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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Streetcar celebration

OKC Streetcar

Mark Dec. 14 on your calendars because it will be a historic day for our city as the Oklahoma City Streetcar officially opens for business. The celebration will start at 10 a.m. in the heart of downtown Oklahoma City at the Business District Platform in the plaza of Leadership Square.

The grand opening weekend will be full of live entertainment, special promotions and family activities. Also don’t forget that the streetcar will be free through January 5! You can read more about the special grand opening events here.

The modern streetcar system was approved by voters in 2009 as part of the MAPS 3 package. As of now the streetcar is scheduled for 17 hours of service daily Monday through Thursday (7 a.m. to 12 a.m.) and until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturday nights. Service will run on Sundays for special events like Thunder games and conventions. There are two “loops” or streetcar routes. The main Downtown Loop, or “D Line,” is 4.86 miles long and will service all 22 stops and carry passengers through five downtown districts. The Bricktown Loop (“B Line”) is 2.04 miles long, will only service the southern portion of the route, and will run on Saturdays and during special events.

MAPS, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

MAPS 3 Update


The huge success of previous MAPS projects led to a vote in late 2009 that approved of a one-cent sales tax to pay for debt-free projects that improve our quality of life. MAPS 3 consists of eight different projects; several of the projects have been completed, and the last project is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

  • The MAPS 3 Convention Center to replace the current aging convention center is located directly south of the Chesapeake Energy Arena. This new center will help the city stay competitive in the lucrative convention industry for years to come. A 200,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 45,000-square-foot meeting space and 30,000-square-foot ballroom are all included in the $288 million budget for the convention center. Construction is underway on this cornerstone of the ongoing Core-to-Shore renaissance in downtown OKC, and it is expected to open by June 2020.
  • Construction is also underway to the immediate west of the new convention center for a 70-acre urban oasis christened Scissortail Park. Design plans for the park call for everything from a café and sports facilities to a lake and nature trails. Scissortail features two sections, a 40-acre north section scheduled for completion in 2019 and a 30-acre south section projected to be complete in 2021.
  • In a transformative moment for public transit in OKC, a budget of $131 million is being put towards linking major employers, businesses, attractions and residences in the downtown area. Construction for the modern streetcar transit system can be seen at a number of route sections along with safety testing at others in preparation for the streetcar service to begin this December. The streetcar project will connect Midtown, Automobile Alley, Bricktown and the Business District.
  • The State Fairgrounds hosts more than 200 trade shows and other events throughout the year, including several equine events that helped Oklahoma City earn the title of Horse Show Capital of the World. MAPS 3 added to the appeal of Oklahoma State Fairgrounds with the Bennett Event Center. Its design makes for a state-of-the-art flexible facility capable of comfortably accommodating a wide variety of shows and events. The 279,000-square-foot event center was completed in 2017 and its operations are in full swing.
  • Senior Health & Wellness Centers will connect OKC’s seniors with important services and also with each other. Two of the four planned centers are completed, with the third to be completed in 2019 and fourth in 2021. The centers will be spread around the city and have experienced operating partners in senior services.
  • The Oklahoma River has become an Olympic rowing destination, so MAPS 3 expanded on current operations by building the RIVERSPORT Rapids whitewater rafting and kayaking center along the river with additional improvements to existing rowing facilities. The whitewater park is suitable for beginners enjoying a summer weekend or elite kayaking competitions.
  • Former Mayor Mick Cornett emphasized a healthier community during his tenure and the MAPS 3 trails and sidewalk improvements promote a more active lifestyle by taking advantage of OKC’s natural beauty. Three trails were developed using MAPS funds: West River Trail was completed in 2015, Will Rogers Trail was completed earlier this year and Lake Draper Trail is set to be complete this fall. The trails wind through wetlands, wooded areas, natural landscapes, neighborhoods and more urban settings. MAPS 3 sidewalks are planned for the areas with a high demand for pedestrian amenities.

Stay up to date on all MAPS 3 news by signing up for the MAPS 3 newsletter or following the efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Oklahoma River, outdoor recreation, parks, public transportation, State Fair Park, streetcar, community, downtown, MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

MAPS 3 projects are making progress

MAPS3 Streetcar delivery

If you have been around Oklahoma City for long, chances are you have heard about the Metropolitan Area Projects and how they have transformed Oklahoma City into the vibrant hub that it is today (we confess that it is one of our favorite topics). Right now, construction is underway on several of the eight MAPS 3 projects that voters approved in 2009. Read on for an update on the progress that is moving Oklahoma City forward.

