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Author Topic: (PROJECT) Boulder Bridge  (Read 11013 times)
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« on: August 08, 2007, 07:45:51 am »



Source of above image:
http://www.tulsadevelopmentauthority.org/brady_infill_pdf/section_6_sw_quadrant_concept_development_plan.pdf

Tulsa World article about funding:
http://tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=070805_1_A15_spanc46213

The Boulder Bridge is listed as a high priority for the Brady Village as it will be the main tie between Brady Village and the BOK Center as well as the fact it is one of only two northbound railroad overpasses downtown. City planning has listed the bridge for rehabilitation to part vehicle/part pedestrian although the exact method of rehabilitation or replacement is not yet finalized.

Estimated Cost: $14.4M (City estimate)
Location: Boulder, from 1st to Archer
Status: Seeking federal funding


If you have project details or images you want posted to the forum, you can email admin (at) tulsanow.org and we will post it.

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booWorld
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« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2007, 12:12:55 pm »

The Brady Village Infill Plan has many interesting and good ideas.  But I hope that a couple of them are not implemented:
 
1.  Textured pavement on sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian areas
 
The City has gone crazy with concrete unit pavers and brick pavers.  The concrete unit pavers on the sidewalks and crosswalks along Main Street from 3rd to 6th are relatively rough and uneven compared to concrete.  The brick pavers on 5th Street from Denver to Boston are also rough.  In general, the brand new concrete unit pavers being installed on the sidewalks along Boston between 3rd and 7th create worse walking surfaces than the old concrete sidewalks they replaced.  I've noticed uneven and subsided pavers in several locations.  In some instances, the pavers seem to slope down toward the buildings, such as at the southeast corner of 5th and Boston near the Philcade.  This can lead to leaks into the basements below the sidewalks.
 
Tulsa would be better served by concrete sidewalks properly sloped down away from buildings and toward the curbs.  Textured pavement and unit pavers, if used at all, should be installed in places where people don't walk or should be used as warning devices to protect pedestrians.  For example, areas of textured pavement at the sides of crosswalks can warn motorists to slow down when they hear their tires rumbling while allowing smooth and safer pavement in the actual crosswalks.  A small detail strip of unit pavers installed along a curb alerting pedestrians to a change in elevation of the walking surface is another example.  Placing a few unit pavers around the base of a tree makes some sense.  Installing some accent areas of pavers in seating areas is not a bad idea if those areas are actually used for sitting and not walking.  Textured pavement and unit pavers are costly compared to ordinary concrete.  The City could save lots of money with paint on smooth concrete or asphalt.  The textured pavement should be limited to very small areas.
 
 
2.  Acorn type post lights
 
These are too glaringly bright.  An example is shown in Exhibit 18 on page 28 of Section 5.4 in the Brady Village Infill Plan online.  City of Tulsa:  Please, please, please -- I'm begging that no more of these lights be installed!  We need fixtures that direct light toward the ground where it's needed.  
 
In contrast, the trafficway light fixtures shown in Exhibit 19 on page 29 appear to be good fixtures provided the lamps are not too bright.


 
I've clicked through various sections of the Brady Village Plan link, and I want to emphasize that I think the plan's positive aspects far outweigh the two negatives I mentioned above.  And, contrary to Ken Neal's opinion which appeared in last Sunday's World, my complaint that the rough unit pavers are generally inferior in quality to concrete sidewalks doesn't make me a grump.  We are spending many millions of tax dollars on the streets and sidewalks downtown.  We deserve to have them done correctly.  
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« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2007, 01:11:41 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

The Brady Village Infill Plan has many interesting and good ideas.  But I hope that a couple of them are not implemented:
 
1.  Textured pavement on sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian areas
 
The City has gone crazy with concrete unit pavers and brick pavers.  The concrete unit pavers on the sidewalks and crosswalks along Main Street from 3rd to 6th are relatively rough and uneven compared to concrete.  The brick pavers on 5th Street from Denver to Boston are also rough.  In general, the brand new concrete unit pavers being installed on the sidewalks along Boston between 3rd and 7th create worse walking surfaces than the old concrete sidewalks they replaced.  I've noticed uneven and subsided pavers in several locations.  In some instances, the pavers seem to slope down toward the buildings, such as at the southeast corner of 5th and Boston near the Philcade.  This can lead to leaks into the basements below the sidewalks.
 
