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Author Topic: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:  (Read 2922 times)

bugo

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #50 on: July 22, 2018, 03:10:47 AM »

You're fuckin' high. I'm convinced you're just a shitty troll. I don't think you have ever actually been to Oklahoma. You obviously don't know anything about this part of the world. As far as Lewis goes, I've seen dooley pickups thread their way through those narrow lanes with literally inches to spare. One slight miscalculation and you're in the other lane. Putting a stupid train track through there would back traffic up from the BA to 81st. I've heard of some ridiculous ideas, and your plan of putting a train track down Lewis is one of the most asinine proposals I've ever heard.

And Peoria south of I-44 is nearly as narrow if not as narrow as Lewis north of 41st.



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rte66man

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #51 on: July 22, 2018, 09:13:51 AM »

Having driven or ridden (is that a word?) on Lewis between 21st and I44 for nearly 60 years, I can attest to the narrowness.  No one wants to drive in the curbside lane because of the large dips for each storm drain.  I've driven everything from a Plymouth Arrow to a Ford Econoline 15 passenger van down Lewis.  ALWAYS had to firmly grasp the wheel with both hands.  It became marginally better when Tulsa widened the intersections at 31st and 41st as you could time passing bigger vehicles for those areas. 
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #52 on: July 22, 2018, 11:55:00 AM »

Having driven or ridden (is that a word?) on Lewis between 21st and I44 for nearly 60 years, I can attest to the narrowness.  No one wants to drive in the curbside lane because of the large dips for each storm drain.  I've driven everything from a Plymouth Arrow to a Ford Econoline 15 passenger van down Lewis.  ALWAYS had to firmly grasp the wheel with both hands.  It became marginally better when Tulsa widened the intersections at 31st and 41st as you could time passing bigger vehicles for those areas.

I'm starting to get the big impression that people 'round here don't get out and travel that much.  Lewis between 91st and 21st is something I drive twice daily.  It's perfectly possible to drive in the curb lane without hitting the stormdrains or leaving the lane without having to whiteknuckle it assuming your driving experience is practical and not just reading about it.  Anything wider or longer than that (like the transit buses and chassis cab box trucks) tend to go over where the striping machine cut the corner going around neckdowns if they're in the curb lane, and just over both sides in of the lane in the much narrower inside lane.

But even then, just shave off the lawns and parking lots if you need to fit better transit access down Peoria or Lewis.  Not like it hasn't happened at least twice already to make it as large as it is now.
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #53 on: July 22, 2018, 03:11:19 PM »

After about five minutes of hunting along Burnside to find where a train ran down the median, I found this GSV: https://goo.gl/maps/tw9C5t7iZLr. Also, good luck finding any aerial photography from that time period with a high enough resolution to see the lanes on that road.

And it's exactly how I thought. There is one lane plus a bike lane in each direction. It would appear that if there were no train tracks, there is enough ROW for four lanes plus a center turn lane, plus two bike lanes. So the light rail ate three lanes.

5 before, 4 after = three lanes difference?  I hope you went to private school, I'd hate to have paid for those math lessons.

The streets in Tulsa are too damned narrow as it is. Some roads are literally barely wide enough for a full sized pickup truck to stay in its lane. Take a drive on Lewis north of 41st if you don't believe me. Putting a fucking train track that nobody would even use would just make traffic unbearable. You're either trolling or you are insane.

Lewis could work similarly if you singletrack it between stations.  I drive a full-length C2500 from the 90s and live on Lewis; the lanes aren't anything atypical for cities (though I will grant lanes actually city-narrow are more of a Canadian thing than American thing).  Giving people modal choice would improve traffic on that street by itself, though I would tend to consider Peoria over Lewis just given where people live.

In either case, there's alternative routes every mile.  Even with Riverside shut down, Peoria isn't bad and 75 hasn't gotten any worse.  We have capacity to spare on the automotive front, and we have a lot of demand for active transportation that is nearly entirely unserved.
Mass transit has little or no impact on vehicle traffic and usually makes it worse.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #54 on: July 22, 2018, 06:00:27 PM »

After about five minutes of hunting along Burnside to find where a train ran down the median, I found this GSV: https://goo.gl/maps/tw9C5t7iZLr. Also, good luck finding any aerial photography from that time period with a high enough resolution to see the lanes on that road.

And it's exactly how I thought. There is one lane plus a bike lane in each direction. It would appear that if there were no train tracks, there is enough ROW for four lanes plus a center turn lane, plus two bike lanes. So the light rail ate three lanes.

