GO Plan Looks to Increase Transportation Options
By EMILY RAMSEY
MULTI-MODAL CHOICES: From left, Tulsa City Councilor Blake Ewing, INCOG Principal Transportation Planner James Wagner and Tulsa Transit Vice-Chair Marquay Baul stand in front of a Bus Rapid Transit bus in order to show the type of bus that would operate along Peoria Avenue and 11th Street if the transportation portion of the Vision Tulsa sales tax renewal package passes on April 5.
ROSSY GILLE for GTR Newspapers
It is no secret that Tulsa has a robust cycling community. The consistent growth of Tulsa Tough alone has proven that.
However, Tulsa’s group of what is termed “confident cyclists,” who are willing to cycle on main roads, makes up not even 10 percent of the local community, says James Wagner, principal transportation planner for INCOG (Indian Nations Council of Governments).
“Research shows that two thirds of community members are interested in but concerned about the idea (of traveling on bicycles on main roads), which tells us that our infrastructure keeps them from feeling that they can ride safely on streets.”
So, Tulsa’s potential to increase its number of cyclists is there.
“It’s not that they don’t have a bike or that they don’t want to use their bike. We feel this is an untapped market,” Wagner continues.
Thus, the GO Plan, a bicycle and pedestrian regional master plan, was created. Participating in the plan’s creation were representatives from Tulsa and 10 surrounding cities, including Jenks, Bixby, Owasso, Broken Arrow, Coweta, Sand Springs, and Glenpool.
The plan took just under two years to complete; it was finalized in December 2015.
The focus of the GO Plan revolves largely around creating bike-safe lanes on main roads that help cyclists to connect to the area’s existing regional trail network, which runs throughout Tulsa and beyond to surrounding cities, and on additional main roads that allow individuals to turn their cycling into a daily function, for example commuting to and from work or school, Wagner says.
Now that the plan is completed, the next step is adoption by each of the 11 cities.
In the meantime, a portion of the GO Plan is expected to soon show up around downtown Tulsa in the form of Bike Share.
Phase one of Bike Share is expected to come into effect in 2017, says Jennifer Haddaway, transportation resource center coordinator with INCOG. This will involve installing 12 bicycle stations, for a total of 108 bikes, throughout downtown, within the .
“The idea for the Bike Share program is that it be used for short trips of about 30 minutes,” she continues. Haddaway gives the examples of an out-of-town visitor using a bike to get around downtown or a business person needing to quickly travel from south downtown to the Brady Arts District.
Various usage options will be available including a yearly membership and a 24-hour access pass.
Funding for Bike Share is being provided partly by a three-year (Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality) grant, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the City of Tulsa.
Currently, the program is still in need of private funding assistance.
Phase two of the program would launch three years after the creation of phase one and would add 12 additional bicycle stations to areas outside of the , such as Brookside, Cherry Street, the Gathering Place and Kendall-Whittier.
An additional portion of the GO Plan coming soon will be to address two different options for bike lanes, either on 3rd Street from the Kendall-Whittier neighborhood leading into downtown or a bike track in downtown Tulsa, connecting Boulder Avenue, Elgin Avenue and 11th Street.
The GO Plan will receive $3.125 million in funding if the economic development portion of the Vision Tulsa sales tax renewal package passes on April 5.
Those funds would go toward creating bicycle corridors that would connect with the bus lines that would be created along Peoria Avenue and 11th Street if the transportation proposition of the Vision package passes.