Tulsa would be better served by concrete sidewalks properly sloped down away from buildings and toward the curbs.  Textured pavement and unit pavers, if used at all, should be installed in places where people don't walk or should be used as warning devices to protect pedestrians.  For example, areas of textured pavement at the sides of crosswalks can warn motorists to slow down when they hear their tires rumbling while allowing smooth and safer pavement in the actual crosswalks.  A small detail strip of unit pavers installed along a curb alerting pedestrians to a change in elevation of the walking surface is another example.  Placing a few unit pavers around the base of a tree makes some sense.  Installing some accent areas of pavers in seating areas is not a bad idea if those areas are actually used for sitting and not walking.  Textured pavement and unit pavers are costly compared to ordinary concrete.  The City could save lots of money with paint on smooth concrete or asphalt.  The textured pavement should be limited to very small areas.
 
 
2.  Acorn type post lights
 
These are too glaringly bright.  An example is shown in Exhibit 18 on page 28 of Section 5.4 in the Brady Village Infill Plan online.  City of Tulsa:  Please, please, please -- I'm begging that no more of these lights be installed!  We need fixtures that direct light toward the ground where it's needed.  
 
In contrast, the trafficway light fixtures shown in Exhibit 19 on page 29 appear to be good fixtures provided the lamps are not too bright.


 
I've clicked through various sections of the Brady Village Plan link, and I want to emphasize that I think the plan's positive aspects far outweigh the two negatives I mentioned above.  And, contrary to Ken Neal's opinion which appeared in last Sunday's World, my complaint that the rough unit pavers are generally inferior in quality to concrete sidewalks doesn't make me a grump.  We are spending many millions of tax dollars on the streets and sidewalks downtown.  We deserve to have them done correctly.  




I agree completely.  Unit pavers never last as long.  Look at 5th street east of Denver.  Look at Brookside.  They are higher maintenance.  Let sidewalks be concrete, score it in a pattern, finish it with a color, whatever, there is no reason for unit pavers.  They are charming when they are real brick, but you don't see many brick sidewalks in dense cities like NY and Chicago.

And the acorn lights would only be charming if they were gas lanterns.  [}:)]

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AVERAGE JOE
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2007, 05:11:12 pm »

I have mixed feelings about this project. At least the bridge as proposed would be only 2 lanes of traffic with a wide pedestrian promenade. So the design looks decent.

But I question the wisdom of having a bridge at that location for the amount of money it will cost and (especially) how long we'll have to wait for the dadgum thing. My personal opinion is that they should simply remove the bridge and return Boulder to an at-grade crossing. Here's why in no particular order:

1) The bridge is a visual barrier. It's always struck me that you can't see the Brady Theater from Boulder at 1st or 2nd Street, even though it's only a couple of blocks away. Next time you're at the Blue Dome at 2nd & Elgin, look north up Elgin and you'll see what I mean. You can see all the way to the IDL overpass at Cameron. Why not open up that line of sight to visually connect the two sides of the tracks?

2) Bridges can be intimidating for pedestrians to cross. I think the Boston Avenue bridge is a fine example. Who wants to cross that at night? You can't see the entire length of your journey, who knows what's up at the peak of the bridge waiting for you, and if there's trouble, there's nowhere to go -- you're stuck on the bridge. I think the new Boulder bridge wouldn't be utilized by pedestrians as much as the planners would like to think. Especially if there's a lot of trees or landscaping to further obstruct the line of sight. Too ominous.

3) If there's a train crossing the tracks and people really need to get across the tracks, there's a little-traveled bridge at Main one block away.

4) Although Tulsa's bridges over the tracks used to have businesses along both sides:

(1st & Main looking north)

And there's nothing preventing that from happening again, having an at-grade crossing might be preferable for development (i.e. flat land).

5) Taking #4 a step further, with an at-grade crossing it would be easy to make Boulder the transit stop for the light rail line that INCOG is talking about putting in between downtown and Broken Arrow. Absolutely PERFECT location, 1.5 blocks from the Brady Theater, 4 blocks from the Cain's, 3 blocks from the new arena, 2 blocks from the Jazz Hall of Fame and 1-2 blocks from the BOK tower for commuters.

In any case, it will be years before they secure the federal funding for a new bridge, and we could create a safe, attractive at-grade crossing for way less than $14.4 million much sooner than that.
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MichaelBates
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2007, 09:12:30 pm »

I thought there was money in the most recent Third Penny for this bridge.
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 10:15:04 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by MichaelBates

I thought there was money in the most recent Third Penny for this bridge.



there is, at the end. They are hoping for leftover money.
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dsjeffries
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2007, 04:50:02 am »

I've been pondering the bridge scenario in downtown for a while now, and I support the removal of them--maybe not all, but at least two.  They are, as AJ has pointed out, visual barriers between vital parts of downtown.

