Public Meeting Held Over Controversial Gathering Place Sidewalk - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Public Meeting Held Over Controversial Gathering Place Sidewalk

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The issue boils down to a sidewalk and whether or not to build one on the land beside the city's planned Gathering Place Park. The issue boils down to a sidewalk and whether or not to build one on the land beside the city's planned Gathering Place Park.
Artist renderings of the controversial sidewalk. Artist renderings of the controversial sidewalk.
It was standing room only Monday night at a public meeting to discuss a small stretch of land off Riverside Drive. It was standing room only Monday night at a public meeting to discuss a small stretch of land off Riverside Drive.
TULSA, Oklahoma -

Mayor Dewey Bartlett's plan to scrap a sidewalk has angered hundreds of Tulsans. They showed up in force to support a sidewalk along Riverside that would connect pedestrians to the Gathering Place.

At one point at The Garden Center on Peoria, people had to wait outside because the fire marshall wouldn't allow anyone else inside.

Overall, the meeting was calm but the mayor's decision has a lot of people divided.

It was standing room only Monday night at a public meeting to discuss a small stretch of land off Riverside Drive.

Originally, the city had a sidewalk planned to connect 26th Street to the future home of the Gathering Place Park in Tulsa, but Bartlett nixed the plan.

10/23/2014 Related Story: Proposed Gathering Place Sidewalk Causing Controversy

“The sidewalk, no matter how it's put together, is going to be right next to a street that's covering a lot of traffic at relatively high speeds, and we don't want to put people in danger.” he said.

“There is no way that I would access and use this sidewalk that's within ten feet of a busy road,” said Tulsan Nick Probst.

Instead, pedestrians would use a crosswalk to get to the west side of riverside and then a land bridge to get back over to the park on the east side.

That idea is what drew a majority of the crowd Monday night. Some said it adds more danger and goes against Tulsa's push to be a more walkable city.

“The way to fix that is to make easy and pleasurable to walk and to bike and to use transit, all of that stuff requires sidewalks and good infrastructure for people who don't want to drive,” Tulsan Sarah Kobos said.

Bartlett's decision isn't set in stone though; instead, he wants to wait and see how things progress as the gathering place is built.

“And we can certainly have a decision to put it in at some point in the future if it's justified,” Bartlett said.

“Tulsa just needs to get going. We need to be a city for future not a city for the past, and there's no need to hesitate and waffle about a sidewalk, this is not controversial this is basic,” Kobos said.

The mayor could still change his mind and decide the sidewalk is a good idea - he said that was the point of the meeting.

The city said even without the sidewalk it is ADA compliant because there will be a number of other options, like land bridges along Riverside that they can use.

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