Saturday, February 7, 2015

Runners, hikers, mt bikers everywhere. Where to park?

Yesterday, Jake and I did some exploring. I parked on the west side near the outlet mall site, and I was not the only one. There were 19 cars there when we got through with our run, 29 cars parked alongside the road near the old upper parking lot, 92 cars parked on the side of Elwood, 67th and 68th Streets, 115 in the main parking lot, and at least 20 cars parked in the grass. That's 280 cars. With an AVERAGE of 2 people per car, that's 560 people on the trailz on Turkey Mountain just at 3:30 pm. with all the people coming and going during the day, I am sure there were at least 1500 trail users here yesterday. It was 70°, and tomorrow (Sunday) it is also gonna be in the 70s.

A side note--two cops were walking the road issuing parking tickets. I think this sucks. Maybe they were just warning tickets--I hope so. It is wonderful that 1500 people come out to hike, run, bike, picnic, have family outings, and because of the lack of parking are ticketed. The way I see it, there are four possible solutions for this parking problem.

1. Expand the existing parking lot. There is enough unpaved land adjacent to the existing parking lot to double the amount of parking spaces. (I am not totally in favor of this as the sight of too much pavement makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit.)

2. Open the old parking lot at the top of the hill. It was closed because it’s a blind corner, but it they moved the entrance a little to the west, I think it would be safe.

3. Open the overflow lot that is off 71st. They could do that right now at zero cost. The concern is the huge trucks speeding down the steep hill. But if they simply opened it on the weekends, there would not be trucks on these days.

4. My favorite solution--buy/acquire the Parker property, put in a parking lot, bathrooms, and refine a couple of trail heads. And leave the rest of the 60 acres alone

Turkey Mountain is a hot spot right now. 1500 people yesterday loved their urban wilderness. They see the value in keeping it wild. Ask all 1500 of them, and you would get unanimous support for what we have, and at least 90% disapproval of the proposed outlet mall. I am sure of that. The powers that be need to know this. Call and email your city counselors. Keep abreast of the upcoming development. Join the Tulsa Urban Wilderness Coalition. Visit the TUWC Facebook page. Nothing will change if no one expresses the need for change. Let our voices be loud and clear.

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