Transportation Advisory Board Recommends Changes In Tulsa

Tuesday, May 25th 2010, 11:49 am
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK – The Tulsa City Council is now getting a look at a plan that would hopefully fix Tulsa's crumbling infrastructure. A panel of experts worked on the plan for a year.

The committee faced a tough task -- come up with improvements for Tulsa's infamous infrastructure without breaking the bank.

"Cost efficiency" is the term mentioned throughout the Transportation Advisory Board's report. 

Read the Transportation Advisory Board report.

The board says the city can save money, first and foremost, by strictly following building standards. Its report even reads that, "The City of Tulsa has not yet adopted up-to-date material design specifications for asphalt and concrete."

"It's not a surprise, therefore, that we took an interest in the way in which money is deployed in the standards that we use as a city," said Jamie Jamieson, Transportation Advisory Board.

Jamieson is one of five committee members who wrote the report. He says there are other ways the city can make improvements while saving money. They include performing construction work at night, and selling the naming rights to bridges and streets. 

To preserve roads, the committee recommends restricting truck traffic in the city. According to the report, many cities limit heavy truck traffic on municipal streets, quoting an accepted industry figure that one fully loaded 18 wheeler causes the same amount of wear on streets as 10,000 regular cars.

The committee also encourages more public transportation and building more bike trails as a means of preserving roads.

As part of the infrastructure improvements, the advisory board is also recommending that the city invest pretty heavily in new and improved sidewalks, calling them some of the most dangerous in the country.

The idea of adding sidewalks has been greeted with enthusiasm by groups like the Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges. 

Lori Long says the disabled are terribly underserved in Tulsa, but more sidewalks would benefit everyone.

"It adds so much. Number one, it gets them active and healthy. Number two, it is for many people, their primary mode of transportation," said Long.

The Transportation Advisory Board says it listened to the concerns of groups like the Center while writing the report. Whether its recommendations will ever be implemented is now up to the city.

One huge advantage for Tulsa, says the Transportation Advisory Board, is the capacity of its roads. It says the current road system can handle the traffic of a city with twice the population of Tulsa.