Riverside Drive protection major amendment on Tulsa Council agenda

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An ordinance to amend the "Bartlett Amendment," which requires Riverside Drive improvements to be a separate item on the ballot at capital improvements elections, is on the agenda for tonight's (August 8, 2013) Tulsa City Council agenda. The amendment would exclude Riverside Drive improvements between 2300 and 3400 Riverside Drive connected with the George Kaiser Family Foundation's "A Gathering Place."

The Bartlett Amendment was promoted by then-District 9 City Councilor Dewey Bartlett, Jr., at a time when developers were seeking to turn Riverside Drive into a six-lane parkway all the way from south Tulsa to downtown. The proposed parkway would have turned north on Houston Avenue to connect to the western part of downtown. Nearby neighborhoods objected to the widening of the road. The amendment made it unlikely that such a widening would be approved, as it would have to be unbundled from other capital improvements and considered separately.

The Bartlett Amendment already excludes certain improvements detailed in the 1993 Conceptual Plan for Riverside Drive and Houston Avenue, including side street tie-off and cul-de-sac construction, right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation, and the realignment and redesign of the dangerous and flood-prone Midland Valley Railroad viaduct just north of 31st and Riverside.

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Paul Uttinger said:

Riverside Drive is lumped in with the other "Street Widening/Expressways" projects, which total $88 million, or 9.6% of the overall funding package.

On Monday, I attended the public meeting at OU Tulsa for districts 4 and 9. A number of people spoke out against the "Street Widening/Expressways" portion of the proposal, saying that the $88 million ought to be directed elsewhere. I agree.

In fact, if the "Street Widening/Expressways" proposal is combined with anything else, I almost certainly will vote against it. I hope the council carefully considers how the ballot questions are presented. In general, widening streets is a bad idea, and in particular, extending the Gilcrease Expressway is a horrible idea. We need to fix up and fill in what we already have before building additional roadways.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on August 8, 2013 3:15 PM.

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