MAPS 3 Trails
Because of MAPS 3, Oklahoma City is becoming better connected and healthier through the addition of three trails to the Oklahoma City trails system. The MAPS 3’s Will Rogers Trail opened in March and it connects Lake Hefner with the Oklahoma River – that’s 8.1 miles added to the trail system, and all but two blocks are protected for pedestrians and cyclists.

Also in March, city officials broke ground on the MAPS 3 Lake Draper Trail, which circles Lake Stanley Draper with a 13-mile path. The $12.6 million trail is expected to be completed this fall. The Lake Draper and Will Rogers trails join the 7.5-mile West River Trail, which was completed in 2015, in connecting thousands of residents, workers, shoppers and visitors to the growing Oklahoma City trails system.

Oklahoma City Streetcar
Have you noticed all the construction in downtown Oklahoma City? While it may be inconvenient now, those growing pains are leading to the completion of the MAPS 3 Oklahoma City Streetcar, the future of public transit in Oklahoma City. The first streetcar was delivered to Oklahoma City in February and testing has already begun on the completed rails. Want to see the streetcar for yourself? The public is invited to the MAPS 3 OKC Streetcar open house on March 30. The first 300 people get a free streetcar t-shirt at the event, which runs 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the OKC Streetcar Storage and Maintenance Facility at Southwest Seventh Street and Hudson Avenue.

Oklahoma City Convention Center
Conventions and events are big business in Oklahoma City. In fact, the hospitality industry is the third-largest in our region – and it’s growing. A big part of that growth is the MAPS 3 Downtown Oklahoma City Convention Center, which will replace the aging Cox Convention Center.

The new convention center and its adjacent headquarters hotel will allow Oklahoma City to compete for 80 percent or more of the events held in the United States, further developing the region’s hospitality industry. The $277 million center, which is projected to open in 2020, will feature nearly 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, a 30,000-square-foot ballroom and 45,000 square feet of additional meeting space. Oklahoma City Council has approved designs and opened the bidding process for construction is open, with the groundbreaking scheduled for later this year.

Can’t get enough of the debt-free public projects that are transforming Oklahoma City? Sign up for the MAPS 3 newsletter

cycling, MAPS, outdoor recreation, public transportation, running, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

MAPS 3 update

MAPS 3 Health and Wellness Center ribbon cutting

Milestone is the word of the week as three MAPS 3 projects have recently hit major landmarks in development.

First, the MAPS 3 Streetcar groundbreaking recently took place, and construction is underway with service projected to begin by the end of 2018. The streetcar will connect residents and visitors to downtown Oklahoma City districts and attractions, including Bricktown, the Myriad Gardens, Chesapeake Energy, Midtown and Automobile Alley. The main line and Bricktown loop will encompass 6.9 miles of track.

Second, the first of four MAPS 3 Senior Health and Wellness Centers recently opened, providing services that promote healthy and active lifestyles to Oklahoma City seniors. Construction on the second wellness center is underway and is set to open later this year with the third and fourth wellness centers set to open in 2019 and 2021 respectively.

Third, the preliminary design for the MAPS 3 Downtown Convention Center was recently approved, moving the project one step closer to its scheduled groundbreaking later this year. The convention center will be adjacent to the future MAPS 3 Park and south of Chesapeake Energy Arena with 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, 45,000 square feet of meeting rooms and a 30,000-square-foot ballroom.

Oh, and did we forget to mention the MAPS 3 Park will soon have its name? More than 3,500 name ideas have been submitted for the park, with a few already standing out from the crowd. The deadline to submit a name is April 7, so act now.

streetcar, downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Distinct downtown districts

Film Row

Fancy a night out on the town or local shopping just steps away from the central business district? Oklahoma City’s downtown area is made up of districts that each have their own unique flavor and fun.

  • Bricktown - Showcasing Oklahoma City’s renaissance comes naturally to this entertainment district. The former warehouses that once housed industrial goods now offer some of Oklahoma City’s best restaurants and nightlife. The easiest way to see all this district has to offer is by way of the MAPS-funded canal. This time of year, canal rides on the Bricktown Water Taxi take place every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (weather permitting).
  • Film Row - Film Row is just west of downtown and is on the cutting-edge of Oklahoma City developments. Equal parts historic and revitalized, Film Row was once home to the film distribution offices for Hollywood’s major studios. It’s now a mix of artistic businesses, locally-own restaurants and more. Be sure to check out the eclectic art collection of the recently-opened 21c Museum Hotel.
  • Automobile Alley - Located north of downtown along Broadway Avenue, Automobile Alley got its name from the number of automobile dealerships that were originally located here in the first half of the 20th century. Now local shops and restaurants make up this effortlessly walkable district. And the fact that the future Oklahoma City Streetcar will stretch through this district makes it even more exciting.
downtown, Film Row, museums, nightlife, restaurants, retail, streetcar, arts and culture, Automobile Alley, Bricktown
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Moving Made Easy: Transportation

business man on EMBARK bus

One thing that might surprise newcomers to the 4-0-5 is just how big Oklahoma City is. The city covers 620 square miles, making it one of the top three largest cities in America by land size. In a city that size transportation is crucial.

