Monday, February 14, 2011

My streetcar proposal

I just wanted to once again draw people's attention to what I'd propose for a starter streetcar system:

How would I expand this and turn this into a city-wide system, you ask?

(The wide lines represent double tracks, although also keep in mind several single tracks are spaced just a block apart, effectively forming a double track/transit mall.)

Like this. Mostly, something divided into a northside system with 23rd Street as the main drag, and a southside system with Robinson Ave as the main feeder, and all of it coming together downtown. It would be a system with 3 separate hubs, a main hub downtown for the downtown-area streetcar lines and for cross-town transfers, and a north and south side hub to separately run those systems as efficiently as possible.

That is how I'd turn OKC into a big streetcar city once again. The lines look funny. The system is pretty big and overbearing. But it is quite simple when you break it down into southside and northside, with downtown being the point of emphasis between the two.

The starter system alignments matter. The future expansion alignments don't matter that much. As long as certain districts get served, it is not worth debating as much as the starter lines. The reason for the difference is that how a Phase 2 or 3 district gets served doesn't effect how other districts get served in the same way that how Mid-town is served will have MAJOR effects for how Plaza and Paseo get served, and so on.

I also want to say one thing intended directly for the subcommittee: You can't focus too much on development potential, because all of OKC has that, even North Broadway. Don't let someone tell you that Broadway is difficult to develop or already mostly developed, because that's insanity, and you're not a development task force, you're an infrastructure task force. You guys are experts on infrastructure and have studied streetcar systems, not development, and I assure you there are experts on OKC development in their own right, and they all have differing opinions of their own. You guys need to worry about initial ridership numbers and making sure that the starter system is successful. That means it needs to go somewhere and appeal to existing districts. You guys need to focus on the Bricktown, Mid-town, Arts District, CBD, Deep Deuce, Automobile Alley, and other districts. You need to connect those districts to be successful, and that involves actually touching them, not throwing bones. Be pragmatic about where people go downtown right NOW, not where they could go 20 years from now, which unfortunately won't come soon enough for the starter system.


Mark said...

I like what you're saying, but a system that by 2040 only goes north to 23rd and south to 44th is not a city-wide system. It wouldn't even be a city-wide system today. Where are the runs to NE 23rd and Sooner, SW 134th and Western, NW 63rd and Penn, etc.?

NR said...

Wait... is your computer screen working? I'm confused by what you mean when you say it only goes north to 23rd.

NR said...

And by the way, SW134th and Western will never have streetcar service, and probably shouldn't have public transit service of any kind, because it is too far out. In a previous post I defined an A+ bus service area that the city should focus on, in order to pragmatically reform bus service for those who should have a reasonable expectation of it.

That bus service area was between I-240 and Lake Hefner essentially. A good streetcar service area would be even closer in, perhaps from 44th up to 63rd Street. Also keep in mind, I think you're looking at growth as continually moving out. I'm looking at growth from a different perspective, where areas build up density because of the infrastructure that is in place and, presumably, maintained (most importantly).

We haven't maintained anything longer than 40 years for almost a century that a lot of people forget that there's another way for a city to grow.

mcca7596 said...

I understand that hubs probably work best when being in the center of lines that radiate out (i.e. hub & spoke). However, would placing the northern hub at NW 63rd and the Southern hub at SE 44th not draw in people from farther out, creating a "park and ride" type of area that appeals to even more people? Or would that be unsuccessful, being at the end of the line?