5 before, 4 after = three lanes difference?  I hope you went to private school, I'd hate to have paid for those math lessons.

The streets in Tulsa are too damned narrow as it is. Some roads are literally barely wide enough for a full sized pickup truck to stay in its lane. Take a drive on Lewis north of 41st if you don't believe me. Putting a fucking train track that nobody would even use would just make traffic unbearable. You're either trolling or you are insane.

Lewis could work similarly if you singletrack it between stations.  I drive a full-length C2500 from the 90s and live on Lewis; the lanes aren't anything atypical for cities (though I will grant lanes actually city-narrow are more of a Canadian thing than American thing).  Giving people modal choice would improve traffic on that street by itself, though I would tend to consider Peoria over Lewis just given where people live.

In either case, there's alternative routes every mile.  Even with Riverside shut down, Peoria isn't bad and 75 hasn't gotten any worse.  We have capacity to spare on the automotive front, and we have a lot of demand for active transportation that is nearly entirely unserved.
Mass transit has little or no impact on vehicle traffic and usually makes it worse.

Well, that's a new theory.  Care to back that up?
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Brandon

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #55 on: July 22, 2018, 08:11:16 PM »

OK, since no one else has provided any photos of Lewis between 21st and I-44 (and I've never been to that part of Tulsa), here's a Google Street View of it:

https://goo.gl/maps/Xrp8eFjbe2G2
https://goo.gl/maps/A5MBQ3axfLP2

It looks like a lot of older streets here, and there's not much room to shave from the sidewalks or parkway between the sidewalk and street (if it even exists).
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #56 on: July 22, 2018, 09:00:42 PM »

It is indeed very narrow. It gets a lot of traffic as well. Removing two lanes and replacing them with train tracks that will never get used would cause major traffic problems and would be political suicide. It's simply not feasible and not practical. If anything, Lewis should be widened to 5 wide lanes. If you had actually driven this stretch (I live a little over a mile from it) you would see that it is too narrow as it is.

And train tracks through Brookside? BWAHAHAHAHAH! Might as well turn I-44 into a bike-only path. Oops, I just gave Baboon an idea...

What the fuck? And they say that the forum is not over-moderated.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 03:28:41 PM by bugo »
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US71

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #57 on: July 22, 2018, 09:48:49 PM »

Easy on the name calling. This goes for everyone.
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #58 on: July 22, 2018, 11:43:20 PM »

After about five minutes of hunting along Burnside to find where a train ran down the median, I found this GSV: https://goo.gl/maps/tw9C5t7iZLr. Also, good luck finding any aerial photography from that time period with a high enough resolution to see the lanes on that road.

And it's exactly how I thought. There is one lane plus a bike lane in each direction. It would appear that if there were no train tracks, there is enough ROW for four lanes plus a center turn lane, plus two bike lanes. So the light rail ate three lanes.

5 before, 4 after = three lanes difference?  I hope you went to private school, I'd hate to have paid for those math lessons.

Johnny has five apples. The city takes away three of his apples and gives him two oranges. How many apples does Johnny have?
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #59 on: July 22, 2018, 11:47:33 PM »

After about five minutes of hunting along Burnside to find where a train ran down the median, I found this GSV: https://goo.gl/maps/tw9C5t7iZLr. Also, good luck finding any aerial photography from that time period with a high enough resolution to see the lanes on that road.

And it's exactly how I thought. There is one lane plus a bike lane in each direction. It would appear that if there were no train tracks, there is enough ROW for four lanes plus a center turn lane, plus two bike lanes. So the light rail ate three lanes.

5 before, 4 after = three lanes difference?  I hope you went to private school, I'd hate to have paid for those math lessons.

Johnny has five apples. The city takes away three of his apples and gives him two oranges. How many apples does Johnny have?

Just because lanes might be reserved for a specific mode doesn't stop them from being lanes.  Giving people more options usually means people will tend to use those options when it fits their needs.  Taking away those options usually means everyone gets stuck making the same choice as everyone else because there's no other comparable option.  Hence why traffic got worse on I 635 after they took out the HOV lanes.  No reason to team up to avoid traffic anymore and the alternative toll lane that replaced it isn't worth the toll.
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Duke87

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #60 on: July 23, 2018, 12:30:49 AM »

Just because lanes might be reserved for a specific mode doesn't stop them from being lanes.

Fine, if we're going to get hung up on that technicality...

