Roads, railroads and sidewalks lead chat discussion
The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers during Friday's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Here is an edited transcript:
What do you think about Amtrak's announcement that they will add service to Wichita and points beyond this year? Do you think it will actually happen? Also, will this get the state to push faster/harder to get connecting service to and from Tulsa to take advantage of this connection?
Texas wants it. Kansas wants it. So it's pretty much up to Oklahoma, which has benefited from it the most making the Heartland Flyer a success story in the Amtrak system.
Texas wants a second train added to the schedule to double frequency. This is all good, and linking to Kansas will really open up Oklahoma to a lot more major destinations.
Air travel is getting increasingly hostile to those without the means to buy first class tickets. Rail transit remains popular and could really increase in Oklahoma if the Amtrak request to maintain funding is approved.
How much are we going to regret the "ODOT Bridge" at Western/Classen on the Boulevard? How many years till the City decides to remove it?
I don't think we will regret nearly as much as we might have regretted the original design that called for building an elevated highway bypass from Western to Walker Avenues.
We published an aerial photo yesterday (Thursday) showing the bridge, the boulevard and the development along the corridor. I think the bridge might serve as a gateway to that area of downtown if the city takes advantage of the opportunity to do signage, art and landscaping around it (attention, attention Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership folks).
The new design also fixes a longtime traffic tie up that was dangerous to all with the odd narrowing of Western and the dead-ending of Classen.
Do you think it would be feasible to re-install a dual street car line into the median we currently have on Classen? Any idea if the old lines are just buried?
I've wondered about that myself. As for the old tracks, we saw how they were still under Broadway. So they might be there along Classen. But they wouldn't be salvageable today.
Went down to the Plaza District last night because I had not been over there in about a year, and it was bustling. I didn't stay to eat, however, because I got tired of driving around looking for parking. I was going to get some pie at Pie Junkie to take home, but didn't feel like parking 5 blocks away to get 2 pieces of pie. I think this area has to figure out the parking situation to stay relevant.
To quote Yogi Berra, "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."
This is the moment where I, Steve Lackmeyer, known critic of Uber and Lyft, admits that they might be good, cheap alternatives for visiting the Plaza District.
So, protected bike lanes and street lighting have to be included in some way in MAPS 4 right?
The election of JoBeth Hamon and James Cooper makes it more likely.
I'm 73 and don't walk long distances anymore. Where would I park to enjoy downtown OKC in the daytime? What would be my options to enjoy in the daytime?
OK. Here's my suggestion. Park at Century Center garage at Sheridan and Robinson. You can get a day pass for the streetcar pretty cheap and it takes you all over downtown with stops by the Myriad Gardens, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the American Banjo Museum, Jim Thorpe Museum in Bricktown, the Bricktown Canal and lots of restaurants and shops. The streetcar is ideal for you and allows for spontaneous stops.