OKC Civic Affairs

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City Council approves streetcar route

by William Crum Modified: September 24, 2013 at 10:55 pm •  Published: September 24, 2013

The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday agreed on a route for the MAPS 3 downtown streetcar, at $94.4 million one of the biggest of the voter-approved construction projects designed to promote the city’s economic development.

The 4.6-mile “modern” streetcar line is to run in a loop through Oklahoma City’s central business district, linking the fast-growing MidTown business and residential district with the Bricktown entertainment district.

Here’s an animated video that illustrates the route, and how streetcars would fit into downtown. The video was prepared for the city under a $25,000 contract that includes other services, and was shown to the City Council before Tuesday’s vote:

Coupled with the Bricktown Landing boat dock and trails that open next week, the streetcar will create a rail-pedestrian-bicycling link stretching from MidTown to the Boathouse District and beyond, opening the Oklahoma River to further development.

Bricktown Landing also will link the Bricktown Canal boats and Oklahoma River Cruisers.

The vote was 5-3, with Ward 1 Councilman James Greiner, Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid and Ward 4 Councilman Pete White opposed. Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer, who owns downtown property that may be served by the streetcar, excused herself from the debate and did not vote.

The route would connect the Downtown Transit Center, the Automobile Alley and MidTown districts, the planned MAPS 3 convention center, and the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA’s Thunder, and would come within a block from the future MAPS 3 downtown park.

Consultants included a couple of minor options that could alter the route slightly.

The streetcar is to begin operations in 2017. Total costs, including a garage and an extension planned later, are expected to run $128.8 million.

Mayor Mick Cornett and council members Larry McAtee (Ward 3), David Greenwell (Ward 5), John A. Pettis Jr. (Ward 7) and Pat Ryan (Ward 8) voted yes. Tuesday’s meeting drew a crowd to the Council chamber in City Hall.

Around 20 people spoke, divided about evenly between advocates and opponents of the route.

MAPS 3 is a $777 million, 10-year building program funded by a 1-cent sales tax approved by Oklahoma City voters in 2009.

by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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