Johnny has five lanes usable by automotive traffic. The city takes away three of them and gives him two bike lanes. How many lanes usable by automotive traffic does Johnny have?


It's pretty clear from the context of the original comment that it is lanes usable by automotive traffic that are the subject of discussion. To act as though bike lanes should be considered equivalent is disingenuous, and to assert that people aren't capable of doing math because they recognize the difference is insulting to everyone's intelligence.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #61 on: July 23, 2018, 12:50:11 AM »

Just because lanes might be reserved for a specific mode doesn't stop them from being lanes.

Fine, if we're going to get hung up on that technicality...

Johnny has five lanes usable by automotive traffic. The city takes away three of them and gives him two bike lanes. How many lanes usable by automotive traffic does Johnny have?


It's pretty clear from the context of the original comment that it is lanes usable by automotive traffic that are the subject of discussion. To act as though bike lanes should be considered equivalent is disingenuous, and to assert that people aren't capable of doing math because they recognize the difference is insulting to everyone's intelligence.

That's the flawed assumption, though.  We're talking about an urban context here, the goal isn't to move cars, it's to move people and to move cargo.  You increase efficiency by providing additional access to transit and bicycle facilities.  It's hard to get less efficient than cars in the urban context, plan for delivery vehicles and workmen who have to drive to get things done.  People driving by themselves?  Afterthought.
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #62 on: July 23, 2018, 01:58:21 AM »

How much anything does a bike lane move when it's 110 in Oklahoma like it's been this week?
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bugo

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #63 on: July 23, 2018, 02:07:08 AM »

You have a political agenda and you concoct ridiculous proposals and outlandish ideas and you are willing to lie and make things up to further that agenda, reason and logic be damned. You never own up to your lies and untruths when you  are called out on them. You never admit that you are wrong.

You are hell-bent on removing automobile traffic lanes and replacing them with railroad tracks and bike lanes that nobody would use and you don't care how many commuters and motorists you harm in the process. If the local government implemented your batshit crazy ideas the city would grind to a halt. Traffic would become unbearable and commuters would sit in traffic for much longer than necessary and it would bring the quality of life down significantly. it would increase pollution while giving no real benefits.

You come up with looney ideas and silly proposals but you haven't once provided a pragmatic argument articulating why we should do this. You just think it would be neat to have choo choo trains bicycle lanes so you could ride your bike with training wheels all over town and you want to force your nihilistic vision on everybody even if they don't want it and it wouldn't benefit them. Your vision of a carless utopia with wide bike lanes and railroad tracks everywhere is nothing but a fantasy with no relation to reality. Come up with a detailed plan that would actually benefit working class Tulsans and give us a reason why we should do this and we'll listen to you. Until then you're just pissing in the wind. You say "what" but you have never said "why".

What would actually benefit the city would be things like new interchanges at I-44 and the BA, the BA and 169 and I-44 and US 75; improvements to the IDL and improved traffic signal timing. Empty bike lanes would just piss off motorists and make them resent bicyclists and would likely cause road rage incidents that would lead to the death of bicyclists.

I actually live in Tulsa which is something you have never proven. I have. I have to commute to and from work. I like to spend the least amount of time as possible commuting. I know that light rail would never work here and I have given reasons why it wouldn't work. I live about 15 miles from work and I work out in the country and s light rail system would have absolutely no benefit to me. Even if a train ran out this far I would still drive because I value my time and I like to spend his little time as possible commuting. As I've stated ad nauseam, Tulsa is not dense enough it is too sprawled out for mass transit to be practical.Tulsa is decentralized and doesn't have one single central business district, but rather many such districts scattered around the metropolitan area. Most Tulsans don't work downtown.

I'm not the only person who feels this way. A bunch of forum members have called you out on your lies and poked holes in your masturbatory fantasies. We make fun of and laugh at your ideas in the chat room and on Facebook. Come up with a "why" before you come up with ridiculous ideas.
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In_Correct

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #64 on: July 23, 2018, 08:56:27 AM »

So about my original question: They will just leave the turnpikes alone, and if development happens, hundreds of meters away from the turnpikes, but can still be seen while driving on a turnpike, ... those places will have to use the other roads such as S.H. 66, go to the edge of the turnpike, or use the nearest toll ramp in the middle of the turnpike? I checked again of the type of development approaching The Turnpike. It is mostly residential. They are not cut in half by The Turnpike. There are bridges over The Turnpike. But I suppose that if there is insufficient commercial development, there would not need to be exit ramps to them. The residential areas would not have a lot of traffic either.

