Another cool addition coming soon to NW 23 and Hudson from Keith and Heather Paul. Slowly but surely, this blighted one-time section of Route 66 is coming back to life.
Our look back at the ULI panel’s analysis of Core to Shore continues…
Given the profound transportation changes—the relocated I-40, the new Boulevard, and the streetcar project—occurring in and around downtown, it is vital that Oklahoma City use the best technology available in order to be able to make the most informed decisions regarding connectivity and circulation.
Older, regional traffic models that were used for previous analyses, including the I-40 relocation studies, are being replaced by a newer model that is more sensitive to local transportation needs. A new, regional, multimodal model that is under development will provide an excellent basis for fine-tuning a model specific to downtown and its environs and should be used to test transportation and development scenarios.
Expectations for the streetcar project funded by MAPS 3 should be kept in perspective. Travel demand modeling will be especially important for decisions about the streetcar project. Although streetcars elsewhere have created a positive image for neighborhoods, their part in spurring development is less clear. Streetcars tend to be one of many factors that support development.
In light of transit’s limited role in the city now and the less-than-conducive conditions for greater transit use, transit planning is essential. The streetcar’s purpose, routing, and costs deserve careful consideration. The panel is concerned that the community may be moving too aggressively too soon to implement the streetcar.
The panel recommends that a downtown access and circulation master plan be produced using a travel demand model specially tailored to the downtown area. The purpose of the master plan is to coordinate the function, capacity, and design of all transportation facilities and services.
The upcoming alternatives analysis for the streetcar should be coordinated with the downtown access and circulation master plan. The alternative analysis will compare ridership estimates for different routes; other factors that should be considered include how easily riders understand the route and the total cost per rider for each alternative. These factors will provide a better understanding of the best value for the MAPS 3 investment.
I have heard from a lot of people who want to know who to make the switch to CNG and those interested in sharing their own experiences with the alternative fuel. Even David Thompson, publisher of The Oklahoman, tracked me down Wednesday after a company gathering to talk CNG.
Rest assured, I am doing everything I can to ensure all of those questions are answered.
Some of your biggest questions about CNG will be addressed Sunday in The Oklahoman. I’m working to sort out how much it costs to buy a certified conversion kit so a standard gasoline vehicle can be made to run on CNG.
Experts recommend using certified installers for the conversion to minimize safety risks, to you and your vehicle.
Tax credits are available to defray the cost of converting to CNG, but I’m going to need an accountant to help me sort out the extent of the potential savings out there.
On the fuel side, the cost question will be much easier to answer. I bought close to 7 gallons of gasoline equivalent this morning to get my borrowed CNG Tahoe close to full again. It cost me only $9.43.
That’s enough for about two and a half gallons of gasoline, at today’s average price of $3.694 a gallon.
I think that is why so many people are interested in CNG. Just like me.
Retail development will be an important element in creating vibrant new neighborhoods. Currently, there is a relatively limited supply of retail and services to support downtown employees and residents. Expansion of the resident, visitor, and employee base downtown will help to support new retail facilities in key locations that meet retailer needs and requirements.
The Core to Shore Plan calls for aggressive retail development on the blocks south of Myriad Gardens to the new Boulevard. During the interviews, the panel heard desires for a major new shopping destination with a department store anchor—dreams of a Nordstrom or a Neiman Marcus. The panel cautions that destination retail on this scale is not going to happen. Downtown lacks the density of residents, employees, and visitors to support such a major facility. Furthermore, very few department stores are being built today, and the incentive packages required to attract one to a downtown location start at $40 million or more.
Moreover, the blocks south of Myriad Gardens and north of the new Boulevard are not the best location for major retail facilities. Good retail streets have low speeds and retail on both sides of the street. Shopping along the Boulevard should be focused more on restaurants and cafés to serve downtown employees and residents, as well as shops with cards and gifts, office supplies, and sundries.
From the perspective of Oklahoma City’s regional market, more appropriate than a large department store would be smaller lifestyle-type retailers such as restaurants, a bookstore, home furnishings stores, and a few apparel retailers that do not depend on department stores to attract customers. The types of lifestyle retailers that could be attracted to create a concentration of retail space will require both pedestrian activity and auto access and parking. Such retailers would fare better if clustered in Bricktown, both as infill uses and in a center at the eastern end of Bricktown near Bass Pro Shops. This location would offer greater visibility to regional residents from I-235 and to visitors to Bass Pro Shops and Bricktown.
Thank you TNT
Downtown on the Range blogger and urban planning student Nick Roberts has compiled his own “grid” analysis of the MidTown Mercy hospital site proposals. He has a very different take on “experience.”
The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority board met today. Director JoeVan Bullard gave a brief run-down of the committee evaluation of the bids to develop the old Mercy Hospital site in MidTown. He noted the committee concluded none of the proposals were perfect. He went on to say, however, that “two” of the proposals had far more pros than cons.
As noted on this blog, if a grid were done on those pros and cons, it would have quite a few gaps for four of the five proposals.
Bullard advised the board they will need to reserve quite a bit of time to hear the proposals, and asked if they wanted to hear two or three of them. He went on to say that to hear three proposals they would need about three hours.
New chairman Larry Nichols countered the board needed to “do the right thing” and hear all the proposals. Bullard reminded the board the Home Creations proposal did not match up with the request for proposals. Nichols responded that Home Creations should be told as much, and if they want to make modifications and still do a presentation, they are welcome to do so.
The presentations will be heard sometime next month with the exact date and time yet to be determined.
“It was difficult to get people to focus on it because it was seen as such a minor detail in the scheme of things.”
Mayor Mick Cornett on why there was no public discussion or need for a city council vote on his effort to divert $30 million from the $280 million taxpayers voted for the convention center (as told to them by the city on its website) to paying for relocation of an electric substation in Core to Shore.
Cost of the Bricktown ballpark as part of the original MAPS: $34 million
Canal – $23 million
Downtown Library – $21.5 million
The price was right once again as I filled up Tuesday at the OnCue Express near the Capitol. My purchase of more than 6 gallons of CNG totaled only $8.85.
There is no way to complain about that, but I was a little puzzled when I started figuring our my gas mileage.
I didn’t write down the exact mileage number when I got a CNG fueling lesson Monday in Kingfisher, but I know about what it was.
I drove about 85 miles after leaving Kingfisher, meaning the 5.749 gallons of gasoline equivalent I bought at Love’s Country Store (for $8.04) got me about 14.8 miles a gallon.
That’s seemed a little low, given that the folks at Carter Chevrolet and OEM Systems in Okarche who loaned me the 2010 Tahoe I’m driving for the next two weeks told me CNG performs about the same as gasoline.
The Tahoe is supposed to get somewhere between 16 and 21 miles a gallon, so I was a little disappointed to get less than that in my first CNG-fueled outing.
It’s still too early to say how CNG stacks up against gasoline, as I’ve got about 10 days of driving left to do before my test is over.
I’ve heard a lot of questions about the cost of CNG vehicles, which is something I’m researching for a story in The Oklahoman on Sunday.
Please keep reading and sharing your questions on natural gas as a vehicle fuel.