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  • Cathy O’Connor

OKC Streetcar ribbon-cutting to kick off service

When it comes to the historic roots of our Oklahoma City Streetcar, writer Mark Twain’s quote about ideas said it best: “We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

The kaleidoscope of ideas Twain describes aptly represents years of work from the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, Embark, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority, the City Council, MAPS 3 staff and committees and the voters of Oklahoma City who have prioritized public transit. The significant work included a fixed guideway study, multiple opportunities for public input and many conversations about routes.

The state’s first trolley car system in Oklahoma City operated from 1902 until 1947. The original plan called for a 4-mile double-track loop around downtown, but by 1903, lines were extended as far north as 13th Street and as far east as Stiles Park. It radiated out from a central terminal at what is now Sheridan and Hudson and represented miles of rail, even connecting to nearby cities including El Reno, Guthrie and Norman.

The economic parallels to today are striking. Nearly a century ago, developers built along the streetcar route hoping to capitalize on riders working downtown or visiting stores and restaurants. We have the same opportunity today. Since 2011, there has been more than $1.6 billion in public and private investment along the streetcar route.

Read the full article at The Journal Record

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