Improve Our Tulsa: Making a Difference

From Tulsa’s Mayor by G.T. Bynum

From Tulsa’s Mayor
By G.T. Bynum

At the beginning of the year, we announced the findings of a partnership between the city of Tulsa and Gallup. The purpose of this partnership is for us to have a thorough understanding of the lives Tulsans lead – where we are thriving and struggling, what our hopes and concerns might be. We call it the Gallup-Tulsa CitiVoice Index, and it is the most thorough analysis of its kind in the United States.
When asked what the top area for improvement in Tulsa should be, ahead of perennial candidates like public safety or even education, Tulsans said our roads rank as their top priority for improvement.
Over the last decade, the City of Tulsa has been in the midst of an unprecedented road construction program. Anyone who has driven around town can testify to this. In 2008, voters approved the Fix Our Streets program which did more work on streets in five years than had been done in the previous quarter century combined.
In 2013 we called our capital improvements program, Improve Our Tulsa, and Tulsa voters approved $918.7 million for projects through a combination of sales tax and property tax. Funds from that package became available in 2014, and we have been working diligently to complete those projects.
Here are some of our Improve Our Tulsa successes:
We have completed 22 neighborhood street rehabilitation projects and 11 arterial street rehabilitation projects, with 13 projects currently under construction. The rest of the projects are in various stages of design.
The largest Improve Our Tulsa street project that we have completed so far is Riverside Drive between 24th Street and 33rd Place, which opened to traffic immediately following the opening weekend at Gathering Place in September 2018. We also have completed nearby rehabilitation projects on East 31st Street between Riverside Drive and Peoria Avenue, and on Riverside between Joe Creek and 81st Street.
Other completed projects include North Mingo Road, East 36th Street to East 46th Street; the North Mingo Road and East 46th Street intersection; East 51st Street, South Sheridan Road to South Memorial Drive; the East 61st Street and South Sheridan Road intersection, and South Sheridan Road, East 81st Street to East 91st Street.
Some non-street projects completed include the new Lost Kingdom exhibit at Tulsa Zoo, new playgrounds at Lacy Park and Hunter Park and the new McClure Park pool.
In 2019, we will have an opportunity in November to vote on Improve Our Tulsa II, $597 million of capital improvements to be funded again through an extension of our existing sales and property taxes. But before that, the City Council and I will have town hall meetings in April and May to hear from you about what projects you think should be included. I hope to see you there.

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