PLANiTULSA's Downtown Plan Gets The Nod

Tuesday, July 28th 2009, 8:15 am
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A new plan to develop Tulsa that focuses more resources on downtown and mass transit.  It's the result of PlaniTulsa.

After two years of talking about a new plan, all the sticky notes and highlighting has come together in a call for change to a city that's more focused on downtown.  The PlaniTulsa Scenario D was the one most people wanted to see happen.

5/12/2009 Related story: PlaniTulsa Unveils 4 Proposals For Growth

"This is what we have suspected all along, but now we have the data to back it up," said Tulsa City Councilor Eric Gomez.

More than 5,000 people took part, developing maps that show where they'd like to see the city grow and change.  The consensus focused on developing downtown and nearby neighborhoods, while adding to mass transit, especially light rail.    

The new plan will guide land use, zoning and government spending on everything from roads to parks.

"It is where do we put our money on infrastructure, do we put in sidewalks, where's the green space, and that determines to a large degree where private investment goes," said Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor.

The consultant leading the process says following a plan helps a city compete with the suburbs.

"You'll see new kinds of buildings, new kinds of development in areas, new businesses that start up that wouldn't have been here otherwise," said consultant John Fregonese.

With the downtown scenario emerging as the favorite, the question for city leaders now is how to make it happen.

"What do our land uses policies and zoning ordinances, what needs to change so we can do what the overwhelming majority of Tulsans want?" said Tulsa City Councilor Eric Gomez.

The most popular individual elements from the different plans will be included in a final report that will go into the city's comprehensive plan.  From there, it's up to city leaders to make it happen and up to citizens to hold them accountable.