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OKC Central: Transit alternatives begin to emerge downtown in Oklahoma City

Steve Lackmeyer: Plans in Oklahoma City for electric car charging stations, a streetcar system and bicycle accommodations begin to open up transit options for downtown residents, workers and visitors.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 17, 2012
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Those racks just might get more use as “Spokies,” a new bike-share program, is set to be inaugurated next month. The operation, being run by Downtown Oklahoma City Inc., will allow members to use bikes arrayed at six stations throughout downtown free for a half-hour and $2 per half-hour after that. Yearly memberships would be $75, monthly passes $20 and one-day access $5.

Spokies stations will be opened near the Oklahoma City National Memorial, at 1100 Classen Drive adjacent to the Plaza Court Building in MidTown, at NE 2 and Walnut in Deep Deuce, on the sidewalk next to the southeast loading docks of Cox Convention Center (across from Myriad Gardens and Chesapeake Energy Arena), and at the entrance to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Interestingly enough, an application before the Downtown Design Review Committee indicates city planners have decided two sets of bike racks will be placed at Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library at Park and Harvey avenues while no Spokies stations are planned for Automobile Alley, where there are dozens of apartments, restaurants and shops.

Even with such efforts, I doubt most downtown residents yet envision a time when they can totally give up on car ownership. A local produce market, Native Roots, will open later this year in Deep Deuce, but Homeland at NW 18 and Classen will remain the closest thing to a full-scale grocery. But with a slight expansion of the streetcar system, and for adventurous bicyclists, the era of life in downtown Oklahoma City — without Mr. Benz' creation — soon may be within reach.

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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