TULSA - Part of the "Improve Our Tulsa" package voters will see on their ballots November 12 in Tulsa would provide $15 million to vastly improve one of the city's key mass transit corridors.
It runs along Peoria Ave. from 38th Street North, south through downtown and Brookside, then jogging east on 71st Street to Lewis, and again south to 81st Street.
James Wagner, Indian Nations Council of Governments (INCOG) Transportation Programs Coordinator, says one in five jobs in Tulsa lies within a ten-minute walk of that corridor, so the mass transit plan has identified it as the top priority for improvement.
The money would pay for 36 stations, actual structures with electronic signs that would alert riders when the next bus would arrive, and providing a safe, well-lit place out of the elements in which they could wait for a bus.
Wagner says the plan calls for a bus to run along that route every 15 minutes; currently, there's one about every half hour.
He points out that having a good transit system is very important for business owners, as well as their employees.
"There's a lot of businesses that rely on employees that are using the transit system, and so it's a real problem when you run a business or a restaurant or something like that and your employees are not there on time because they've got to ride a bus that's unreliable."
Tulsa, he admits, has fallen behind other cities in the region when it comes to mass transit.
"There's many cities in the southwest and midwest that are really improving their system, but Tulsa's system is really kind of far behind in terms of number of buses," he told KRMG.
He added that increasing bus ridership will help cut down on traffic, as well as wear and tear on Tulsa's streets, benefitting all the city's residents.
Monday night at 6:30 p.m. Wagner, along with City Councilors G. T. Bynum and Blake Ewing, will participate in a public forum regarding the "Improve Our Tulsa" package, and focusing especially on the mass transit aspect of the program.
The forum will be at the All Souls Unitarian Church, 2952 S. Peoria Ave.