Also, do the cities with Interstate 44 going through them encourage sprawl to the expressways instead?

Except Lawton, which has almost no development east of The Turnpike. The smaller towns also avoid development anywhere near The Turnpike.

About the reason to not build light rail because of the low population density:

I originally thought that if the cities limited the development near and along a Turnpike, the cities might increase population density.

But about the roads on Street View:

Those roads are too narrow to have what they already have!  :-o

If they get widened, they should have turn lanes and shoulders. And perhaps the existing lanes should be widened. And sidewalks. But there does not seem to be that much room to do any widening. Are THESE roads considered ideal to add bike lanes and light rail?!

I am a fan of light rail, but hate the light rail system in Houston. It sounds like some people want to have something even WORSE than that. The light rail should be grade separated entirely, and certainly never share the same lanes as automobiles. And it must be at least double tracked.

If somebody wants to build a light rail for Tulsa, build them somewhere else, not on those example streets.
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #65 on: July 23, 2018, 11:40:58 AM »

Seeing all these comments about bike lanes gives me an idea. There's a guy from NYC named Jason De Cesare who constantly rails about bike lanes on the various NYC and northeastern roads Facebook groups. I don't know him and am not friends with him, but some here might be. Somebody needs to invite him here.  :popcorn:
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #66 on: July 23, 2018, 07:52:32 PM »

Having driven or ridden (is that a word?) on Lewis between 21st and I44 for nearly 60 years, I can attest to the narrowness.  No one wants to drive in the curbside lane because of the large dips for each storm drain.  I've driven everything from a Plymouth Arrow to a Ford Econoline 15 passenger van down Lewis.  ALWAYS had to firmly grasp the wheel with both hands.  It became marginally better when Tulsa widened the intersections at 31st and 41st as you could time passing bigger vehicles for those areas.

I'm starting to get the big impression that people 'round here don't get out and travel that much.  Lewis between 91st and 21st is something I drive twice daily.  It's perfectly possible to drive in the curb lane without hitting the stormdrains or leaving the lane without having to whiteknuckle it assuming your driving experience is practical and not just reading about it.  Anything wider or longer than that (like the transit buses and chassis cab box trucks) tend to go over where the striping machine cut the corner going around neckdowns if they're in the curb lane, and just over both sides in of the lane in the much narrower inside lane.

But even then, just shave off the lawns and parking lots if you need to fit better transit access down Peoria or Lewis.  Not like it hasn't happened at least twice already to make it as large as it is now.

2 questions:
(1) - what vehicle do you drive?
(2) - what are you smoking?

There is ZERO room to widen Lewis between I44 and 15th.  Anything south of 44 on Lewis isn't relevant to the discussion as it doesn't have the same lane width issues.  Don't get out and travel much?  Not in this instance.

I would like to see what happens to anyone who proposes widening Lewis, especially between 31st and 21st.  The residents in that area have a LOT of pull at City Hall. I especially would like to see the reaction when it is explained the reason for a larger RoW is for mass transit. 
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bugo

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #67 on: July 23, 2018, 09:58:02 PM »

How much anything does a bike lane move when it's 110 in Oklahoma like it's been this week?

It's been awful. I work outside but luckily I work graveyard shift and am only out in the heat from 6 to about 10 when the sun goes down and things start to cool off. I also work in the shade. I can't imagine having to do hard physical labor during the hottest parts of the day.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #68 on: July 23, 2018, 10:59:17 PM »

How much anything does a bike lane move when it's 110 in Oklahoma like it's been this week?

Portland can probably give you the numbers on that, since it gets just as hot there.
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bugo

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #69 on: July 23, 2018, 11:00:08 PM »

2 questions:
(1) - what vehicle do you drive?
(2) - what are you smoking?

I'm starting to think he is just trolling. He can't be that clueless.
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Baloo Uriza

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #70 on: July 23, 2018, 11:01:32 PM »

Having driven or ridden (is that a word?) on Lewis between 21st and I44 for nearly 60 years, I can attest to the narrowness.  No one wants to drive in the curbside lane because of the large dips for each storm drain.  I've driven everything from a Plymouth Arrow to a Ford Econoline 15 passenger van down Lewis.  ALWAYS had to firmly grasp the wheel with both hands.  It became marginally better when Tulsa widened the intersections at 31st and 41st as you could time passing bigger vehicles for those areas.