That visual barrier then creates a feeling that once you cross them, you're not really in downtown anymore at all.  It really does feel like you're miles away, because there's no link.

Sometimes as I travel those bridges on foot, I stop for a second at each tiny plaque memorializing the businesses that once stood there as part of Black Wall Street... and I can't help but think that the city of Tulsa built those bridges for that specific reason of creating a physical and visual barrier to that part of town... They did all they could to cover up what happened, and what better way to ensure most of the businesses were never rebuilt than to built steeply graded bridges...  Just something I've thought about a lot lately.

As for another way to completely remove all those bridges--those barriers...  Though it would be costly, I think the railroad lines should be 'dropped' into the ground low enough that cars could pass over them without even knowing they were going over a working railroad.  Many cities bury railroad tracks, and Tulsa could certainly do the same, but I don't think it would be necessary to completely bury them (though it'd be nice).  Just drop them low enough to keep the roads flat, creating a very strong visual and physical link between those two distinct parts of downtown.  It might also open up some of that land that has laid barren for so long between the beginning and apex of the bridges for possible retail/office/residential development...

Just thoughts...
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2007, 01:21:39 pm »

A I understand it, the city cannot do anything to the railroad tracks, all they can do is kindly request for the railroads to do it and give them money. They have been working on getting the new quad gates put in for years now to support a downtown quiet corridor and it's going from from quickly. You also cannot create a grade greater than 1% for the rail lines for risk of making the line impassible. I would support at-grade vehicle crossings and pedestrian overpasses or vehicular underpasses, but I have spent plenty of time stuck on one side of the tracks or the other and think relegating ourselves to grade-only crossings would be a major hinderance. We only have 3 working bridges now as I understand it and 2 are southbound-only.
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AVERAGE JOE
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2007, 07:04:46 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by sgrizzle

A I understand it, the city cannot do anything to the railroad tracks, all they can do is kindly request for the railroads to do it and give them money. They have been working on getting the new quad gates put in for years now to support a downtown quiet corridor and it's going from from quickly. You also cannot create a grade greater than 1% for the rail lines for risk of making the line impassible. I would support at-grade vehicle crossings and pedestrian overpasses or vehicular underpasses, but I have spent plenty of time stuck on one side of the tracks or the other and think relegating ourselves to grade-only crossings would be a major hinderance. We only have 3 working bridges now as I understand it and 2 are southbound-only.


The Main Street bridge is two way.

JMO, but the three bridges plus the Denver Avenue underpass, plus the Boston Avenue pedestrian bridge should serve us well enough. As it stands now, the only at-grade crossings are at Cheyenne and Elgin. I don't think it would hurt us to have one more at Boulder, but that's just me.
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« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2007, 08:14:47 am »

Well, an interesting plan.  I do not know if it is the best plan or not - but it would certainly help things.  An at-grade crossing might also be a possibility, but RR cooperation would be a must.  As pointed out, all you can do is ask.

Connecting the BOk Center with the Brady AND the Blue Dome is KEY.
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« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2007, 07:14:31 pm »

From west to east, we have an at-grade crossing at Guthrie Ave, nothing at Frisco (the bridge was removed to make way for the 1st Street IDL ramp, I think), an at-grade crossing at Elwood, an underpass at Denver, an at-grade crossing at Cheyenne, the closed bridge at Boulder, a two-way bridge at Main, a pedestrian only bridge at Boston, a south-bound bridge at Cincinnati, a north-bound bridge at Detroit, an at-grade crossing at Elgin, an at-grade crossing at Greenwood, a west-bound at-grade crossing at 1st St, an at-grade crossing at 1st Pl, and an at grade crossing at the intersection of 2nd and Lansing.  

I think an at-grade crossing to replace the Boulder Avenue bridge would create a better visual connection.  I vaguely remember seeing some cost estimates, and I think the expense of a street and crossing at grade wasn't much less than rebuilding the bridge.  Anyone know?  Also, would it be feasible to use the existing bridge supports, perhaps add some more and/or bolster them, then build a new bridge on them?
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« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2007, 09:46:45 am »

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

From west to east, we have an at-grade crossing at Guthrie Ave, nothing at Frisco (the bridge was removed to make way for the 1st Street IDL ramp, I think), an at-grade crossing at Elwood, an underpass at Denver, an at-grade crossing at Cheyenne, the closed bridge at Boulder, a two-way bridge at Main, a pedestrian only bridge at Boston, a south-bound bridge at Cincinnati, a north-bound bridge at Detroit, an at-grade crossing at Elgin, an at-grade crossing at Greenwood, a west-bound at-grade crossing at 1st St, an at-grade crossing at 1st Pl, and an at grade crossing at the intersection of 2nd and Lansing.  

