Sidewalk to nowhere?

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Last week, the Whirled had a story about one developer's refusal to comply with city sidewalk regulations. The developer is Chris Bumgarner, and he is going to court to fight the TMAPC's insistence that he build a sidewalk along the eastside of Utica Avenue in front of his new development, just south of Utica Square. He calls it a sidewalk to nowhere, ending at Cascia Hall's property line, and says it will encourage people to cross Utica to the neighborhood in mid-block.

His attorney is Lou Reynolds. Yes, the Lou Reynolds whose reappointment to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Board was first rejected by the City Council, then approved when then-Councilor Sam Roop reneged on a written pledge to oppose the appointment. (Roop was later appointed to a six-figure job in the Mayor's office.) The very Lou Reynolds whose controversial reappointment was cited as a reason for recalling Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino from office.

Here's what this prominent and influential land use attorney thinks about sidewalks:

Attorney Lou Reynolds said developers look at sidewalks as a waste of money and land.

"We don't have pedestrians because everyone in Tulsa has cars. You don't see people walking around and it's not because of the absence of sidewalks that they're not walking around. The fact is that Tulsa has such little density that you have to have a car to get around," he said....

Reynolds said the sidewalk policy is idealistic and not very practical.

"It's not perceived as necessary (by developers) because we've got along just fine without them for the past 50 to 60 years," he said. "To really use sidewalks you've got to have somewhere to go to."

And Utica Square is somewhere to go, designed to be friendly to both auto and pedestrian traffic. Just a bit north, is the medical corridor connecting St. John's and Hillcrest. Cherry Street is within walking distance, too. And a large number of bus routes converge on the 21st and Utica intersection.

What Reynolds is spouting is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you design a city so that walking somewhere is impossible, citizens will become increasingly dependent on having a car and driving dozens of miles a day just to go about everyday business. Sidewalks aren't enough in themselves -- there need to be a mixture of uses within walking distance -- but without them we can't create a more walkable, sustainable city.


Paul Tay said:

Hey, Bumgarner, yer CHEAPSKATE. We let you off da hook, every stinkin' 'veloper git off da hook. Hey, Reynolds, they wuz saying da same crap about the Interstate System back in da day. Just wait for $10 gas and you'll soon be OFF YER FAT ASS AND WALKIN'.

Hey, I hate sidewalks to nowhere too. But, they better than NO sidewalks. How 'bout dat stooooopid SIX lane road between 71st and 81st on Yale, and then, the TWO lane road to 91st? Genius, ain't it?

Build the damn sidewalk already and shut yer cheapskate TRAP.

Paul Tay said:

I am left wondering when the Poop will hit the fan...AGAIN. He seem to be the type who ALWAYS overstays his welcome. Cute campaign sign with the beady eyes.

Jeff Shaw Author Profile Page said:

Thanks for keeping up on this. We need sidewalks. As a willing convert to mass transit, over the last year and a half, I have found fewer needs for my car. We've put +/- 3,000 miles on our car in a year and a half. I just don't need it for work week business. However, nights and weekends are a different story. What would help on nights and weekends sans mass transit? Mixed uses within walking distance. We need the sidewalks.

In East Tulsa I see people walking on the sidewalk all the time. Along 129th East Ave, they walk on the grass where there is no sidewalk. I've seen mothers try to push their child's stroller through the mud. When there is a culvert, they have to go up on to the street. Mr. Reynolds, try telling them they don't need a sidewalk.

Twatch said:


Does this mean you are a George Bush Globalist and
an UN Sustainable Development - Central Planning advocate?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 8, 2006 12:40 AM.

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