I'm starting to get the big impression that people 'round here don't get out and travel that much.  Lewis between 91st and 21st is something I drive twice daily.  It's perfectly possible to drive in the curb lane without hitting the stormdrains or leaving the lane without having to whiteknuckle it assuming your driving experience is practical and not just reading about it.  Anything wider or longer than that (like the transit buses and chassis cab box trucks) tend to go over where the striping machine cut the corner going around neckdowns if they're in the curb lane, and just over both sides in of the lane in the much narrower inside lane.

But even then, just shave off the lawns and parking lots if you need to fit better transit access down Peoria or Lewis.  Not like it hasn't happened at least twice already to make it as large as it is now.

2 questions:
(1) - what vehicle do you drive?
(2) - what are you smoking?

1997 C2500 extended cab with the long bed, and nothing.

There is ZERO room to widen Lewis between I44 and 15th.  Anything south of 44 on Lewis isn't relevant to the discussion as it doesn't have the same lane width issues.

Sure there is, eminent domain some lawn.
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bugo

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #71 on: July 23, 2018, 11:05:24 PM »

How much anything does a bike lane move when it's 110 in Oklahoma like it's been this week?

Portland can probably give you the numbers on that, since it gets just as hot there.

Uh....

The average high temperature in Tulsa in July is 94F.
The average high temperature in Portland in July is 80F.

Where do you come up with this shit, Paul? Do you make it up? Do you even make an attempt to base your claims on reality? Or are you just a liar? Or as I've pondered before, are you just a shitty troll?
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Bobby5280

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #72 on: July 23, 2018, 11:35:20 PM »

Regarding light rail lines on city streets, obviously some basic geometry is being ignored with the "pro" argument of cramming a light rail line into a very tight space.

Doing that with Lewis Avenue in Tulsa is a non-starter. The zone between I-44 and Broken Arrow Expressway is predominately residential, which presents its own political problems. The ROW for this 4-lane street is narrow and any extra space is being consumed by the utility ROW and a single sidewalk. Even if just a single one way train track was built down that street two lanes would need to be consumed due to all the other things that come along with those rail tracks. 

Most light rail tracks are standard 56.5" gauge. But the trains themselves consume a significantly larger footprint. Street/trolley cars are going to be at least 90" wide. Light Rail Train rolling stock can reach widths of 10 feet or more depending on the seating arrangements of the train cars. Then there's minimum turn radius requirements. Street car rail lines can handle turn radii at or under 60'. Light rail trains need turn radii at least 85' due to the longer length of train cars.

Light rail train stations, even modest ones built at grade, eat a good chunk of space -a lot more than any bus stop.

When a LRT line is double tracked and built along an urban street the train line may take over exclusive use of that street. Bryan Street & Pacific Ave in downtown Dallas is an example of this. West 13th Avenue in Denver (West of downtown) is one example of a double-track LRT going down the center of what was a fully functional 2-way street. The train tracks carve a 36' wide footprint in the median. It's 77' wide from one edge of one side of 13th Ave over to the opposite edge. Lewis Ave ain't that wide. Plus the LRT along West 13th Ave has at least a couple grade separations and other barriers separating the rail line from vehicle/bicycle traffic. One grade separation is Wadsworth Station (50' wide, plus a 12' wide bike/walking path). West 13th Ave is almost useless to vehicles through that zone.

Quote from: In_Correct
Except Lawton, which has almost no development east of The Turnpike. The smaller towns also avoid development anywhere near The Turnpike.

Most of Lawton's population is West of I-44, but there is a decent amount of development East of the Interstate. By the way I-44 from exit 30 to exit 46 is not tolled. Some of Lawton's biggest homes are on the East side in developments like Eastlake and Shelter Creek. MacArthur High is on the East side and is Lawton's 3rd largest public school. Two large casinos draw quite a bit of traffic on their own. The Gore Blvd crossing over I-44 is a serious traffic choke point. There's 3 stop lights in short succession. I avoid that part of Gore Blvd anytime near rush hour. A SPUI would make a big difference there. If I had my way, I'd not only convert that interchange into a SPUI, but I would convert the signaled intersection with Laurie Tatum Road into RIRO turns with the median blocked. That would solve that traffic problem.

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Portland can probably give you the numbers on that, since it gets just as hot there.

