What I advocate for MAPS 3 implementation:
The following are my suggestions – some of which are probably too expensive for the MAPS 3 budget (without federal grants), but are worth evaluating and, if feasible, submitting proposals to the DOT for added funds to assess the future transportation potential:
The boulevard created with the rerouting of the Crosstown Expressway should be named Legends Blvd. Bronzed inlays of famous Oklahomans should be embedded in the sidewalks along the periphery of the road to commemorate noted Oklahomans for their contribution to Oklahoma's history. This will be similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Blvd in Los Angeles. The sidewalk might be called “The Oklahoma Walk of Fame”.
The central park should be named Legends Park or Legends Central Park. Statues of famous Oklahomans should be placed along the sidewalks within the park. Bicentenial Park is not large enough nor popular enough to warrant additional statues.
I would like to see kiosks with video screens along the sidewalks of Legends Blvd and within Legends Park which would have user selected videos of the famous Oklahomans who have contributed to our history. This would bring history to life to visitors of the park. If possible, videos could be licensed from the Gaylord-Pickens Museum and would enable their outstanding videos to have much wider exposure than just within the museum.
The city should enact an outdoor billboard sign tax of $1000/day on any outdoor signs visible from the new Crosstown Highway or Legends Blvd. Two or three years ago, Mayor Cornett declared his intention that the new Crosstown Highway be billboard sign free. Within 6 months, 4 billboard signs were built. To this date, no outdoor advertising has ever been posted on these signs. I am sure the owner(s) hoped to grandfather in their placement.
If cost effective, PVT (photovoltaic thermal) panels should be placed on the roof of the new convention center to help power the center. PVT's produce twice the energy of PV panels, but at only 25% additional cost. If the PVT panels on the convention center save the city money, the city should consider putting PVT panels on the roofs of all city buildings.
If cost effective, wind turbines should be placed within Legends Park to provide electricity to the park, the convention center and supplemental power to city buildings. Some renderings of the planned park show wind turbines on the grounds of the park. Perhaps some of the wind turbines should be maglev (magnetic levitation), which will last far longer than traditional wind turbines. Advocates of maglev wind turbines even claim a possible lifetime of 300 years. Alternatively, direct-drive wind turbines are also state-of-the-art technology and need to be evaluated for placement in our new park.
I advocate access, where possible, for our physically challenged Oklahomans & want to be as inclusive as possible for their special needs.
As part of our park project, I would consider studying a series lift locks or elevator locks or a pulley system like at Whitewater Bay which might make it possible to link the boats of the Bricktown canal with the Oklahoma River. (I was told there is a difference in water level of about 30 feet.) We should consider building a stairway linking the statue park area of the Bricktown Canal with the boathouse area of the Oklahoma River for those of us who wish to walk between the areas. If possible, we might construct a curving rampway to provide access for our bike riders, elderly & physically challenged citizens at the transition area.
Public transit system: The nation is on the verge of implementing new transportation modes. To reduce our dependence on foreign oil, plug-in electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars are coming in the 2011-2012 model years. Cars that use CNG, if properly promoted nationally (i.e. if national incentives create a large network of CNG refueling stations), will also reduce the import of gasoline from other nations. Our Oklahoma City transit system can utilize technologies that have the potential to revolutionize our national transportation system. There are at least five technologies that Oklahoma City can elect to use that each, by themelves or in concert with each other, that could be implemented & make Oklahoma City a leader in changing the way our transportation is powered.
* supercapacitors or flywheel energy storage (hybrid braking system energy storage)
* wireless enegy transfer (PRIMOVE) through electromagnetic inductance to power electric vehicles
* RFID chips by vehicles and drivers to initiate & track electric usage
* magnetic levitation (maglev) which would make vehicles frictionless
As a feature which would be applied to the rails, I foresee an electrified rail system which would transfer power to the rails only when an RFID chip (as used to control tolls on the Oklahoma turnpike system and also to control book checkouts at all Oklahoma County libraries) is detected identifying the vehicle and assessing a charge to that vehicle for the power used as it operates on the system. Computers would track the power usage of the RFID encoded vehicle and the computers could possibly even control the vehicle based on traffic conditions and for law enforcement. Not only could public transit use the rails, but also private vehicles and trucks could use the power, alleviating the need for long lasting battery storage within electric cars, trucks and buses. The power is on ONLY when a vehicle is directly over the railing. These “smart” electrified rails might be standardized for our national transportation and expanded to the entire city, state, and nation. If incorporated into our highways, this system would allow buses, cars and trucks to operate on autopilot between cities. This concept is similar to a system alimentation par sol (APS) used in Bordeaux, France or PRIMOVE (inductive power transfer). For added security and in addition to the vehicle RFID, the vehicle operator might possess a personal RFID encoded card which would need to be inserted to operate a vehicle. This card would also be tracked by computers monitoring the transit system, so that vehicle usage and driver usage would be tracked separately. © 12-10-09 by John M Hite, retired, Oklahoma City (Update: after attending the first Project 180 briefing on 12/17/09, I learned that Oklahoma City's new transit system is planned to be powered from an overhead electric line (probably with an electrified track to complete the circuit). Overhead electric lines - whether one or two - are not aesthetically pleasing & are always eyesores. Here is more information from Wikipedia:
“Most rapid transit systems are powered by a third rail, but some use pantographs (or catenary) (an overhead wire system), particularly ones that involve extensive above-ground running. Hybrid metro-tram or 'pre-metro' lines whose routes include tracks on city streets or in other publicly-accessible areas, such as the MBTA Green Line, must use overhead wire, since a third rail would normally present too great a risk of electrocution. The only current exception to this is the new Bordeaux tram system which uses a system called alimentation par sol (APS) which only applies power to segments of track that are completely covered by the tram. This system is used in the historic centre of Bordeaux where an overhead wire system would cause a visual intrusion.” Note: This tram system was designed by a company now owned by Alstom Transport. From Wikipedia: “Alstom Transport develops and markets a complete range of systems, equipment and service in the railway industry. With a market share of 18% and sales of 5.3 billion euros, the company is number 1 in very high-speed trains” (including the famous TGV high speed trains), “number 2 in tramways and metros, and is among the leaders for electrical and diesel trains, information systems, traction systems, power supply systems and track work. Alstom Transport is present in 60 countries with 26,000 employees.”
