- Ingvard Ashby
In its first month of operation, Oklahoma City Streetcar could take a cue from the U.S. Postal Service’s unofficial motto of “neither snow nor rain nor gloom.” The streetcar’s operations have been thwarted due to street flooding, icy conditions and clueless parking jobs from people who don’t know what it means to stay inside a white line.
During the “great snow storm of 2019,” the streetcars had to run a reduced schedule on battery power due to ice accumulation on the streetcar’s power wires. During the wintery weather, it serviced about half of its 6.9-mile loop, which is great if you want to ride around Midtown in a circle. Who hasn’t wanted to do that?
Another streetcar was delayed due to flooding after a street drain was clogged, proving that three inches of water was too much for our new civic toy.
The streetcar system drew the wrath of The Oklahoman’s Steve Lackmeyer, who took to Twitter to complain about long wait times in “dangerously freezing temperatures” on New Year’s Eve.
“It’s time for EmBark to get their act together on screen arrival times,” he wrote while tagging the department and streetcar’s Twitter profiles.
State Rep. Forrest Bennett brought up a good point when he compared the fancy new streetcars to the city’s venerable busing system. The streetcars are located mostly Downtown and Midtown with plenty of benches, digital wait times and access to retail for warmth. Many people who use the city’s public bus system do not have the same luxury.
While there are still kinks to work out of the streetcar system, it seems to delivering what city leaders wanted it to be: a nice story for when national writers come to chronicle the success of MAPS3.