From the parking study completed over the summer? We’ll find out tomorrow.
The Central Transportation and Parking Authority (MetroTransit) has been hit with a wave of complaitns regarding its downtown trolley service – one of the nine original Metropolitan Area Projects.
Tourists say the service is unreliable. Downtown residents say the routes are designed to discourage their use by locals. Office workers say the rides are too far apart to be used at lunch time.
So you’d think COTPA would be trying to upgrade its performance, right?
So, here’s their latest accomplishment: they covered up their route maps in Bricktown with a decal encouraging folks to call 235-ride for information about the orange line – a route designed to serve not downtown or Bricktown, but rather the I-40/Meridian hotel corridor.
This notice also assumes every visitor has a cell phone handy or knows where to find a pay phone.
As noted here yesterday, I spent Wednesday in downtown Tulsa.
- The convention center is badly outdated and wireless Internet is non-existant. I suspect it’s easier to get a wireless signal in the mountains along the Afganistan-Pakistan border (it must be from all the posting those folks do online!)
- Getting around downtown Tulsa is a lot easier with the new wayfinding signage, designed, I believe, by the same folks who worked on downtown OKC’s signs. For some reason, I like Tulsa’s better. What do you think?
I also noted that property owners in downtown Tulsa seem to do more to let people know at street level what buildings they are passing – even if it involves a simple banner as shown below:
I’m still stunned by BOK Center. The area around it, however, is desolate.
Tulsa’s downtown garages also seem to have more character than most of what’s found in OKC:
Had a tough day yesterday – I drove through 90 minutes of torential rain to Tulsa to cover the National Trust for Historic Preservation, caught up with a few downtown sources there, wrote and filed my story on old Phillips 66 stations, and then began my trek back to OKC. Driving back, the company car’s tire blew out, and not having faith that a bicycle tire could make the remaining 50 mile drive, I had to wait until almost 9 p.m. for a wrecker.
Now I’m at Coffee Slingers at NW 10 and Broadway, where Melody is currently slinging brew with a smile for about a dozen people (several people walked in right after this photo was taken).
SpectrumOpening reception, Thursday, October 23, 5-7 pm Invited Artist Gallery, Oklahoma City Underground
Downtown OKC – The award winning Downtown Oklahoma City Underground is preparing to become an even more colorful place. The Invited Artist Gallery in The Underground opens a new exhibit “Spectrum”; an exhibit that defines the colors of the rainbow. The show opens with a public reception on Thursday, October 23 from 5 – 7 pm and runs through January 5, 2009.
“Spectrum” features surprising art by 18 artists. Each artist created works that focus on a certain color– red, purple, indigo, blue, green, yellow and orange. Visitors to the gallery will see the colors organized in order of the color spectrum down the 80’ hall. Artwork includes paintings, photographs, collages, and more. The show is sponsored by Devon Energy.
Already an aesthetic experience, The Underground is the renovated Conncourse. Architects from Elliott + Associates transformed the space with ambient lighting, clear directional signage, and, now, artwork exhibitions. The project has garnered numerous international design awards. The Invited Artists Gallery sits underneath the intersection of Robinson and Robert S. Kerr with entrances from all adjacent buildings. The show and opening reception are free and open to the public.
For more information on The Underground or Downtown OKC, Inc, please visit downtownokc.com or call 405-235-3500
About 3,000 people are attending the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference. I’m noticing some nice changes downtown – I’ll share details with you later.
Regardless of whether anyone’s feelings got hurt when I published a reader’s photo of the restroom at the Miller Jackson Building in Bricktown, it’s interesting to note that a clean-up followed soon after.
Bert Belanger is continuing his clean-up at NW 13 and Broadway. First, the dilapidated former sex offender housing was razed, now the boarded-up nursing home (neither have been mourned by downtowners).
So what’s next?
Folks might want to avoid Broadway and Main for a while – if you’ve not heard what’s going on, you can read about the deadly accident at the Century Center garage here.
A work in progress – June 2007 photo – Jeff Struble and his “crumbling wall”
Today I’m featuring a guest post by the new director of the Plaza District Main Street Program:
The Crumbling Wall…It’s Just a Façade.
Three years ago, Jeff Struble purchased a series of buildings on NW 16th street in the historic Plaza District. Despite the once vibrant commercial district’s decline and high vacancy, Struble envisioned the potential of these 1924 buildings. Struble, joining the efforts of the Plaza District Association, began to rebuild, renovate and revitalize the buildings and area. Faced with moving truck loads of junk and debris from the site, Struble Construction began the monstrous renovations.
The brick façade was painted and deteriorating. Struble removed and recycled existing brick by simply turning the brick around to expose the unpainted side, practically rebuilding a failing façade. For a touch of whimsy, a cast stone detail with both the year of the building construction and the year of its rebirth was added. Windows and doors have been replaced and updated with commercial quality. The southern portion of the building appeared to be a two-story structure but was instead “al fresco” with no roof or floor and remnants of tile where a bathroom once belonged on the 2nd story. The owners have since installed a roof and flooring among other additions. Various businesses have embraced the now nearly full district, and moved into the “Struble Studios”.
Interestingly, in today’s economy we have faced a crumbling wall. Market fiascos, the energy crisis, and floundering business has overtime deteriorated our nation’s strong façade. Like in Struble’s building, change can overcome this deterioration with vision and creativity. Our nation needs to turn our bricks to the unpainted side, use our available resources, our creativity, careful investing, and patience to achieve that strong façade. Struble’s vision has marked change in the entire district, where one can physically see this change for the better as well feel the anticipated energy for the future. A crumbling wall is possible to overcome, take a drive near the 1700 block of NW 16th, and see for yourself.
Plaza District Association