The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 18, 2013

Okla. City panel passes on new streetcar route


From The Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — An effort to develop a streetcar system in midtown Oklahoma City has stalled.

The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority's Board of Commissioners, which is overseeing a plan to revitalize the city's midtown area, declined to take a vote on a streetcar route during a meeting Wednesday.

"I'm not prepared to say that streetcars in general will promote development in that area," said Larry Nichols, OCURA board commissioner.

The city of Oklahoma City has not chosen a design for the streetcar; choosing instead to work on the route first, with work planned to start by 2015 and the route planned to be operating by 2017.

Nichols said he was concerned that the streetcar would be connected on a trolley wire, which involves a number of high wire lines.

"I don't feel very good about it at all," he said. "I think it would be an incredible step backwards," referencing the work the city has done to improve the look and quality of the streets.

Board attorney Leslie Batchelor said she has heard from entities downtown that are excited about the proposed streetcar system.

"There is a population that supports it," Nichols said. "And there is a population that doesn't and doesn't go to those meetings" on the plan.

The board did pass its Midtown Urban Renewal Plan that includes an addition of bicycle lanes in the area and street signage, and an addition of more street parking in Midtown.

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AP Source: The Journal Record