Podcast: Heart of North Tulsa to Midtown and back

Podcast Introduction

Heart of North Tulsa to Midtown and back is a PTN Podcast based on December 12, 2022 when PACE TULSA NETWORK went on a typical Aero 700 BRT bus experience with the local public bus called TULSA TRANSIT.

The folks at Tulsa Transit are seasoned public transportation veterans. They are professional, courteous, and passionate about organized travel.

Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or paying fares.

Listen to PTN Podcasts on two platforms…

From the heart of North Tulsa to Midtown Tulsa, Oklahoma and back Episode 1

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Read Along While You Listen
A Northside to Midtown Tulsa experience

Introducing our PTN Radio cast

Today Pace Tulsa Network is talking about a typical Aero 700 BRT, Bus Rapid Transit bus experience. On December 12, 2022, PTN traveled on the 700 BRT to ask riders about their experiences using the MTTAs 700 BRT.

We were interested in finding out about the benefits or drawbacks from using the public transportation system in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Urban living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. From first hand experience, growing up in the City of Tulsa, makes you different.

There’s a pocket of cultural diversity in the city of Tulsa. Inclusive of international and domestic businesses. From local commerce to interstate transport there seems to be people of all races and colors doing business in the City of Tulsa.

Culture, art, history. There is a rich oil history in Tulsa, OK. The list of places we compiled include: Philbrook Museum of Art. Gilcrease Museum (Gilcrease Museum houses the largest collection of artworks and artifacts from the American West, as well as Central and South America.) Woody Guthrie Center (Woody’s folk music centers on diversity, equality, and social justice, and his songs were written and released in the 1940s). Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame (1988 as an organization that honors the state’s jazz, blues, and gospel musicians.), The Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, the Tulsa Historical Society & Museum and the Greenwood Rising.

The sights and sounds of Tulsa. You can see a lot of Native American influences in the architecture. In John Hope Franklin’s Reconciliation Park (You can learn about the sufferings of both Native Americans and African-Americans due to colonization, slavery, and racism.) Tulsans City Hall and our leadership is fairly modern and eclectic. Tulsa Performing Arts Center (Venues stages for over 500 events yearly, from ballet, Broadway shows, and comedies to concerts and operas) Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium (Celebrates and preserves Oklahoma’s rich history in aviation, extending its mission to the education of the youth about real-world applications of science.) Oklahoma Aquarium is a 72,000-square-foot aquarium famous for having the largest exhibit of bull sharks in the United States.

Photography of Tulsa. There are a lot of Photography groups where novice and seasoned professionals can get involved in creative exploration in Tulsa, OK. Some really interesting places to visit are: Centennial Land Run Monument. Texola Ghost Town. Talimena Scenic Drive. Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Natural Falls Waterfall. Shattuck Windmill Museum. Picher Oklahoma – Birth of a Ghost Town. Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge.

Urban Music of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some people say The birthplace of the “Tulsa Sound” comes from artists like (ex. Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Bob Seger)

Introduce Author & Founder of PACE TULSA NETWORK

He moved to Tulsa in 1979

We drove here in a Lincoln Town car from my grandmas. Which is ironic. During the pandemic I was evicted from my apartment and I went on the road, to live out of my truck for about 6 months. That’s another podcast episode in itself. Suddenly, I was immersed in gypsiedom.

Tulsa, Oklahoma is one of my favorite places to live.

You can mostly travel anywhere in under 15 minutes if you have a car. It would be just as simple to travel on foot depending on your health.

I have lived in a lot of different places. Some of them a little bit longer than others.

Other interesting places I’ve lived: MO, TX

I think Tulsa is fun too:

Most people don’t go out of their way to make living here impossible. (i.e., Gangs, corporate fraud and other power schemes.)

Because of the pace of the energy in this town. There is a sense of urgency, but a controlled quagmire of inspirations & modern developments.

People are smart and down to earth and don’t experiment with different strange and weird preoccupations.

A lot of North Tulsa was built and designed shortly after World War II. You can definitely travel to different neighborhoods and pinpoint the scope of residential occupations.

People here mainly are level-headed, so if something bizarre happens and someone is falsely accused… Most Tulsans know almost instantly (i.e., if its’ made up or part of some nefarious scheme to cancel someone people know).

I am a Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Certified Production Technician.
I have a technology background.
I dabble in internet marketing.
And I like to publish and author interesting content.

I am seated intellectually with the Manufacturing Skills Service Council (MSSC).

I have Certification in ProductionTechnology: Safety, Quality Practices & Measurement, Manufacturing Processes & Production, and Maintenance Awareness.

Also, I’m accredited with the American Traffic Safety Services Association and Certified Work Zone Flagger. I have a Food Safety Manager Certification with Serve Safe. When I feel like hitting the road, I have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

I have been online as a caudle utilizing a 90k member public safety network called PTN to spark interest and participation in public transportation safety. If I’m in a crowded space and someone is having a medical emergency I am certified in AED, CPR and First-aid.

What to Expect from Northside to Midtown Tulsa and back Podcast

We are expecting listeners to hear PTN explain situations, conversations and opinions, responding to passengers’ point-of-view.

