Consulting firm weighs in on improving Oklahoma City transit system

BY WILLIAM CRUM wcrum@opubco.com Modified: April 16, 2013 at 8:03 pm •  Published: April 16, 2013
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Oklahoma City could improve bus service and attract more riders without spending more money, transit consultants told the city council on Tuesday.

The downside: Buses would be less convenient for about 3.5 percent of current riders.

Nelson\Nygaard, a consulting firm founded in San Francisco, gave the council a preliminary look at its study of the Oklahoma City bus system.

Firm's suggestions

Consultants said the city could improve service by:

• Cutting four routes.

• Keeping buses on main roads. Some routes now sidetrack into neighborhoods.

• Simplifying the way buses circulate downtown.

• Coordinating routes to reduce waiting times at the downtown transit center.

• Creating hubs outside downtown, including at the OU Health Sciences Center campus, where riders could transfer from bus to bus.

Public transportation improvements were an issue in the campaign of John A. Pettis Jr., the newly elected council member from Ward 7 in northeast Oklahoma City.

Pettis said service reductions suggested by Nelson\Nygaard — while intended to improve efficiency and frequency of service — would affect riders from Ward 7. He called the suggestions a “tough call.”

Pettis said the city had done a poor job of planning for two recent projects in the northeast: the Oklahoma City-County Health Department's new Northeast Regional Health and Wellness Campus, 2600 NE 63, and the planned relocation of Social Security's office to NE 122 and Kelley Avenue.

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