Wireless energy transfer will possibly enable the transit system to safely transfer electical energy without interconnecting wires. This is the principle which RFID operates, but can be used to power transit systems and perhaps even our national electric car system. In 2008, Bombardier Transportation (with over 34,000 employees) created a wireless energy system (PRIMOVE website & PRIMOVE Brochure) to be used by trams and light rail. This system is what I hope can be adapted to allow all electric vehicles to be powered by the near field transfer of energy within the track. It seems like the safest and most logical technology that might work to revolutionize our transportation systems.
Supercapacitors or flywheel energy storage: The transit system should employ supercapacitors or flywheel storage within vehicles or the track or both. Supercapacitors give hybrid cars the ability to store electricity generated from regenerative braking. The same capabilities apply to transit vehicles. But the same energy can be stored by the track and cut down on the transit vehicles' weight. This makes sense as long as the track is electrically alive only when a vehicle is moving over it. If there is snow or standing water covering the electric circuit on the track, having electricity stored in supercapacitors, batteries or flywheels (within the vehicles) will allow transit vehicles to proceed for several miles without a direct electric charge. Recent articles: Supercapacitors to be tested on Paris STEEM tram or (alternatively) New York orders flywheel energy storage
The city should consider maglev (magnetic levitation) electric power for its transit system. Its advocates claim no wear and tear to the power train. A vehicle might last 100 years instead of 20 years. With all the starts and stops of the downtown transit and since the OKC trams operates on the street level, wheels are necessary. The maglev application could reduce the effective weight of the trams by as much as 85%. Also, if and when the system expands to Norman and Edmond, an express trip could be totally frictionless, with the tram hovering above the tracks for faster speed express trips. From Wikipedia: Maglev (transport)
An audio-video security system must be incorporated into park planning. We are going to build a very large park & we will need many emergency phones (or call-for-help buttons at security posts) and lots of camera surveillance at the park and in parking areas. The safety of our citizens and visitors is paramount.
Oklahoma City had a great community pool (actually there were two pools) for many years at Springlake Park. I would love to see another huge community pool constructed at our new central park and, if feasible, an easy way to enclose it so that it may be used year round, nights and during inclement weather. Perhaps a 3-walled enclosure building could be put on rails that would slide into a fourth stationary wall. When retracted during warm summer days, the 3-walled enclosure could house food vendors, shaded picnic areas and arcade machines available to pool users when not swimming or sunbathing. A fan/cooling system would need to be employed so the retracted building would be usable for food vendors, picnickers, and arcade machine users during hot summer days. The movable wall opposite to the stationary wall would probably swing open – perhaps barn door style or garage door style -- so it would not be blocked by food vendors' buildings or picnic tables or arcade machines' structures when the building slides in and out of the fourth stationary wall. Alternatively, that wall could be buried underground and lifted by hydraulics to complete the fourth side of the building. We could perhaps dub our new enclosable pool as the nation's largest movable building. I found one company which designs and engineers movable buildings: DP Industries. One problem with my idea might be designing a movable building able to withstand the Oklahoma weather.
If possible, I would love to see an extension of OKC's underground pedestrian tunnels between the central park, convention center (underground parking), and other new venues to help protect visitors from tornadoes and to allow easy access to the park for convention center visitors since a street will likely divide the convention center from the park. It might also be helpful to have the convention center be in fairly close proximity to the community pool (if it is built) to give visitors the impression of an active, vibrant Oklahoma City. Parking might be shared. The more underground parking that is built, the more beautiful that the central park grounds and the convention center will be.
John Hite, retired, Oklahoma City, website owner, email: see below
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More MAPS 3 coverage from the Oklahoma Gazette:
Officials: Downtown rail initiative in MAPS 3 can serve as future framework
If voters approve MAPS 3 proposal, Downtown could house $130 million park
OKC Mayor Mick Cornett plans to educate about $777 million proposal
Will OKC's decreased revenue change MAPS 3's final blueprint?
Former Mayor Ron Norick discusses how current MAPS proposal differs from first
Mayor prioritizes modern streetcar in OKC for MAPS 3
Some OKC entities stand to benefit in MAPS 3 proposal
MAPS 3 could bring massive central park to Downtown OKC area
OKC planning director answers questions about Downtown Park
MAPS 3 proposal includes $50 million for trails, sidewalks to improve walkability
By Stacy Martin, Associate Editor, The City Sentinel
Voters have been told that MAPS 3 would create a 70-acre park, a rail streetcar system and new convention center downtown, trails and sidewalks throughout the city, state fairgrounds improvements, wellness aquatic centers for senior citizens and upgrades to facilities on the Oklahoma River at the heart of the metro area.
Last updated 01-10-09. Web site owner & web page designer: John M Hite (Classen HS '67, OU '71)
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