I’m often witness to two very different crowds who are attempting to guide Oklahoma City’s future. They both have a grasp on the idea that downtown is important for retaining and attracting younger, creative contributors to our community. They get the idea that the emerging mix of housing, restaurants and retail is also important.
The divide occurs a bit with the emphasis on bike racks and bike-share programs, and then becomes a schism when the topic of the streetcar system is raised. I will add that there are a couple of people out there who are critical contributors to the development of downtown who are opposed to the streetcars. They see it as a system that will lose money, and when I’ve spoken to them, what I hear is a view that is solely focused on the most cost efficient means of public transit.
I’ve always understood, at some level, that there were other issues involved in this discussion – the hopes, dreams and desires of younger generations, even to some extent the expectations of those who might want to return to Oklahoma City and yet something was holding them back from doing so.
Then this article from Salon appeared. And it captured so well the “other side” of this story I had struggled to define.
Consider just this one quote:
“I was sitting in this plaza where there were lots of shops and restaurants. I saw buses with bike racks on them. When I left Kansas City [in 2000] it seemed suburban and boring. But when I came back to visit, I saw people I wanted to be friends with.” – Emily Farris, who left Brooklyn, N.Y. after a nine year career there as a chef.
Read the article for yourself and then share your thoughts.