PTN’ has surveyed a multi-variant mix of individuals during our short trips from the heart of North Tulsa approximately 49th St. North to Brooksides, 44th and S.bPeoria Avenue-Midtown Tulsa, Oklahoma and back.

Now it’s time for people to be able to listen in on t cavernous regions of explicit, but yet not so explicit secret converts lifestyles traveling 700 BRT Rapid Bus Transit in Tulsa Oklahoma.

Here are some interesting word count statistics about this podcast: This podcast has 2,371 words, 81 sentences, 9 minutes and 29 seconds of reading time, 18 minutes and 14 seconds of listening time.

On the morning of December 12th, 2022 at 10:00 a.m. I walk to the local SUPER TRIP convenience store across the street from McLain High School on 49th and N. Peoria Avenue in Tulsa Oklahoma.

We’re headed south to the Brookside library on 45th & South Peoria Avenue, so commuting using the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority (MTTA) public transit is convenient.

While planning our trip we noticed there are three different bus routes we can use.
From North 45th & Peoria to the downtown Denver Avenue Hub where Travelers can transfer to South bus lines to commute to the Brookside area where the Brookside library is located one particular route the bus rapid transit route 700 arrow is an Express plan travel route that more directly travels to the South Tulsa area.

Instead of a 45 minute commute it only takes 20 minutes one way.

When I arrive at the bus stop I waited about 10 minutes before the next 700 South bus route showed up that’s where I met respondent number one an African-American middle age retired service member
The ex-serviceman was waiting with me for the bus to show up.

While we waited he began talking about his day. He mentioned that he enjoyed taking the 700 BRT because he can get to destinations more rapidly, but he also said that sometimes the route does not cover enough of the North or South Tulsa destinations.

The ex-serviceman said he often left to wait a lot longer for the bus to arrive if he doesn’t get to the 700 BRT bus stop.

To get on board the bus for a one-way one with transfer, a single-pass travel fare costs $1.75 for regular passengers. Reduced bus ride fare for disabled passengers is half price. Special exception passengers (down on their luck faced with hardships) get discounted or courtesy rides at the drivers discretion.

We all decided to purchase 7-day ride passes for unlimited trips which costs $14. The other ticket available is a 30-day pass for unlimited trips for $45.

Once we boarded the bus and seated, we began our bus route to Midtown Tulsa.  Soon our bus driver started picking up other travelers from several bus stops along the way.

The cabin of the public bus started filling up fast.

The day was cold, cloudy and misty.  Luckily, almost all of the redesigned BRT 700 bus stops have gazebo style coverings with digital ETA display message boards, emergency call buttons and concrete benches for group seating.

The redesigned 700 BRT Bus Stop benches  are now covered with wood panel. For the most part, passengers can wait underneath the trellises partially covered  from rain, snow, and wind.

As the 700 BRT bus approaches 41st and S. Peoria about three blocks from Brookside Library, I pulled the stop cord.  A bell tone alarmed to signal the bus driver to stop at the next bus stop.

As we exited the bus, we noticed a message board which posted:  scheduling purchase booklets, coordinated meetings, and public upcoming announcements related to passenger and transportation events.  Near the emergency release hatches there are open Wi-Fi and mobile application  symbols indicating expanded networking capabilities.
Other public bus  traveler features at the crosswalk intersection of 41st and S. Peoria in South Harbor plaza include:  Hawk,  High-Intensity ATS modernized treatments. Immediately you notice clear reflective traffic markings and traffic control signs.

In addition to Hawk ATS treatments at the South 41st and Peoria intersection there are full-width sidewalks on both North and South sides if a four lane intersection with a center left-turn lane. There are also bicycle and pedestrian passing lanes indicating enhanced walkability.

We waited patiently on pedestrian crossing signals to coordinate and audible TTD for physically impaired passengers to activate.
While looking front-to-back, left-to-right, side-to-side and all around, we also noticed braille script plates for the visually challenged.

Meanwhile, double and triple-checking motorist driver behaviors to ensure our safe passage across the street.

We decided to walk from 41st & S. Peoria to take in some sights for four blocks out to the  Brookside library at 45th and South Peoria.
After an hour’s visit to the library.  We used a closer 700 BRT bus stop located across the street facing North on S. 45th & Peoria Avenue.

45th & Peoria Avenue has a protected and marked pedestrian crossing.with non-slip padding, weather guards, emergency call buttons; eta message boards; refuse bins; group seating; wheelchair ramps; braille; Auditory TTD; and rfid, traffic cameras, solar lighting,, left turn and pedestrian crossing sigmals etc.

Instead of walking back to 41st & S. Peoria, taking the North 700 BRT bus route across the street will save us time on our trip back to the heart of North Tulsa from Midtown.
As expected we only waited 5 minutes for the next 700 BRT to arrive.  However, there were two buses headed north with the same route number700 BRT Route number  illuminated on the marquis.

It appeared the first bus was taken out of service because of mechanical problems.
All of the passengers from the first bus in front were asked to offload and take the second bus in the back.

