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Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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Brookville "Liberty" streetcar 201802 crosses in front of 201807 (running wire-free), at NW 4th Street/Robinson. Photo by Peter Ehrlich, 12/15/2018.

Overview

Oklahoma City Streetcar, also known as OKC Streetcar or MAPS 3 Streetcar, is a 4.8-mile (7.7km) modern streetcar line that operates in a two-loop configuration. It runs from the Central Business District, with a loop in the Bricktown entertainment district, then north to the Midtown district. It uses seven Brookville Liberty low-floor streetcars that were built between February and October 2018. OKC Streetcar opened for service on December 14, 2018.

The idea of the Oklahoma City Streetcar was first conceived in a 2005 study on regional transit, called the Fixed Guideway Study. A local businessman promoted the idea in the MAPS 3 (Metropolitan Area Project Plan), and there was widespread citizen and voter support for a streetcar. MAPS 3, funded by a sales tax levy, was approved by the voters in 2009. A contract with Czech-based Inekon for five streetcars was awarded by the Oklahoma City city council in 2015, but later rescinded, when Inekon failed to provide financial-guarantee information. The contact was then awarded to Brookville Equipment Corp. A sixth and seventh car was added to the order later.

In December 2016, the city council awarded a $50 million contract for construction of the line. Total cost for the contract was $136 million. Work began in February 2017 and was completed in less than two years.

The line is owned by the City of Oklahoma City, and is operated by EMBARK, the Oklahoma City transit agency. Service is operated on the full line (called the Downtown Loop) seven days a week. The shorter Bricktown Loop operates (or operated) Fridays and weekends only, but was suspended for a longer period post-pandemic (at this time it is not known if the Bricktown-only loop continues to operate). Cars run about every 15-18 minutes.

In the first month of operation (December 2018), ridership was 75,520 passengers. There were three months of ridership above 40,000: January, June and December 2019, but most months have been in the 20,000 range. the twenties. All these figures were pre-pandemic. The system, however, carried its millionth rider on September 12, 2022.

One of the most significant benefits brought about by the opening of OKC Streetcar was the introduction of Sunday service to the city and entire metro area served by EMBARK for the first time since the 1940s.

As mentioned, there are two loops. The main loop (called the Downtown Loop) runs from the inner terminal, Myriad Gardens Botanical Gardens Park, at Hudson and Sheridan northward on Hudson Avenue, past the Library and the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. At NW 4th, the line turns eastward at the Transit Center, crosses the southbound track at Robinson, then turns northward again at Broadway Avenue. From here, the line traverses Automobile Alley, where many auto dealerships dating to the 1920s, were located. The line turns left (westward) at 11th Avenue, continuing into the Midtown District, terminating at Dewey Avenue. On the return trip, the line operates on NW 10th and Classen Drive to Robinson, where the line turns southward and goes through the Central Business District.

When the line reaches Sheridan Avenue, the Bricktown Loop begins, and the cars run on the Bricktown loop clockwise. From Robinson and Sheridan, they travel eastward on Sheridan as far as Joe Carter Avenue. Then there is a one-block jog to Reno Avenue, and the line turns westward again, passes the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, the baseball stadium for the minor-league Oklahoma City Dodgers. At Reno and Robinson, where the Chesapeake Arena, home of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, is located, the cars turn south for two blocks to NW 3rd Street/Scissortail Park, where the line turns westward and goes two blocks back to Hudson. Here, the line splits, with revenue cars turning northward to Myriad Gardens, and pull-in cars turning left (south) to reach the carbarn, which is located at S. Hudson and 7th, opposite the old Rock Island depot. There are two short turn loops on the system, both wire-free: one at Gaylord, on the Bricktown Loop (north to south) and the other at 5th, between Broadway and Robinson (east to west).

Portions of the line are wire-free. On the inbound trip, cars drop their pantographs at Law School stop on Robinson, continuing on battery power so they can pass under the BNSF tracks, to the Sheridan and Bricktown stop, where the pans go back up. They are dropped again at Santa Fe Hub stop to pass under the railroad again. The pans stay down all the way past Scissortail Park and on Hudson up to the Transit Center stop at 4th Street, where they are raised again. Although there is a short stretch of wire on the non-revenue trackage to/from the carbarn, the facility itself is also wire-free.

The seven Brookville Liberty cars are painted in different colors. Three of them are in “Redbud”, with graduating shades ranging from magenta to pink. Two cars sport the “Clear Sky Blue” livery, with varying shades of blue. Two wear “Bermuda Green” colors, in the three-tone dark-to-light progression. The midsections of all care are white.

Oklahoma City Streetcar was the last of four new systems that opened for service over an amazing six-week period in 2018. The other were Milwaukee (November 3); El Paso (November 9); and St. Louis-Delmar Loop Trolley (November 16).

Photo locations: Myriad Gardens, Library, N. Hudson/Kerr, Transit Center, NW 4th/Robinson, Federal Courthouse, Broadway Avenue, Automobile Alley, Broadway/NW 9th, Broadway/NW 10th, Art Park, Broadway/NW 11th, NW 11th/Robinson, NW 11th/Harvey, North Hudson, NW 11th/Walker, Dewey Avenue, NW 10th/Classon, Midtown, NW 10th Street, NW 10th/Robinson, Law School, Robinson/NW 6th, Memorial Park, Memorial Museum, Robinson/Kerr, Business District/Leadership Square, Robinson/Sheridan, Century Center, Sheridan/Gaylord, Bricktown, Sheridan/Oklahoma, Mickey Mantle, East Bricktown, Joe Carter Ave./Johnny Bench Dr., Ballpark, Bricktown Canal, Reno/Oklahoma, Santa Fe Hub, Arena, Reno/Robinson, Scissortail Park, Oklahoma Blvd/Hudson/SW 3rd Junction, South Hudson Non-Revenue Trackage to/from Carbarn, Maintenance Facility/Carbarn

Five Random Images

Image 160324

(585k, 1024x681)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Maintenance Facility/Carbarn

Image 160325

(544k, 1024x681)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Maintenance Facility/Carbarn

Image 160345

(594k, 1024x681)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Broadway/NW 10th

Image 160367

(698k, 1024x662)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Business District/Leadership Square

Image 160384

(528k, 1024x695)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Joe Carter Ave./Johnny Bench Dr.
     


More Images: 1-50 51-82

Links

OKC Streetcar (official site)

EMBARK Transit System (official site)

OKC Streetcar (Wikipdia)

Page Credits

By Peter Ehrlich.









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