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Streetcar route passes City Council vote after contentious debate



Jeff Bezdek voices his disapproval of Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid\'s approach to the streetcar vote, at Tuesday\'s City Council meeting.
Photo by Mark Hancock

Almost two dozen citizens spoke against and in favor of the proposal, which created a 2 ½ hour discussion of the most controversial MAPS 3 project.

Councilmen James Greiner, Ed Shadid and Pete White voted against the proposal while Mayor Mick Cornett and Councilmen Larry McAtee, David Greenwell, Patrick Ryan, John Pettis, Jr., and Patrick Ryan endorsed the route. Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer excused herself from the discussion and vote because she owns property along the route.

Shadid, known for his public criticism of the project, said early in the discussion, “I’m going to go ahead and characterize myself as the loyal opposition.” Shadid, a mayoral candidate in next spring’s election, said he was apprehensive about the route because it will serve a limited number of people in the downtown area.

Instead, Shadid, White and Greiner favored an initial route that would have focused on serving the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. A proposed route extension is expected to touch the edge of the health sciences campus.

The 4.5 streetcar route will connect the downtown OKC transit center, Automobile Alley, Midtown, Bricktown, the future MAPS convention center and the future intermodal transit hub at Santa Fe Station. The route also will come within a block of the 70-acre MAPS 3 Downtown Public Park.

The $128 million streetcar system is expected to begin operations in 2017.

The route is considered a framework because there still are design options that must be determined including the specific connection to Midtown and whether or not Broadway Avenue will have a double track or form a couplet with Robinson Avenue.

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