Tulsa Transit

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The north Tulsa community of Turley now has a dedicated shuttle to replace fixed-route bus service it lost in November.

The Turley Connector will run every 30 minutes from the Tulsa Health Department to O’Brien Park, connecting residents with those locations, a grocery store and job opportunities.

"Not only is the service going to be much more comprehensive, it’s also going to be free. We’re able to do this through our CARES funding, and we will keep this going as long as we possibly can," said Tulsa Transit General Manager Ted Rieck.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Tulsa Transit is moving forward on a job shuttle for the U.S. 169 corridor.

The transit board approved an agenda item for it at a meeting Tuesday.

The shuttle will connect north Tulsa with the area north of I-244, where Amazon recently opened a distribution center and kitchen ventilation manufacturer Greenheck recently opened a plant. Tulsa Transit General Manager Ted Rieck hopes to launch it by mid-September.

Tulsa Police

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum signed an executive order on Thursday putting a curfew in effect for a downtown area covering several blocks around the BOK Center ahead of Saturday’s Trump campaign rally.

No one may be out in the area until 6 a.m. Saturday unless they’re going to or from work or home. The area stretches roughly from Sixth Street to Archer Street and from Houston Avenue to Boulder Avenue. That includes the BOK Center, so people planning to attend the rally cannot legally camp on the sidewalk outside.

Tulsa Transit buses will be free to ride a little while longer.

The transit board on Wednesday approved an extension of the policy through June, though General Manager Ted Rieck will most likely end after the first week of the month.

Rieck said Tulsa Transit buses have perhaps been busier than they should have under the policy.

"We have a lot of people who ride just to joyride, crowding out people who actually need to get somewhere on the buses. So, we believe by charging fares, we’ll control who’s actually riding the bus," Rieck said.

Tulsa Transit plans to change its temporary bus service in Turley.

The area has had limited service from a bus running an altered fixed route since November, when its dedicated route stopped running because Aero bus rapid transit started running the same route. Aero, however, stops short of Turley at 54th Street North.

A new shuttle will run every 30 minutes and reach O’Brien Park.

Tulsa Transit

Tulsa Transit’s share of federal coronavirus relief money is roughly $19.7 million.

General Manager Ted Rieck reported the allocation from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act to the transit board this week.

"This is a huge amount of money for us. It’s, like, 82% of our annual budget and three times our normal allocation," Rieck said.

Rieck's priority for the funding is offsetting an expected decrease in funding next fiscal year from the City of Tulsa as it deals with a 13% drop in general revenue.

Tulsa Transit has the green light from Tulsa’s city council to continue offering free fixed-route bus and Lift service rides throughout 2020.

Tulsa Transit implemented the policy last month to limit drivers' contact with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transit board will evaluate the policy monthly but will not need council approval for each extension.

Board members had hoped free bus rides would not lead to a sudden increase in ridership at a time people should be staying home as much as possible.

The $2 trillion federal COVID-19 stimulus package includes $25 billion for transit.

General Manager Ted Rieck said that’s good news for Tulsa Transit, as ridership has dropped sharply during the pandemic.

"There are provisions to offset revenue loss, I believe. So, while we still have to evaluate that, there’s reason to be hopeful that we’ll be in decent shape," Rieck said.

Rieck said they’re still figuring out what they might get from the stimulus bill.

Tulsa Transit

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we meet the lead consultant for Tulsa's Mobility Innovation Strategy, which will encompass new ways of getting around the city from Rapid Bus Transit and scooters today, to autonomous and connected vehicles in the near future.  Kelley Coyner is the mobility innovation lead for the consultant firm Stantec, who has experience in government, education, research, and transit systems, and discusses the benefits of city investment in "smart transit," on vehicle and pedestrian safety, efficiency, environmental quality, and economic development.

