Tulsa Councilor Proposes Downtown Train, Bus Hub

Thursday, September 17th 2015, 6:36 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A Tulsa city councilor has big plans for a transit hub that would connect two sides of downtown.

It would cover the railroad tracks and connect trains, buses and downtown districts.

The plan is centered on the Center of the Universe and would cover five blocks of railroad tracks, a park and trails, with a train station and transit hub in the middle of it all.

The railroad tracks and the overpasses are a barrier that most people, on foot, hardly ever cross.

A few people make it to the Center of the Universe for a quick picture, but otherwise, people only drive across the tracks.

They divide downtown as they have for a hundred years.

City Councilor Blake Ewing, making his pitch before the Vision committee, believes a transit hub finally could close that gap downtown.

Watch The Center Of The Universe Expansion Concept Video

"The train tracks have really been a ...divided up into downtown, not divided up in all these little districts,” Ewing said.

Ewing is proposed a $25 million start on the project to cover the tracks and build a train station.

It would serve buses and walkways and would connect downtown in ways the overpasses never have.

An architect drew up the initial plans, but they're just an idea.

The specifics are far from certain, but the goal is to connect all forms of transportation downtown in one spot: a bus station above, a train station below, trails and park land on top.

“And that's all the central locations where all the walkways that connect the Blue Dome to Brady, all those walkways circles around and go back out the other side, that's the central point, the transit hub,” architect Andy Kinslow said.

Building everything could cost $200 million dollars, but the backers say there's federal money available for part of it.

As part of the Vision plan, it could satisfy many of the goals for better links for people walking or taking public transit.

“Moving people around, giving them better opportunities to get around downtown and with this proposal, the idea that councilor Ewing has brought forward, it brings all that together,” Downtown Coordinating Council member Tom Baker said.