The reactions I am seeing have me worried that my previous post did not communicate what was intended. The post was not meant to be depressing, but rather to serve as a wake-up call to everyone. To let the people of OKC know that transit is not a sure thing and encourage people to get involved and make it happen.
I don’t think the addition of the River Plan is a bad thing, I simply think that it should not be at the expense of transit. For me, I am actually quite intrigued by the River Plan and excited to see what Mike Knopp has put together. Like others, I think the river is one of our greatest untapped resources.
On the convention center, I am not convinced either way. I don’t appreciate the process and/or the lack of objectivity used to push the convention center forward, but the city leadership appears squarely behind it, so okay, I can get on board with that. But again, it does not have to be at the expense of a meaningful investment in transit.
Finally, I would like to point out that transit can mean many different things. I believe that a downtown streetcar system is what it should mean for MAPS 3. This system would serve as the foundation for future expansions. It never was a real possibility that MAPS3 could provide a regional light-rail network engaging municipalities across the metro. A regional system takes years – if not decades – of cooperation between municipalities, along with state and federal governments. This process has started, but it is nowhere near complete. Plus, the cost of a regional light-rail system makes it inappropriate for a MAPS project. It was never a real option. So please don’t believe that MAPS 3 transit is being held-up by a lack of commitment from surrounding municipalities.
Oklahoma City, by itself, could take a great first step towards meaningful public transit by establishing a downtown streetcar system as part of MAPS 3. Shifting the focus towards a regional system that relies on suburban communities is just a way of confusing the issue and passing the buck!