On this edition of ST, an interesting chat with Tulsa Transit Interim General Manager Debbie Ruggles. In a joint appearance, City of Tulsa and Tulsa Transit officials recently announced a new bus rapid transit line for our community, which will run mainly along Peoria Avenue. It will be known as the Aero system. Service on the Aero -- which will run in rotation from Peoria and 36th Street North to 81st and Lewis -- is expected to start in Spring 2019.

Our guest on ST is Chuck Marohn, an engineer based in Minnesota and member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He's also the founder and president of Strong Towns, a nationwide media nonprofit that, per its website, supports "a model of development that allows America's cities, towns, and neighborhoods to become financially strong and resilient. For the United States to be a prosperous country, it must have strong cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, an interesting conversation with Gabe Klein, an entrepreneur and urban-development advocate who was formerly the DOT director under Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Chicago, and also the Director of the District of Columbia DOT under Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. Prior to working in local government, Klein worked at a few notable start-ups, including Zipcar. On our show today, he talks about his new book, "Start-Up City: Inspiring Private and Public Entrepreneurship, Getting Projects Done, and Having Fun." About this guidebook, Ray LaHood, the former U.S.

This evening -- Tuesday the 8th -- beginning at 6pm, Oklahoma Watch, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to both in-depth reporting and investigative journalism vis a vis public-policy issues, will host a free-to-the-public forum on the future of mass transit in the greater Tulsa area. The event will take place at the Central Center, near 6th and Peoria.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are talking about the Vision program, which was recently approved by the Tulsa City Council in unanimous vote, and which is now slated to appear on the April 5th ballot. Our guests are City Councilors Karen Gilbert (of District 5) and G.T. Bynum (of District 9), who both describe the Vision program in detail why also explaining why they think it's vitally important for voters to approve this program.

In several ways, obviously, Tulsa -- especially downtown Tulsa -- looks and feels much different than it did ten or fifteen years ago. Or even five years ago. Developments, improvements, enhancements, and refurbishments are occuring on many fronts. But what about the mass transit system that serves this community? On today's ST, another discussion in our series of interviews with organizations aiming to acquire funding through the Vision 2025 sales tax extension.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Bill Leighty, a longtime realtor in our community who's also served on the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission, the City's Transportation Advisory Board, and its Land Use Task Force. Moreover, Leighty is the executive director of the Smart Growth Tulsa Coalition, which he tells us all about on today's program.

On this edition of our show, we get an update on Tulsa's Regional Transit System Plan, which is also known as Fast Forward. The plan was adopted last year, in October of 2011, and operations are now moving forward on the first major enhancement to the current Tulsa Transit set-up. That first enhancement is a proposed BRT, or Bus Rapid Transit, that would run along the lengthy Peoria/Riverside Corridor (which is 20+ miles long, from Far North to Far South Tulsa).

Tulsa Transit Adds Buses to Existing Routes

Aug 21, 2012
KWGS News

Tulsa Transit moves to reduce the wait time at Tulsa bus stops. Six additional buses have been pressed into service on a half dozen-existing routes. Tulsa Transit General Manager Bill Cartwright says that will cut the wait time at some of the more popular routes.   

The routes are 100, 112, 210, 221, 318 and 471. Cartwright says those routes are scattered across the Tulsa metro area.                

The Cone-Zone Impact on Mass Trasnit

Jul 16, 2012
KWGS News

Everywhere you turn there are orange barrels and traffic cones in Tulsa. It is a big headache if you are trying to get from one side of town to another. It is even a bigger headache if you are a bus driver.

Tulsa Transit General Manager Bill Cartwright says often they are not aware of new detours. They post “Rider Alerts” on their website.

He says sometimes the route will be normal in the morning, but then be changed by the afternoon commute.

Transportation experts are looking at changes for the busiest public transit corridor in Tulsa. INCOG planner James Wagner says a study of the important and crowded Peoria/Riverside corridor is underway.

Community and business leaders and citizens are invited to public meetings next week to discuss the Peoria/Riverside needs. They will be held Monday at the Tulsa Tech Peoria campus, and Tuesday at the South Brooke Church of Christ.