I think an at-grade crossing to replace the Boulder Avenue bridge would create a better visual connection.  I vaguely remember seeing some cost estimates, and I think the expense of a street and crossing at grade wasn't much less than rebuilding the bridge.  Anyone know?  Also, would it be feasible to use the existing bridge supports, perhaps add some more and/or bolster them, then build a new bridge on them?



I agree with those who are skeptical of spending the money to replace this bridge.  It has been closed for 10+ years with no discernible impact on traffic.  Replacing it with a grade crossing would create a much nicer connection between downtown and the Brady District.  I believe there was a comment in the original article about it being the only northbound bridge... but aren't they planning to convert all the streets to two-way streets anyway?  That's what they were saying several years ago...
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booWorld
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« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2007, 12:47:01 pm »

The City is planning to convert the streets downtown to two-way traffic except for 7th & 8th; Cincinnati & Detroit; and possibly 1st & 2nd.  I'm not sure about 1st & 2nd since 2nd has been removed between Frisco and Denver.
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« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2007, 01:29:48 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by Oil Capital

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

From west to east, we have an at-grade crossing at Guthrie Ave, nothing at Frisco (the bridge was removed to make way for the 1st Street IDL ramp, I think), an at-grade crossing at Elwood, an underpass at Denver, an at-grade crossing at Cheyenne, the closed bridge at Boulder, a two-way bridge at Main, a pedestrian only bridge at Boston, a south-bound bridge at Cincinnati, a north-bound bridge at Detroit, an at-grade crossing at Elgin, an at-grade crossing at Greenwood, a west-bound at-grade crossing at 1st St, an at-grade crossing at 1st Pl, and an at grade crossing at the intersection of 2nd and Lansing.  

I think an at-grade crossing to replace the Boulder Avenue bridge would create a better visual connection.  I vaguely remember seeing some cost estimates, and I think the expense of a street and crossing at grade wasn't much less than rebuilding the bridge.  Anyone know?  Also, would it be feasible to use the existing bridge supports, perhaps add some more and/or bolster them, then build a new bridge on them?



I agree with those who are skeptical of spending the money to replace this bridge.  It has been closed for 10+ years with no discernible impact on traffic.  Replacing it with a grade crossing would create a much nicer connection between downtown and the Brady District.  I believe there was a comment in the original article about it being the only northbound bridge... but aren't they planning to convert all the streets to two-way streets anyway?  That's what they were saying several years ago...



It hasn't been 10+ years. I used to park on that bridge up until the day it closed.
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« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2007, 04:17:22 pm »

quote:
Originally posted by sgrizzle

quote:
Originally posted by Oil Capital

quote:
Originally posted by booWorld

From west to east, we have an at-grade crossing at Guthrie Ave, nothing at Frisco (the bridge was removed to make way for the 1st Street IDL ramp, I think), an at-grade crossing at Elwood, an underpass at Denver, an at-grade crossing at Cheyenne, the closed bridge at Boulder, a two-way bridge at Main, a pedestrian only bridge at Boston, a south-bound bridge at Cincinnati, a north-bound bridge at Detroit, an at-grade crossing at Elgin, an at-grade crossing at Greenwood, a west-bound at-grade crossing at 1st St, an at-grade crossing at 1st Pl, and an at grade crossing at the intersection of 2nd and Lansing.  

I think an at-grade crossing to replace the Boulder Avenue bridge would create a better visual connection.  I vaguely remember seeing some cost estimates, and I think the expense of a street and crossing at grade wasn't much less than rebuilding the bridge.  Anyone know?  Also, would it be feasible to use the existing bridge supports, perhaps add some more and/or bolster them, then build a new bridge on them?



I agree with those who are skeptical of spending the money to replace this bridge.  It has been closed for 10+ years with no discernible impact on traffic.  Replacing it with a grade crossing would create a much nicer connection between downtown and the Brady District.  I believe there was a comment in the original article about it being the only northbound bridge... but aren't they planning to convert all the streets to two-way streets anyway?  That's what they were saying several years ago...



It hasn't been 10+ years. I used to park on that bridge up until the day it closed.



And what day was that?  ;-)   So, it has been almost 10 years, not 10+ years.  (Apparently it was closed some time in 1998) The point remains.  Its absence has caused no discernible traffic problems.
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