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.