West Side Pride
(re: Carnival of Hopefulness, March 28-April 3)
I would love to see an amusement park (Crystal City shoppig center) stay there. I love West Tulsa. This is where I was born and raised, and (I'm) still here after 47 years.
The Truth About Trains
(re: The Capitolist, March 21-27)
This article is quite intriguing but has some fundamental flaws -- primarily because its author is well-intentioned but ill-acquainted to railroading. Let me first say I am a 100 percent fan of the concept of passenger rail between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. And, I would add that such service needs to be part of an expanded network that connects to St. Louis and Kansas City to the east, and with the existing Heartland Flyer service to Fort Worth. That being said, the Sooner Subdivision is very challenged in providing passenger service. The existing alignment is full of curves and undulations that would prohibit "high speed" rail of any sort -- even if the tracks were brought up to modern-day passenger standards. I make no apologies when I say let it go. It has significant value as a freight railroad and would be better suited in private hands. At day's end, its passenger rail value is marginal at best. Those are the true realities -- not (Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director) Gary Ridley, not highways, not politics.
So is there a need for passenger rail and what could be done? The Turner Turnpike frequently pushes the threshold of its capacity and is a functionally obsolete roadway. OTA has done its best, but there's only so much you can do with late 1940s design standards. In the not too distant future, it will need a complete rebuilding. Whether it is rebuilt to four lanes or six lanes depends on practical alternatives -- hence passenger rail. Ideally, some form of modern high speed rail could parallel the Turnpike's alignment, which as we all know is very straight. Since passenger trains have less issues with undulations -- and there are a lot of them -- a parallel alignment with cut, fill or viaducts to achieve adequate rail grades is feasible.
Perhaps a more practical alternative is to seek utilization of BNSF's Avard Subdivision west from Tulsa to Perry, then south on their Red Rock Subdivision from Perry to OKC. A ton of money has been invested in these subs -- including additional sidings and most recently Centralized Traffic Control on the Avard. This is astounding in its own right, and would allow passenger rail speeds to likely approach 70 mph along many segments. It also puts Stillwater, Ponca City, Enid, Guthrie and Edmond within range of rail service.
I'm not sure a state railroad commission would be beneficial or not. What I do know is that there are many transportation questions that we will need to answer in the coming decade or so ... we need to do its smartly and without name calling.
--A.W. TempletonLoose Lips
On March 27, 2013 the ABC Nightly News broadcast information concerning the new head of the CIA clandestine unit.
ABC gave the gender of the person, age range and a city where the person served overseas. Although this information can be acquired by foreign intelligence agencies, we should not be helping them identify our intelligence personnel.
During World War II we safeguarded information which could have benefited the enemy and jeopardized the well-being of our military and civilian government personnel. We operated on a "need to know basis." A phrase describing the secretiveness of information was "loose lips sink ships".
Since World War II the media has had increasing access to our military planning and operations in the cause of transparency and in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, and government agencies have been too willing to provide information to reporters and others. The media does not seem able or inclined to refrain from disclosing sensitive information which could hurt this country. It seems all they care about is the "scoop".
Our federal government agencies and the media have to do a better job of not disclosing information which could place people and operations in harm's way.
--Donald A. Moskowitz
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