A streetcar running from Bricktown through northeast Oklahoma City on the “adventure line” would have limited value as a tool for economic development, a study prepared for the city says.
Jacobs Engineering studied alternatives for linking downtown and Bricktown by rail to the Adventure District, home to the zoo, horse racing track, softball complex and other attractions.
The 4.5-mile rail corridor runs from Washington Park to NE 50 Street.
The north end of the line now is used for slow-moving sightseeing trains. The Union Pacific Railroad uses another section to provide freight service to a couple of businesses.
Jacobs gauged alternatives ranging from extending and upgrading the excursion trains to rush-hour commuter rail to a streetcar, the most comprehensive public transit service studied.
Costs ranged from a low of $10.5 million to upgrade the sightseeing train to a high of $95 million to $105 million for a streetcar.
An adventure line streetcar would extend the $94.4 million downtown streetcar line, a 4.6-mile loop through the central business district linking Midtown and Bricktown.
It is set to open in 2017.
Only the streetcar has potential to foster mixed-use development at transit stops along the adventure line, the study found.
That potential is limited, though.
Such development would occur “only at the downtown stops and only if it is part of a broader city effort to facilitate redevelopment,” the study says.
City council members said Tuesday they would like to know more about options for:
Extending rails from the end of the line at NE 50 to the Oklahoma City Zoo.
How the project might fit with other rail initiatives, such as light-rail to Midwest City.
Running an adventure line streetcar would cost $2 million to $3 million per year, in line with projected annual operating costs for the downtown streetcar.
The adventure line rail corridor is some distance from the Capitol and the Oklahoma Health Center. Much of the way it runs through Lincoln Park Golf Course.
The downtown streetcar is funded by a portion of the MAPS 3 penny sales tax. No funding sources are in place for upgrading the adventure line.