Tulsa Mayor Changes Position On Controversial Park Sidewalk

Friday, January 16th 2015, 5:39 pm
By: Richard Clark

Mayor Dewey Bartlett has changed his position on a controversial sidewalk near the new Gathering Place park which is under construction along Riverside Drive.

The city had originally planned to for a sidewalk to connect 26th Street to the future home of the park, but Bartlett nixed the plan. He said the sidewalk would have put people in danger.

Instead, the city decided 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.

11/24/2014: Related Story: Public Meeting Held Over Controversial Gathering Place Sidewalk

That idea drew a lot of criticism and even led to an ethics investigation into why the mayor made the decision, which cleared him of wrongdoing.

12/6/2014: Related Story: City Investigation: Bartlett Did Not Violate Ethics In Riverside Sidewalk Meeting

On Friday, the mayor announced the city will redo an interchange north of there and will redesign a significant part of the sidewalk north to Veterans Park.

Riverside Drive Report

The city says the new plan contains a combination of methods to calm traffic in a scalable manner, including:

-A tree lawn to give at least seven feet of distance between motorists and pedestrians
-Driving lanes narrowed to 11 feet
-Traffic signal/crosswalk at the main entrance of the Gathering Place near the 2700 block of Riverside Drive
-Enhanced pedestrian crosswalks with clearly distinguishable striping and colored concrete pavement at intersections from 21st - 41st
-Eight-inch curbs to minimize the risk of vehicles jumping the curb in the direction of the sidewalk
-Extensive street striping and various types of signage to give motorists notice they are entering a park area
-And as originally proposed, the speed limit will be posted at 35 mph
-Installation of conduit during the construction phase to provide for future traffic signals, if needed