71st and Riverside Bicycle Path Construction Causes Traffic Congestion, Complaints

Thursday, December 30th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

It seems like almost everywhere you drive, roads and intersections are under construction. One of the most congested spots during rush hour is the intersection at 71st and Riverside Drive. That's where the westbound onramp and westbound traffic - on the 71st Street bridge are shut down to one lane. "It sure makes your day go by slow,” said motorist Jack Lester. “It seems like you are sitting and waiting in traffic all day. But it's that way all over town."

The intersection at 71st Street and Riverside Drive is just one sign of a growing economy. Road crews are hard at work, helping to boost Tulsa's infrastructure. But did you know all of this commotion is for a bike path? "I understand the purpose of a bike path,” said Corey VanCleave. “I don't think that's necessary to close that much traffic off though."

While construction on the 71st Street bridge is expected to continue for the next year, that means more traffic tie-ups. But not everyone is complaining about this project. "We have no really good way to cross the river except 11th street,” said Tom Brown, owner of Brown’s Bicycle Shop. “It's quite a dangerous experience to ride across the 71st Street bridge the way it is now."

Brown's cycle shop is located at the intersection of 71st and Riverside. He says he hopes the new path will affect his business the way the recent expansion to 91st Street did for businesses there. "It'll probably increase my business,” he said. "I think anything we can do to improve the internal structure of Tulsa is a great thing."

Brown’s not the only one who believes his tax dollars are being well spent. Tulsan Roy Bayne uses the bike trails every day. "My tax money should go to projects like this one,” he said. “Because I pay property tax, automobile tax, and gasoline tax, so why shouldn't my money go to bicycle paths for my enjoyment? It helps the economy. People come here,” Bayne noted. “I've run into people using the Tulsa trails from Kansas City, Dallas, and Fort Worth."

According to the Department of Transportation, the cost of the project is about $1.4 million. The federal government is funding the entire project.