Oklahoma City Council to consider transit hub study

Friday, September 9, 2011

by By Michael Kimball

The Oklahoman

Sept. 09--The Oklahoma City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider the historic Santa Fe Train Depot as the site of the MAPS 3 transportation hub.

Dallas-based consultant Jacobs Engineering will present to the council a study of the location and features of the transit hub. The study was managed by the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments in partnership with the state Transportation Department, the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and the city.

City leaders envision the hub as the nerve center for the MAPS 3 streetcar, Amtrak trains, possible future high-speed rail service and commuter rail service, buses, private cars, taxis and bicycles.

"It will be our Grand Central Station," said Doug Rex, director of ACOG's Transportation Planning and Data Services Department.

The study identified the railway depot, nestled between downtown and Bricktown, as the best place for the hub. The MAPS 3 transit subcommittee agreed, and the MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board voted to forward the recommendation to the city council.

"It's a gorgeous, historic art deco train station," said Jeff Bezdek, a member of the transit subcommittee.

The depot would have to be extensively modified and expanded to fulfill its intended new purpose.

The depot is owned by Bricktown Real Estate. Company President Brent Brewer said little discussion has taken place on the city's potential interest in buying it.

"Right now we're just letting the professionals make the decisions, and I guess if that's what they decide, then once they knock on our door we'll answer it and take it from there," Brewer said.

The study also identified other possible commuter rail corridors in addition to corridors through downtown from Edmond to Norman and from Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base previously identified in a 2005 study. The newly identified corridors include one that stretches to Yukon, one to Will Rogers World Airport and another along the Northwest Expressway.

(c)2011 The Oklahoman