Light rail could be in works for city

By Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 11, 2008
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/> Cornett also rejected a suggestion submitted by another member of Urban Neighbors that downtown's Oklahoma Spirit trolley system is mismanaged by the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority.

Instead, Cornett said, the city is struggling to sell the idea of public transportation in a community that has been planned and developed for vehicular traffic.

"We're just not very good at getting people to ride them (the trolleys).”

Crime, poverty addressed
Discussing other issues, Cornett said he is satisfied the city is adequately addressing homelessness and gang violence. He said downtown's "parking problem” is more perception than reality, but added he is trying to find a way to make parking free in Bricktown.

Cornett agreed more affordable housing is needed downtown, joking he would have trouble finding a home in his price range.

He said the city is ready to assist housing developers by providing tax increment financing for related infrastructure needs.

Cornett said he has a 1910 photo of downtown that reminds him of the building boom that occurred during those early years.

"My guess is we are in the busiest period since that time,” Cornett said. "There is more energy than there has been in my lifetime, and that feels really good.”

Downtown commuting?
Organizers of Thursday's event for downtown residents and merchants estimated 150 were in attendance.

Steve Newlon, board member of Urban Neighbors, said one of biggest concerns expressed by members was that of public transportation. "A lot of downtown residents would find it beneficial if the routes (for the Oklahoma Spirit trolleys) were reconfigured for the housing developments,” Newlon said. "I'm glad to hear that's being reviewed.”