OKC Bike Trails, Lobbying for more funding and action

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OKC Bike Trails, Lobbying for more funding and action

Postby zachavm » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:35 pm

A few weeks back I traveled to Denver and was very impressed by their extensive network of Biking trails through the city. My friend who lives there said he could bike to work on them and barely hit a city street. This led me to find out about OKC's trails project.

http://www.okc.gov/trails/

While I'm definitly happy this is moving forward and was part of Maps 3, I think it needs more push to get moving. This would be a major boom for OKC's push toward better health and would significantly improve saftey for road bikers.

Basicly, I'm wondering anyone out there is organized to lobby the city for this. If not, I'm suggesting that we get some people together and start one. We could make contacts, get petitions going, or whatever. Is anyone else interested in this?
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Postby ASTEVENS » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:26 pm

Being an Architect major at OU I've had the opportunity to take some classes in city planning and transportation and the professors happen to work for the city departments so I know a few people involved in designing/funding these projects from both Oklahoma City transportation department and also ACOG. So if you need some names/email addresses let me know. There is quite a bit going on right now all over the city. Project 180 in downtown OKC has a bunch of bike lanes going in. http://www.okc.gov/project180/ Also I know they are in the construction phase of a path/trail from earlywine YMCA to draper lake, and I think construction phase to connect the river trails to draper are under way as well. The one I am interested in them starting (because I live on the south side) is the airport trail from earlywine YMCA to the river trails. Also there is some talk about a revision to the law about bikes using the full lane on roads designated as bike routes and that cars must change lanes to pass. There is also been talk about narrowing some streets and stripping in some on street bike lanes out of downtown to take advantage of all the work done on project 180. I've suggested narrowing shields blvd and putting in a bike lane there that wound run all the way moore.

There is progress and we are moving in the right direction, but it is going to be slow, expecially with where the economy is today. Denvers bike trail systems started long ago and the weather/scenery there makes it a nice experiance to ride a bike. OKC is different in that we rely so highly on the car that all other modes of public transportation (bus, walking, biking, train) are the lowest in the nation.

The main thing I have asked about is the law making each bike have to stop at a stop sign instead of letting the "pack" of bike go thru as a group and the response I get back is they suggested that a few years ago and it didn't pass.
"My feeling is that any day I am too busy to run is a day that I am too busy."
--John Bryant
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Postby zachavm » Thu Jun 23, 2011 9:39 pm

Thanks astevens! That's some great information. I've had this spinning around in my head for a few days and I've gone all sorts of places with it.

Note: Can you change the word "lobbying" to "encouraging" in the title of the thread? I think that's a little less agressive sounding.
The first thing I'm thinking we can do is just get a facebook group started and get as many people to join it as we can. If a few thousand people were part of a group like that, I think that would be something the city leadership would take notice of. I'm going to call the group "Support OKC Trails". I'll post on here after I've made it and then maybe we can get the word out for people to join it.

Disclaimer: Everything that follows here is purely my delusions of grandure.

I wonder what other things could be done. For instance, why does this all have to be city funded? People donate parks to cities all the time. Why not see if other organizations or people would be interesting in helping better their community. Also, this isn't just a Biker thing. Runners, skaters, and just general families would be interested in this. I think it's also important to making OKC healthier which means organizations pushing that would be interested. Heck, the NFL pushes play 60 so maybe the thunder would be interested in backing this as a community service thing.
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