January 28th, 2014
View the Recording of the CentralOK!go Webinar
If you missed last week’s webinar discussing the details of the CentralOK!go Commuter Corridors Study, the recording is now available below. Please note that the audio begins in the recording at the 2:49 mark and the presentation begins at 7:30.
We encourage you to share this webinar with any interested parties. Those wanting to view the presentation slides can find them here. In addition, we have a post-webinar survey that you can complete after viewing the recording to provide your input on the preliminary alignments being studied: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/centralokgo.
The webinar was made available during the lunch break and was held to encourage feedback and comments from the public who may have missed the open houses held in November.
Project consultants with URS Corporation described the planning and research process and answered questions during the session. The webinar was designed to accept questions from the audience either through the webinar’s built in chat box.
The Commuter Corridors Study will consider multiple modes of public transportation for commuter service. Examples include commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit and express bus. A locally preferred alternative (mode and alignment) with the right fit for the riders and the region will be selected for each corridor later in the study, which is scheduled to conclude in June 2014. While the study will also examine funding options, there is no current revenue source available for a build-out of any recommendations.
The North Corridor stretches for 14 miles between Edmond and downtown Oklahoma City, the East Corridor is a 10-mile corridor that extends between downtown and Midwest City/Tinker Air Force Base and the South Corridor is a 17-mile stretch that extends to Moore and Norman.
Any registration questions or questions about the webinar can be sent via email to Webinar@ACOGOK.org.December 2013
Public Open Houses Offer Opportunities to Weigh in on Transit Possibilities
For four days in November 2013, local citizens of all ages braved chilly weather to find out about CentralOK!go. At four public open houses (in Norman, Downtown Oklahoma City, Midwest City, and Edmond), the CentralOKgo! project team explained the details of the commuter corridors study currently being conducted for ACOG. Those who attended the open houses got a chance to look at and discuss possible high-capacity transit options for each of three corridors being studied (along with the central downtown area).
These open houses widen the circle of those actively involved in CentralOK!go. This public input is critical in creating a transit system that meets the needs of the local community. Open house participants in November heard a brief overview presentation about the project and then walked around the room looking at exhibits that explained why CentralOK!go is being conducted, how the planning process works, and how stakeholder-developed goals and objectives were translated into criteria that were used to screen all possible alignments (routes) in each corridor.
The most important part of the open house was the map table where participants could look at the recommended alignments for all three corridors and fill out a survey indicating which alignment(s) they preferred, which mode of transit they thought would work best on those alignments, and where stations should be located within that alignment.
Overall most November open house participants agreed that high-capacity transit (e.g., commuter rail, light rail, bus rapid transit) can be an effective solution for improving mobility in central Oklahoma and found the open house to be helpful. In addition, most participants seemed to favor the commuter rail options along existing rail lines (BNSF and Union Pacific). However, people also suggested combining two or more alignments.
Those who missed the November meetings still have an opportunity to participate in CentralOK!go during a webinar scheduled for January 21, 2014 and in open houses to be held in the spring. People can sign in to the online webinar over the lunch hour and hear a brief presentation on CentralOK!go as well as ask questions of the project team. The webinar will be recorded and available on the project website after the 21st. People will be encouraged to fill out an online survey after participating in (or listening to) the webinar. Detailed instructions for signing up for the webinar are available on the project website, www.centralokgo.org.November 2013
Four Corridor Workgroups Offer Local Perspective
Beginning in July 2013, individuals who live or work in Central Oklahoma met in one of four workgroups (South, North, East, and Downtown) to begin learning about CentralOK!go and offering their opinions on how a transit network could be effective for the Oklahoma City area. These individuals represent a broad range of views, backgrounds, and interests, including local employers, civic organizations, neighborhood associations, local government, and others.
The first mission of the workgroups when they met in July 2013 was to review the goals developed for each corridor by the Regional Transit Dialogue (RTD) Steering Committee and add any of their own goals, as well as establish objectives for each goal. When they met in November, they were ready to look at the alignments recommended by the project team and modified with RTD input.
Workgroup members worked diligently to examine and talk about each of the recommended alignments and determine their preferences for transit mode and station locations. Members of all workgroups showed a strong preference for the rail alignments in their respective corridors. The East Corridor Workgroup’s first choice for an alignment was E1 the rail corridor. S1, the BNSF rail corridor was the South Corridor Workgroup’s first choice alignment, and N1 was the North and Downtown Workgroups’ preference.
Some of the issues raised by the South Corridor Workgroup included the need for service to the Crossroads Mall area, the Moore Activity Center, and the City of Noble. Participants noted that it might be easier to get commuters onto trains rather than buses. In the East Corridor, workgroup members emphasized the benefits of serving Rose State College, Tinker Air Force Base, and the Health Sciences Center. The North Corridor Workgroup met with the Downtown Workgroup and together they indicated a preference for rail and the need to serve Penn Square Mall, Chesapeake Energy, the State Capitol, downtown Edmond, Oklahoma City University and the University of Central Oklahoma.
The workgroups are scheduled to meet again in the spring of 2014.October 2013
RTD Steering Committee Reflects Community Preferences for Future Transit Options
The Regional Transit Dialogue (RTD) is a group that engages locally elected officials, policy stakeholders, private sector leaders, and the general public to talk about and plan for how transit can serve Central Oklahoma in the years to come. The RTD Steering Committee, which meets about every three months, serves as the steering committee for CentralOK!go, learning about the study as it progresses and offering guidance at every stage of the project.
The RTD began their work with CentralOK!go last spring when they identified goals and objectives for a transit system in the Oklahoma City area. Their umbrella goal is “Enhance the Quality of Life.” Beneath that that goal are four others.
Goals of the CentralOK!go project:
- Enhance regional connectivity and increase equitable access.
- Support economic development and shape growth.
- Provide a balanced and coordinated multimodal transportation system.
- Maximize regional participation.
The project team used those goals as well as objectives for reaching the goals to create an evaluation matrix. They applied the matrix in screening the various modes and alignments for each corridor or combination of corridors.
At the most recent RTD Steering Committee meeting (in October 2013), members were asked to review the results of the screening process that resulted in alignments recommended for more detailed study in each of the three commuter corridors. Their reaction included enthusiasm for some alignments, but also a desire to modify a few. The project team took all of this advice and revised its list of recommended alignments before presenting them to the corridor workgroups and the general public.
The RTD Steering Committee several more times to review the next phase in the planning process: a more detailed evaluation of each recommended alternative to determine which alignment makes the most sense for each corridor and the appropriate transit mode. This next stage of analysis will also consider station locations, potential for economic development around stations, ridership forecasting, and potential sources of funding. All of this work must be completed and public input considered before a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) can be identified for each corridor.