once you walk two blocks over the commuter rail lines to the airport and northern suburbs come into the station there, along with Amtrak. 

There are also several light rail lines that enter downtown Denver further east with these lines running in a couplet in their own lanes on downtown streets.  These lines go through the convention center and also stop at the downtown public college campus.  There are stops every few blocks along this stretch.

It got me thinking if Tulsa did implement light rail what if it ran down 3rd/4th streets in a couplet instead of along eve freight between 1st and Archer?  That way you solve the problem of connecting the west part of downtown (OSU Med Center/BOK Center/convention center) with the east side where the bulk of new restaurant/bar/housing development is occurring.  Then the streetcar could intersect both east and westbound lines at Boulder/Main.
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Bamboo World
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« Reply #52 on: August 13, 2016, 01:36:34 pm »


Outside of the the downtown master plan is there any more info on the Boulder streetcar route?  I wonder if they would do a couplet along Main south of 3rd, one running northbound and the other going southbound with small loops at both ends.


I'm not aware of info on the proposed Boulder trolley, outside the Downtown Area Master Plan.

I think the Boulder route was chosen because it is simple, it goes near vacant land with great potential for development, and it intersects the BNSF tracks.

The problem with loops, if they get too complex, is that people don't readily know where to catch a streetcar, even if its only a block away.  With north-bound and south-bound tracks on the same street, it's much easier.

A number of routes have been proposed over the years.  I remember a "people mover" system idea from the late 1980s which showed a potential fixed guideway (monorail??) that jogged from Boulder to Main over the main security desk between Williams Tower I and Williams Tower II, above the entrance to the underground garage below Samson Plaza, approximately here.

That would have been a dramatic transition, especially for the south-bound passengers.  The other "people mover" guideway was shown on 4th Street.


[Denver's light rail system] got me thinking if Tulsa did implement light rail what if it ran down 3rd/4th streets in a couplet instead of ... between 1st and Archer?  That way you solve the problem of connecting the west part of downtown (OSU Med Center/BOK Center/convention center) with the east side where the bulk of new restaurant/bar/housing development is occurring.  Then the streetcar could intersect both east and westbound lines at Boulder/Main.


There was a fixed guideway study done for ODOT around 1989 or 1990 which explores several light rail loops through downtown Tulsa, as I recall.  I've looked around for it online, but can't find it.  I think I might have a copy in my files -- somewhere.  Anyway, the light rail line ran mostly on the Katy tracks from downtown BA to downtown Tulsa, but the study showed some loop alternatives running on downtown streets, too.

An issue with all of these various fixed rail ideas is the price of gasoline, which is relatively low.  Except for construction or wrecks, Tulsa's roads and highways are easy to access and very fast, so most people choose to drive or ride exactly where they want to go, without having to coordinate multiple modes of transportation.
 
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 01:38:15 pm by Bamboo World » Logged
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« Reply #53 on: August 18, 2016, 08:31:48 am »

Someone brought up streetcars on the 1918 aerial photo thread.  I had an interesting discussion with Roy Heim the other night.  He’s very involved in the Route 66 train park and said they do have the trolley cars that were sighted in Sand Springs as well as the ones which were being used as housing at one point near 11th & Mingo.  There is a restoration project underway you can follow here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/326991704008251/

http://www.tulsagal.net/2012/02/tulsa-trolley-restoration-project.html
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« Reply #54 on: October 07, 2016, 05:13:23 pm »



Does anyone know what kind of ridership the downtown circulator bus is getting?


According to an October 7, 2016 Tulsa World article by Corey Jones, about 150 to 300 riders per weekend.  There's capacity to carry 400 to 800 riders per weekend.
 
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« Reply #55 on: October 07, 2016, 05:23:44 pm »



My family used to ride the downtown trolley before it switched over the the "Loop." But the Loop is louder and the windows tinted to make it hard to see out. So it is not as fun for children to ride, and we have not used it. I hope those changes were to attract more night life riders at the expense of children/families. And it would be nice to see if ridership numbers look good.

Additionally, any streetcar/trolley/rubber tire trolley project will start by looking at the Loop's numbers, so having them in this discussion would be fruitful.


See the October 7, 2016 Tulsa World article by Corey Jones:
Quote

The [Loop] bus can hold more than 40 riders. In the past, [the Brady Arts District Business Association's president Bob] Fleischman said, it would carry about 150 to 300 riders per weekend. There's the capacity to do 200 to 400 a night, which Fleischman hopes to come closer to reaching with the improvements.


In my opinion, the windows and the lime green exterior still are too dark.  Even with the lighter color scheme, the bus looks creepy to me.
   
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« Reply #56 on: October 07, 2016, 07:58:36 pm »

Its not so much creepy as it is boring. Inside it has the requisite lighting with flashing LED's, leather look U shape seats, and the whole party bus look. Outside it looks like a transit bus with advertising on the side. I expect its about as good as a metro bus line can do with their limitations. To me it just needed to be designed from ground up as an identifiable, unique vehicle. And then duplicated with two other clones running the route.
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onward...through the fog
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« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2016, 10:50:52 pm »

I rode it two weeks ago. Nobody on it but our group. Bring back the trolley.
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« Reply #58 on: October 09, 2016, 07:53:30 am »

Its not that the trolley is a superior design. Its not. Its uniquely identifiable on the roads. That made it visible and timely. I never actually rode it but I talked to the owner and she brings what a metro bus line cannot. Entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service.
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onward...through the fog
davideinstein
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« Reply #59 on: October 09, 2016, 10:40:53 am »

Its not that the trolley is a superior design. Its not. Its uniquely identifiable on the roads. That made it visible and timely. I never actually rode it but I talked to the owner and she brings what a metro bus line cannot. Entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to service.


It's open looking which makes it feel safer. Perception is everything at night. Nothing creepier than a city bus with tinted windows and a strip club vibe inside.
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