Completion of Gilcrease Expressway will help Tulsa's future
BY World's Editorials Writers
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
1/15/13 at 3:11 AM
Mayor Dewey Bartlett and Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley held a news conference last week at the terminus of the newly opened, 2.2-mile segment of the Gilcrease Expressway, just northwest of downtown.
The new section extends from the L. L. Tisdale Parkway to North 41st West Avenue, and provides new access options for much of the northwest sector of town. The road was built as a two-lane facility with enough right of way to accommodate expansion to a four-lane road.
The fact there wasn't much traffic while the news conference took place wasn't lost on some observers.
It's true that sometimes, when a brand-new transportation facility opens up, it's not immediately over-run by motorists. One reason is that there isn't much access to the larger transportation system.
And while it's true there are highly congested parts of town that need transportation improvements, that shouldn't be a reason to ignore or even abandon the bigger picture. The Gilcrease Expressway, when (or if) completed, will close the outer loop around the city, providing a transportation system that links all four quadrants of the city.
As was explained in a recent briefing for the City Council, a completed Gilcrease Expressway will provide for the balanced and efficient movement of goods, people and services in this area; provide a river crossing that will help address mobility limitations in the system; improve multimodal access to employment centers; and provide better access to developments (and even spur developments) in the area. Completion of the project also will improve access to regional destinations, improve public safety, promote economic opportunity, reduce loads on the Inner Dispersal Loop and enable more travel along direct routes.
So we shouldn't let the low traffic counts at the moment cloud our decision-making. Completion of our expressway system is an objective that will make big differences in Tulsa's future.
Original Print Headline: Bigger picture