Health Department Championing Plan Designed To Get Tulsans Moving

Friday, August 28th 2015, 7:24 pm
By: Emory Bryan

There’s a plan in the works to get people in Tulsa County moving; it involves new connections of bike trails and sidewalks – linking neighborhoods with destinations.

Tulsa County has never had a comprehensive plan for all the ways people get around besides driving. But the plan is almost finished, and in some public meetings next month, city planners are looking for some final input before it's put into action.

The bike lane on 3rd Street is about the only completely separate lane for bicycles on a street anywhere in Tulsa, and that's the problem - it's about the only one. It's just a mile long and doesn't connect to other bike lanes.

To get there, a bicyclist would need to share the road with cars and not everyone is comfortable with that, according to Jennifer Haddaway with INCOG.

"Anyone who is a novice rider isn't going to be comfortable with the infrastructure the way it is now. So, you end up being either a person comfortable riding in the flow of traffic - and those are the only people doing it - or you end up not trying it at all," Haddaway said.

She’s helping plan Tulsa County's bicycle and pedestrian transportation network.

"In order for anything to grow in this environment, you have to have a plan," said Haddaway.

It's called the Go Plan and it will cover Tulsa and 11 smaller communities in the county. It goes over everything from sidewalks through neighborhoods, to bicycle routes for recreation and commuting.

Go Plan Interactive Map

It's being championed by the Health Department, and Joani Dotson figures it's a long-term strategy to cut obesity and diabetes.

“We're allowing an opportunity for Tulsans to get out and be more active, get really good connections to the trails we have; it's really a highway, the trail system is, but it needed connections from the residential areas to businesses, and schools, and churches,” she said.

Right now, Tulsa ranks low on national ratings for sidewalks and bike paths, but city planners are certain that as the network improves, Tulsans will get out and get moving.

“If people feel comfortable being able to get out and walk from one destination to the other,” Haddaway said, “people will absolutely use those networks.”

Learn More About The Go Plan