Portland is not as hot as Oklahoma. And that's easy to look up. The all time high temp ever recorded in Portland was 107F (Aug 10, 1981). That city has posted high temps of 105F or above only 9 times. I personally know Lawton has had far more days of 110F+ heat than that. We've had 111F and 112F just this past week with multiple other days above 105F. Portland has never had a summer with over 100 days of 100F heat. I've seen it here in Lawton though (2011 being the most recent example).
« Last Edit: July 23, 2018, 11:53:04 PM by Bobby5280 »
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cl94

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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #73 on: July 24, 2018, 12:21:36 AM »

How much anything does a bike lane move when it's 110 in Oklahoma like it's been this week?

Portland can probably give you the numbers on that, since it gets just as hot there.

Uh....

The average high temperature in Tulsa in July is 94F.
The average high temperature in Portland in July is 80F.

Portland is not as hot as Oklahoma. And that's easy to look up. The all time high temp ever recorded in Portland was 107F (Aug 10, 1981). That city has posted high temps of 105F or above only 9 times. I personally know Lawton has had far more days of 110F+ heat than that. We've had 111F and 112F just this past week with multiple other days above 105F. Portland has never had a summer with over 100 days of 100F heat. I've seen it here in Lawton though (2011 being the most recent example).

False equivalence is something I see all the time on this site and it annoys the hell out of me. Just because it has hit 107 degrees in Portland does not mean Portland is as hot as Oklahoma. Not even close. That's cherry picking statistics to try and (falsely) prove a point and it is the number 1 thing that annoys me about most activists. Portland works as a bicycle mecca because they're one of the few major cities where temperatures are rarely extreme. The average summer maximum is in the low 80s and it gets below freezing relatively rarely. Few other places in the United States have a climate that stable.

Baloo, I'd really like to see your data saying Portland is as hot as Oklahoma. If it really is, there must be data to back that assertion up. Because the National Weather Service says otherwise.
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Re: Interstate 44 Turnpike Sprawl:
« Reply #74 on: July 24, 2018, 12:56:18 AM »

Portland's averaging 80 degrees in July?  When I was living there (1993-97) the average July temperature was about 74 degrees -- but warming seems to be doing its thing these days!  I remember about three days in August in '96 when it got to about 102-103 degrees each day -- but that was about it.  And hot summers were the exception to the remainder of the year; the place seems to get 180+ rain days per calendar year and is invariably overcast through the late fall and winter months. 

IMO, LRT should be reserved for those urban areas that have (a) a substantial amount of employment in the central core in relation to the periphery, and (b) zoning ordinances in effect that allow relatively dense development along the spokes of a LRT network.  Absent those two factors, attempting to deploy a rail system will likely be problematic in terms of both service area differentials and overall ridership.  Neighborhoods neglected by LRT will invariably whine that their needs have been shortchanged, even if studies show that ridership will be less than needed to warrant such service.  Now -- even if the city is fraught with narrow streets which would make LRT lines problematic (and B.U., eminent domain is best utilized sparingly and as a last resort -- otherwise, endless litigation will soon commence!), some sort of bus service -- preferably with electric vehicles -- could be safely substituted, provided some accommodation on streets with a bit of "surplus" area could be carved out for efficient intraurban travel -- i.e., a dedicated lane or two -- with some traffic signal coordination -- extending for several blocks at a time might work (it has in S.F. and parts of L.A.) to speed up bus transit enough to render it more attractive than a bus with constant and repeated dwell times at each intersection.  "Tweaking" the street network for more efficient bus movement rather than completely revamping it as a LRT system would require may be a solution for mid-sized cities with less-than-optimal traffic patterns and/or arterial networks. 

And -- for everyone's sake -- don't buy these huge-ass articulated buses with a turning radius similar to a cloverleaf ramp just to save a couple of bucks on drivers;  deploy buses appropriately sized for your street configurations!  Also, avoid trying to provide "saturation level" service (all streets have bus routes operating on a close schedule during daytime hours); this has been tried in several venues (particularly in greater L.A.) and while politically popular (give your constituents all the service they want), is an inefficient use of public funds (sorry.....your Aunt Annie will just have to work her schedule around a bus every 40 minutes rather than every 20!). 

LRT is popular in some circles because it favors up-front deployment capital coupled with lower long-term labor costs, while bus systems generally tend to function in the inverse.  But it's certainly not a universal panacea; it'll only work well in urban areas already physically amenable to such a network and willing to engage in such things as zoning alteration to provide a rationale for that network.  Something tells me Oklahoma, at least in the near term, won't readily -- or willingly -- provide those criteria.
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