The week in review, and the week ahead, in OKC civic affairs.
Funding is key to transit network
Rick Cain is administrator of Oklahoma City's transit and parking agency, which recently adopted the brand name EMBARK. He fielded questions last week about transit's future in Oklahoma City. Questions and answers were edited.
Q: How will the public transit/private cars mix change over the next 10 years in OKC?
A: If the last couple of years are any indicator, over the next 10 years metro-area residents will demand more public transportation options. Baby boomers want to maintain an active lifestyle without reliance on a car and Gen Xers and Millennials have demonstrated a desire to not be dependent upon an automobile. The new multimodal transportation hub downtown along with added sidewalks throughout the city will support options including local- and intrastate bus and rail, timeshare car rentals, bicycling and enhanced pedestrian experiences.
Q: How does the new name, EMBARK, fit the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority's mission, as you see it evolving?
A: The new name is consistent with the strategy to restructure the transit system, making it more efficient and positioning it to support enhancements such as late night and Sunday service. More importantly, it reflects the commitment and dedication of the COTPA board, transit staff and the city to refine our family of services and improve the customer experience.
Q: Your advice on how Oklahoma City can best leverage transit to promote sustainable economic growth?
A: Providing long-term, sustainable funding is key to a successful transportation network. As evidenced by the city council's continued emphasis on enhancing public transportation, they understand that nearly two-thirds of our transit riders are going to work, seeking job opportunities or pursuing higher education. It will require the continued support of the City Council to grow public transportation and use it as a tool to promote the city's economic growth.
Oklahoma County District 2 to acquire CNG trucks
Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan says District 2 is expecting to get its first two compressed natural gas pickups in November. Maughan and Cleveland County District 1 Commissioner Rod Cleveland are to be joined Thursday by Gov. Mary Fallin in Norman to discuss their interest in converting county fleets to compressed natural gas. Learn more at cngofokc.com.
They said it
“I ask that Ward 7 residents be heard.”
— Ward 7 Councilman John A. Pettis Jr., at a city council workshop last Tuesday on the MAPS 3 senior health and wellness centers. Pettis said the Oklahoma City-County Health Department — which proposed a partnership with the city for a senior center in Ward 7 — was unwilling to relocate to an inner-city site preferred by residents.
“I'm willing to work with City-County.”
— Pettis, in an interview Friday in which he said the health department would need to work out public transportation issues and include more service providers to make its site on NE 63 Street acceptable. “I'm not backing down,” Pettis said.
It's a fact
Mayor Mick Cornett is the Mayors Council of Oklahoma mayor of the year.
Mayor Mick Cornett and all eight members of the city council attended last Tuesday's workshop on the MAPS 3 senior health and wellness centers.
The city council will consider a proposed route for the downtown streetcar during Tuesday's meeting, at 8:30 a.m., at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave. Council members will get a look at a computer-generated animation of streetcars running through the central business district on the proposed route between MidTown and Bricktown.
MAPS 3 advisory committees meetings
Convention center, 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, 420 W Main St., 10th floor conference room.
Senior wellness centers, 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, 420 W Main St., basement conference room.
Streetcar, 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Civic Center Music Hall, Joel Levine Rehearsal Hall, 201 N Walker Ave.
William Crum, Staff Writer