Back to the future

Doug Tennant, senior planner and project manager at Jacobs (the consultant for the hub plan), walked the council through the winnowing process that started with 10, and later three, potential sites.

right Sketched plans for the forthcoming hub

“The Santa Fe site was absolutely head and shoulders above the other two,” Tennant said. “Some people at our public meetings said, ‘We could have told you that,’ and maybe they could have, and probably we all a year and a half ago, sitting around this table, we might have said, ‘That’s the best location because that’s where history said it should be.’” The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, the state Department of Transportation, city offices and several suburban municipal governments have been involved in studying regional transit, and the hub location into which a commuter rail system would flow.

The hub would connect several transportation modes in one area, such as bus, bike, car and the Amtrak service, but also others that do not yet exist, such as the MAPS 3 downtown modern streetcar line, commuter rail and possibly a high-speed rail line, making it a “Grand Central Station for Oklahoma,” Tennant said.

Download a PDF file containing the Intermodal Transportation Hub Master Plan.

The hub likely will open another connection for pedestrians between downtown and Bricktown by featuring a pedestrian walkway underneath the railroad tracks, Tennant said.

MAPS 3 transit money has been set aside for the hub, while the city also is applying for a federal grant to help with the first phase. Additional federal funding is being sought, and a prerequisite to that funding — an alternatives analysis study — is under way. A request for proposals to conduct the commuter rail study is expected by early October.

“The hub is both a connection to our past and to our future, but it’s also a connection arching over the railroad that connects downtown to Bricktown,” Tennant said. “It accomplishes mobility, it accomplishes enhancing transit’s image in the community, and we believe it will be a catalyst for continued economic development in this part of downtown.”

The price tag for all three phases is expected to be about $127 million spread out between federal and state funding, as well as several cities participating in the regional transit plan, Tennant said.

Clifton Adcock

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