The offloaded passengers were not recharged for another trip, however they were required to verify with an onboarding ticket validated fair.

Once we all boarded the Northbound BRT 700 bus I was able to ask a passenger seated close to me about the experience they were having while riding the 700 BRT.

The second of five respondents said She was riding the 117 bus route in another part of town when a bus driver showed up late to pick her up.  According to her account the bus driver just kept driving without stopping.
She said she was taking her child to daycare and had been waiting a while, so she never expected to be left behind.

The second respondent explained, “This has to stop.  Bus drivers passing up passengers waiting on the bus at designated bus stops.“ She went on to say that she likes the rapid BRT 700 Route, however she doesn’t like the complaint process.   If for example a rider feels cheated or mistreated by a bus driver.  She said, “I work hard for my money and I expect fairness.”

Respondent number three was a young woman maybe in her early twenties.  She had long black curly hair.  She wore glasses. You could also tell she was a younger female by her expressions and her emotions and the way she was talking to her friend next to her, an older middle-aged female.

Respondent three says she is a student at Tulsa Community College and by this time it was around 1:00 and so she was trying to get downtown close to the college so that she can make it to class.

She commented that she likes the 700 BRT however she has noticed significant delays or non-scheduled routes and double buses and out of service buses or training buses passing her and other passengers at bus stops.
Respondent three said, “The bus drivers don’t stop to pick up passengers who have been patiently waiting on drivers to arrive.
She said, “Too bad it’s only the 700 BRT North/South Route and why don’t MTTA have another East/West BRT.

Respondent number four was a middle aged male. He had black hair and he wore glasses. He immediately explained that he prefers to walk.

He said, “Usually I’ll walk a job everywhere, but I’m always aware of where the nearest bus stop is located.  He said, what I’ve also noticed is that MTTA bus drivers are regularly late. And bus drivers may pass bus riders up.  He remarked there are a lot of mechanical or out of service training buses.

Respondent four remembers, “How one time a driver did not pay attention to his stop request. The bus driver drove passed his stop and had to drop him off a lot further from his destination.

Another interesting thing respondent four  noticed was that the ETA message boards estimated time of arrival are frequently not in service; they’re inaccurate or damaged.
He commented about buyer’s remorse and how everyone at first had high hopes for a new modernized and improved Transit accountability operation. As time goes on everyone sees that the modernized improvements are becoming inoperable or remain unserviced. 

He asked, “Why has the bus rapid transit system broken so soon”?

Finally, we reached the downtown bus stop near City Hall in downtown Tulsa Oklahoma.
The college students and several transfer passengers exited the already crowded North 700 BRT bus.

The bus was crowded because at 45th & South Peoria  two buses had to combine into one bus. Mechanical problems with another bus caused the transfer.

Now that a third of the passengers were about to exit the bus the noise level has decreased and there were more empty seats.
Passengers were standing because of limited seating.  Passengers adjusted positions for space security before reaching City Hal.
At the Denver Avenue Station Hub nearly 98% of the passengers exited the bus. 

An African-American homeless man carried his sleeping bag and commissary supplies in his arms as he boarded at the Denver Avenue bus stop.

He had a strong outdoors body odor and unkempt hair with ashy colored dark black skin.  His clothes were soiled.  You could smell his feet and shoes.  He wore an old blue baseball cap.  He had sleepy eyes and dirty fingernails. 

As he approached he began speaking out loud.  He commented that he finally panhandled enough money to board the bus.  He said he wouldn’t be on route for a long time, as he was headed to the assist wireless mobile phone company to purchase another SIM card.  Since he was on disability his sim card was discounted and he only had to pay five dollars. 

As I listened he described how he had been sleeping outside around people he trusted and his SIM card was stolen from his cell phone.

Hesitantly i asked respondent number five about his experience today.

As a passenger, he said, “I usually catch the 700 BRT as it is coming right from the downtown Denver Avenue Station right there on 1st Street, but often the drivers don’t stop for me.” 

He said, “Where he is headed next is  out north and  there is a lot of foot traffic, several construction projects and some of the bus stops are out of service. He then chuckled and said, “Because the 700 BRT is a faster route a lot of the homeless Indigent students and commuters enjoy the ease of boarding at service stops.” 

The frequency of the scheduled 700 BRT bus stops respondent number 5 noted, and “The convenience of having 700 BRT is why I ride. And also the quick pickups reduce foot traffic at housing project intersections.

Some of the known high-crime areas are extremely volatile, so “Being able to leave quickly is a blessing.”

Once the bus driver made it back to 49TH& N. Near Peoria near McClain High School, I pulled the stop coreld and had no problems safely exiting the bus.

Along the non-slip path to the doors there were clearly marked wheelchair accessible entry-exit doorways wide enough for wheelchairs, lift gates, and also the driver used air release brakes to park evenly against the curb.

I said, “Thank you” to the familiar portly light-skinned middle-aged African-American face, frequently driving the north-south 700 BRT Route and he responded, “Have a good day.”

Learn more about Aero BRT https://pacetulsa.com/2022/12/21/aero-bus-rapid-transit-route/

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