"Howdy & thx for the comments-- here are my responses:
(1) Planning-- what planning are you talking about?
Maybe you're thinking about the enormous "anti-planning" round of spending on the interstate highway system during the Eisenhower administration that, together with the then new VA & FHA housing loan programs, facilitated the flight to suburbia and the undermining of many US core city economies. While there were garden variety zoning, development management efforts and federally funded inner city centric "urban renewal" programs also underway during the period you cite, none of these efforts had anywhere near the scale need to counter the overweening, centrifugal push of the federal highway project and postwar housing loan "drivers". Calling any of this these processes "planning" is bizarre;
(2) I'm afraid you missed the point of a good part of the essay-there are-- I repeat there are-- a host of light transit --and a bevy of advanced bus transit models (some originating as long ago as the mid '80's via the Urban Institues' "para-transit" experiments) that "work" without the heavy densities demanded by conventional transit. One of these, a relatively new one, is Bus Rapid Transit (which I mentioned in my article), it uses fast headways, intelligent routing and an ensemble of smaller & big bus fleet (CNG & electric) vehicles to make bus transit more compelling, and vastly more accessible without the huge physical disruptions, decades long land acquisition/construction cycles and astronomical capital costs inherent in contemporary heavy rail commuter projects;
(3) When regimes like Bus Rapid Transit (in use in several large and mid sized towns) are joined with automated vechicle location software, conventional smart phones and "on call" routing we may find ourselves on the cusp of a transformative unimagined in US transit ridership--and one that is a grand match for places like Tulsa;
(4) The other point, I suppose I didn't quite convey, is a stark one--- without a agile, fully capable transit option Tulsa is extremely vulnerable to a big "crash" in the wake of an explosive rise in the cost of gas--- the Tulsa World carried an article on this matter today (Thursday , June 11). And we don't have decades to come to grips with this scenario-- interestingly enough, some recent and very savvy Tulsa citizen polling on this matter suggests that our folks are surprisingly amenable to changing Tulsa area transport spending priorities to cope with this potential shock; willingness to support higher taxes to do this kind of project was much more mixed--although it too was amazingly positive;
(5) Green Country peeps would be hugely foolish to wait for events-- like the onset of peak oil-- to bring our region to a bonecrushing crisis economically and socially. And this "spot of trouble" will surely whack us big time if we fail to look right away at a range of surprisingly affordable "third way" transit options that not only break the supposed "iron" link between density and viability but go a long way toward crafting a sustainable, more nimble Metro--- this is what I mean by "seeing around the corner";
(6) Lastly, your conception of the rate of change in our society is out of date-- I would call your attention to science writer Steven Johnson's new book-- he argues, rightly , that we are witness to an astonishing acceleration in technological, social and cultural change-- you only have to think about the difference between the time from conception to wide scale adoption for, say radio (40 years) and smartphones (4 years) to see the evidence. Or we could look at seat belt adoption, interracial marriage rates, PC penetration rates or wide scale acceptance of gay people if you want social phenomena that evidence this speed-up.
If jobs, families and the fate of thousands of enterprises came down to how fast Tulsan's could adapt to $10- $15 a gallon gas I'd bet my ass you'd see an electrifying and fast re-population of midtown and a sea change in how we use transit, walking and bikes in this Burg!"