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Plans for Bricktown garage clash with planning for rail transit

Plans for a garage that would add up to 2,200 parking spots for the Central Business District and Bricktown are in jeopardy after getting a dim reception from Mayor Mick Cornett and the Oklahoma City Council.
by Steve Lackmeyer Published: May 15, 2013

Pettis said he hopes the line will eventually turn into an important public transit route for his residents.

Marion Hutchison, chairman of the nonprofit rail advocacy group OnTrac and a member of the Regional Transit Dialogue Steering Committee, said the garage could impede rail expansion efforts. The garage project, as proposed, would hamper efforts to use the Santa Fe train depot as a hub for any future commuter rail to Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base, a line to the Adventure District in northeast Oklahoma City, and any potential high speed transit that might be attempted in the region, Hutchison said.

Oklahoma City has $128.8 million in MAPS 3 funding for a streetcar system and transit hub set to be located at the Santa Fe depot at E.K. Gaylord and Sheridan Avenue — a property still privately owned.

Planning for the MAPS 3 streetcar system is overseen by the city, while planning for possible (but so far unfunded) commuter rail to Midwest City, Edmond and Norman is being overseen by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG).

Karchmer said he was surprised by the response.

“The only possible affect would be on high-speed rail, as currently planned,” Karchmer said. “I believe there is an alternative for where they are trying to go. There is a cheaper and easier way to go. I'm in favor of rail as much as anybody else is; the light (commuter) rail I'm very much in favor of, and this won't affect it a bit.”

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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