The good news is that Oklahoma City sits at the crossroads of three major interstates. If your preferred mode of transportation is automobile … well you won’t spend much time there. Out of the biggest 52 metros in the U.S., OKC had the third-lowest commute time.

As the population of the metro continues to grow, public transportation is also key. EMBARK is Oklahoma City’s bus system and has recently won a trio of prestigious awards. We also have a popular bike sharing program called Spokies.

One of the most anticipated transportation projects (heck, one of the most anticipated developments of any kind) is the upcoming MAPS 3 Modern Streetcar. The final route for the streetcar was recently approved, the streetcars are on order, and construction on the line is slated to begin this year.

If you are looking to travel outside of the metro, come home soon, but check out Will Rogers World Airport and the Heartland Flyer. The airport boasts seven airlines with 22 nonstop flights and the train makes daily trips to Ft. Worth (with connections further south) with several stops along the way. 

For more information on transportation in OKC our website is a great start.

streetcar, community, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Something for everyone

Lake Hefner Trails

If you prefer drier modes of transportation, there’s plenty of other MAPS 3 projects coming that will keep you moving and exploring our great city. From trails that will connect lakes Hefner, Overholser and Draper and the Oklahoma River, to a modern street car system that will link Bricktown, Automobile Alley, Midtown and the Central Business District, the momentum in OKC is unstoppable.

And the truly fun thing, is we are just getting started. In the coming years, we’ll add a fabulous 70-acre park in the heart of downtown OKC connecting the Central Business District to the Oklahoma River. Other additions will include a state-of-the-art convention center and hotel to be built south of Chesapeake Energy Arena as well as a new Expo Center at State Fair Park.

It's easy to stay up-to-date on what's happening with MAPS 3. Sign up for the MAPS 3 newsletter to stay informed about upcoming community meetings, groundbreakings and other progress.

Oklahoma River, parks, running, State Fair Park, streetcar, cycling, MAPS
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Setting the Streetcar Scene

Streetcar Rendering

Ding ding ding, the new streetcar system will make us sing! (Or at least cut down on our downtown car driving.) But truly, one of our most-anticipated MAPS 3 projects is the modern streetcar and transit hub. The initial six-mile system is hoped to jump-start a new era of clean mass transit and help connect many of the downtown area’s up-and-coming districts, workplaces, public amenities, and more. The project also provides funds to renovate the Santa Fe station into a new intermodal transit hub, where riders can switch from one mode of transit to another, in addition to providing a new pedestrian portal to Bricktown.

Curious about the route? Here’s a map of the approved framework, and here is a cool animation of what it might be like to ride. Phase I is scheduled for completion by 2018, with Phase 2 in 2021. (Wait for it…) All aboard! (You knew we were going to go there eventually.)

streetcar, downtown, MAPS, public transportation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Streetcar Stories

OKC streets 1900s

Speaking of streetcars, did you know OKC’s first streetcar system was actually installed more than 110 years ago? Putting in a streetcar system in the early “aughts” was difficult, but as a great man once said, “if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

All the “Back to the Future” streetcar jokes aside, in the city’s early days, OKC’s increasing density made public mass transit a part of its destiny. As Oklahoma City continued to experience ridiculous levels of growth after the Land Run (OKC’s population more than doubled – twice -- from 1890 to 1910), something other than horses and their requisite, er, “crab apples” was needed to get people and goods around the increasingly crowded urban environment in a clean, safe manner. City leaders had no interest in seeing citizens make like a tree and get out of here, so familiar names John Shartel and Anton Classen formed the Metropolitan Railway Company in 1902, and the following year electric-powered streetcars replaced beefarino-fueled raw horsepower as the transportation mode of choice for Oklahoma Citians. By 1911, interurban lines to El Reno, Norman and Guthrie were established, along with Moore and Edmond.

Want more? Our friends at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) have a cool interactive historic streetcar route map on their website, with equally awesome photos taken at different points along the various routes. Great Scott! Check it out, and get hyped for the MAPS 3 streetcar.

Oklahoma City history, public transportation, streetcar
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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