POSTED ON DECEMBER 14, 2011:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
If this is the building I think it is, it pains me to say it, but it's a blight to the Whittier Square area ("Construction Completed," Nov 24-30 issue). Its' aims to help low income people are good and I am glad to see the services being provided but... Tulsa is trying, and should be trying to create more pedestrian friendly/transit friendly areas, especially for poor people who are often the largest users of transit in our city. Creating a pedestrian/transit friendly area means you build the building up to the sidewalk, and if you have parking, put it behind the building. This building does not do that. It adds another break in the pedestrian streetscape and hurts the efforts to make the Whittier Square area more pedestrian and transit friendly for everyone, including the poorest who need and use transit the most.
Every new building that goes in needs to help our budding, pedestrian friendly areas -- not do just the opposite and hurt them like this building does. On another note, if our new comprehensive plan was in place, this building would have not been allowed to be built with the parking in front of it like it has. Many people in the community worked to create that comprehensive plan. Many people in the community wanted to see the Whittier Square area become more pedestrian and transit friendly. Why the people who "placed" this building didn't care and basically flipped their middle finger at the efforts and desire to create a better, more pedestrian and transit friendly area, did this I do not know. But it's a shame. And this is not the only example of this type of "placing" going on in areas that really NEED good, effective, easily useable transit for the people who most need and use it. And then the sad thing is that so many then complain about how much transit costs and wonder why more people don't use it.
If you can't get to the transit easily and comfortably, and when you can't get off the transit and have an enjoyable, comfortable walk to lots of different places and services...people aren't going to use it as much and it will cost you a lot more to operate your transit (that's money taken away from other city services by the way). Design matters. Street design and placement of buildings matters. The people of Tulsa, of North Tulsa, have said as much. Why, again, the people who placed this building ignored that, have chosen to not make things better and more cost effective in this matter, baffles me. What a shame that something so obvious and easily done was so blatantly ignored.
In some agricultural and metropolitan areas, eastern Arkansas and central Utah for example, the water resources are literally being mined -- taken out of the ground at a rate faster than they can ever be replenished ("Aqua Marine," Nov. 24-30 issue). Some of it is fossil water, laid down in geological epochs far in the past, which can never be replaced. In the rice and soybean fields of eastern AR, the farmers have to pump from deeper and deeper depths as the water surface drops. And when this happens, the aquifer often compacts from the pressure of the overburden of earth, reducing its capacity to accept any new water, even if any is available.
To date, the water in an aquifer can only be replaced by rainfall in an area it can reach the aquifer by soaking into the earth. Perhaps the only other possibility is the desalinization of sea water, which will likely be possible only when new energy sources become very, very cheap. Note that Texas has a coastline and a possible future resource. If Oklahoma water is going to be sold to Texas, the contract had better be year-to-year, contingent upon excess supply being replaced by rainfall. Or Oklahoma will regret it, and possibly end up buying water from Texas in the future.
Tulsa is bound to become whatever the elitist mentality that controls Tulsa allows it to become, and if the elites are not the ones making money from it then they will not support it ("Is Tulsa Destined to Be the Next Indianapolis?, Nov. 24-30 issue). Oh, but maybe that was the old Tulsa and the new Tulsa will be the diamond in everyone's eye. Tulsa elites need to stop depending on public money to support construction of pet projects, and instead let the entrepreneurial spirit and capitalism bring forth profitable ventures.
--J. Devon Jones
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