The first formally proposed full route of the downtown Oklahoma City modern streetcar has arrived now that the locations of other MAPS 3 projects are known.
The Citizen Advisory Board presented the city council with its preferred route for the streetcar, including a proposed southern route for the first time. The board's transit subcommittee had held off on vetting the southern portion of the route until the locations of the MAPS 3 convention center and intermodal transportation hub were known.
In recent months, the council decided upon the site of an old Ford dealership west of Chesapeake Energy Arena for the convention center, and the Santa Fe Train Depot will be the site of the transit hub. The southern portion takes that into account, along with residential areas on the east side of the train tracks.
“This helps assure that there's coordination between the convention center, the new downtown park, Myriad Gardens park and with the residential area north of Bricktown,” said Mike Mize of consultancy Architectural Design Group, which is organizing elements of MAPS 3.
Jeff Bezdek, a member of the transit subcommittee, told the council that planning involved discussions with other MAPS 3 project subcommittees and stakeholders around downtown.
“One thing that kept coming up was needing to touch the park, having a stop right at the park and the new convention center,” he said.
Questions on future
Councilman Ed Shadid led several council members in expressing hope that integration with other long-term transportation projects is a part of the streetcar's plans, including how the state Transportation Department is including it in the boulevard that will replace the old Interstate 40 alignment and bridges accommodating rail traffic.