Vision Tulsa Background Information
The current Tulsa County Vision 2025 sales tax will expire at the end of 2016. In late 2014, with the expiration of Vision 2025 nearing, local officials began discussing the prospect of identifying new projects for renewal of the program. Several of the county’s municipalities, including Tulsa, decided to develop their own lists of new projects and to go it alone.
The Tulsa Mayor and City Council have developed what is called Vision Tulsa. It is a three-part program that will appear on an April 5th ballot as separate items: Proposition 1 – a permanent sales tax for public safety, Proposition 2 – a permanent sales tax for transportation and streets, and Proposition 3 – a 15-year sales tax for economic development.
About one-ninth of the proposed Vision Tulsa tax, or $102 million during the first 15 years, if approved, will become a permanent tax for transportation – a dedicated 0.085 percent – beginning on January 1, 2017. Of that tax, 56 percent ($57 million) will go toward transit operations and capital, and 44 percent ($45 million) will support street maintenance.
Tulsa’s updated comprehensive plan, adopted in 2010, identified two basic building blocks to help build a more robust transportation network including a multi-modal street system and an expanded transit system.
Tulsa’s transit service levels have historically rated well below average in terms of service hours per capita. The comprehensive plan envisions Tulsa’s mass transit system matching in quality and service those of our peer cities in order to compete effectively in the 21st century.
The common denominator of cities with effective transit systems is a source of dedicated funding. Dedicated and predictable funding facilitates the long-term planning required to bring the city up to competitive levels of performance. Tulsa has been one of the largest cities in the United States without a dedicated source of funding for its public transportation system.
Proposition 2 – Streets and Transportation Details
The Streets and Transportation package will support streets, traffic and public transportation efforts throughout the city. It will ensure more reliable public transportation service such as seven-day bus schedules and two high-quality bus rapid transit (BRT) lines.
Investing in streets and public transit will cut travel time and allow workers to more easily get to their jobs, shopping and healthcare and reduce their transportation costs. A key element of the BRT system is significantly enhanced transit stations along both corridors that enhance safety and beautify the streetscape.
The streets and transportation plan creates:
- Two much-needed bus rapid transit routes that will provide safe and efficient transportation to jobs, healthcare and groceries. Together, the two BRT lines are within a 10-minute walk of 30% of the city’s residents and 35% of the city’s jobs.
- A downtown Tulsa circulator loop.
- A midtown circulator loop.
- Expanded service to include Sundays, for 7-day-a-week service.
- Staffing and equipment for street repair and maintenance, signalization, striping and crosswalks.
Peoria Bus Rapid Transit Line: The North/South corridor includes Peoria Avenue and goes from 81st Street and South Lewis Avenue (near the Wal-Mart SuperCenter) to 38th Street North and Peoria Avenue (near the Tulsa Technology Center, Peoria Campus). The service will provide 15-minute frequency at all stations from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
The Peoria BRT connects the following key destinations: Tulsa Technology Center, Downtown Tulsa, Indian Health Care Resource Center, Pearl District, Cherry Street District, Woodward Park, Brookside Retail District, Oral Roberts University, and CityPlex Towers. Within a 10-minute walk of the corridor it will also connect Hillcrest Medical Center, St. John Medical Center and Utica Square.
Route 66 Bus Rapid Transit Line: The East/West corridor follows 11th and 21st Streets and goes from the Denver Avenue Station at 4th Street in Downtown Tulsa to 145th East Avenue at Eastgate Metroplex. The line will provide 15-minute frequency at all stations from 6am to 10pm daily. The transit route has the following key destinations on or very near the corridor: Downtown Tulsa, BOK Center, Hillcrest Medical Center, Pearl District, Tulsa Community College Metro Campus, University of Tulsa and the Eastgate Metroplex.
Street Repair and Maintenance
The streets and transit package funds a dedicated streets maintenance crew. This team will repair problems and conduct preventive maintenance to help keep roads safe.
Vote Yes on Proposition 2!
Smart Growth Tulsa endorses Proposition 2 and advocates its approval by Tulsa voters.
SGT supports approval because:
- Effective mass transit is among the most important determinants of a city’s livability and is a key factor in creating jobs and attracting and retaining young educated professionals.
- A good transit system enables denser development with less urban sprawl, lessens the demand for extending infrastructure, and reduces the need for both roadway widening and public parking.
- More transit users mean fewer vehicles on the streets and, thus, reduced wear and tear on the city’s streets.
- Thousands of Tulsans with lower and fixed incomes depend on – or want to depend on – mass transit to get to grocery stores, health care, pharmacies and all of the other services essential to the quality of their lives.
- Thousands of members of Tulsa’s workforce – and their employers – depend upon a low-cost and reliable way of getting to work.
- Non-users of public transit also benefit by encountering less traffic and experiencing reduced travel time.
- A better transit system improves the values of properties nearer to transit corridors.
- Large-scale street construction and maintenance projects are becoming more and more difficult to fund through the use of local taxation and matching federal government funding is on the decline. Continuing to direct hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce congestion by building more streets and adding more lane miles to existing roads will not solve the problem. It will merely induce more demand until those new lanes are also congested.
- Adding and maintaining lane miles is hugely more expensive than building and sustaining an effective transit system.
- Public transportation plays an important role in providing answers to the enormous challenges facing our nation, our state and our city today. Whether it’s more jobs, a cleaner environment, energy independence or a better quality of life, public transportation helps us get there.
- Beyond just improving mobility, transit services can also help shape land use and development patterns, and support public policies regarding energy use, air quality and carbon emissions. All of these characteristics can be important when considering the benefits, costs and optimal investment levels for public transportation.
The City of Tulsa’s Planning Department is currently working with a firm to prepare a Land Use Study of Station Areas Along the Peoria Avenue BRT Corridor. The study will recommend land use changes that can maximize public investment in the BRT system. This study will include an analysis of potential land use and zoning conflicts and propose future land use and zoning designations that would provide the most successful outcomes for the private properties that immediately border the BRT transit station sites.
Future transit-oriented development will expand transit for the purpose of promoting economic development in underserved areas that lack adequate access to transportation. The highly successful HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit in Cleveland, Ohio has been the catalyst for billions of dollars in new commercial, economic and transit-oriented development.
If Tulsans insist that their transportation planning be at the core of their city’s urban planning and design, it will lead to a more compactly built environment that creates ‘feeds’ into the stations and ‘stops’ along the transit corridor. At the same time, this will drive the creation of centers around the transit hubs, serving passengers’ daily commercial needs and services, which significantly reduces urban sprawl and supports a healthy urban setting.
All of this depends upon approval of the transit and street maintenance initiative.