The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday agreed on a route for the $94.4 million downtown streetcar, one of the biggest of the voter-approved MAPS 3 construction projects.
Voters approved MAPS 3 in 2009, agreeing to a penny sales tax increase to promote economic development.
The 4.6-mile modern streetcar line is to run in a loop through Oklahoma City's central business district. It will tie together the fast-growing MidTown business and residential district and the Bricktown entertainment district.
Coupled with the Bricktown Landing boat dock and trails, the streetcar will create a link — via rail, boat, bicycle and on foot — to the Boathouse District and beyond, opening the Oklahoma River to further development.
“I think it will kick off the next 20 years of growth in our city,” said Nathaniel Harding, chairman of a MAPS 3 streetcar advisory panel that worked several years to craft the proposed route.
The route would connect downtown's transit center, Automobile Alley and MidTown, the planned MAPS 3 convention center, a new transit hub at the old Santa Fe Depot, and the Chesapeake Energy Arena, home of the NBA's Thunder. Tracks would come within a block of the planned MAPS 3 downtown park.
Rails would be laid on sections of Sheridan and Reno avenues, NW 10 and NW 11 streets, and Broadway, Robinson and Hudson avenues. Consultants included a couple of minor options that could alter the route slightly.
The streetcar is set to begin operations in 2017. Total costs, including a garage and an extension planned later, are expected to run $128.8 million.
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