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Route 66 News

Tulsa residents provide intriguing ideas for land under I-244

Tulsa residents offered several intriguing ideas to develop a piece of land under Interstate 244 on the west side of the Arkansas River during a public hearing this week.

It’s one of the last of the original Vision 2025 projects for Route 66. The Tulsa World reports the land involves two triangular tracts between I-244 and Southwest Boulevard (aka Route 66), with the historic Cities Service Station on the west and the historic 11th Street Bridge on the east.

Here is the list of ideas, which I’ve grouped from most to least intriguing, in my opinion:

  • Neon-sign park
  • Water-wall park showing the history of Route 66
  • Amphitheater or pavilion
  • Food-truck plaza
  • Spot that allows tourists to take selfies with the Tulsa skyline in the background
  • Overlook for the 11th Street Bridge
  • Xeriscaping
  • Rest rooms and water fountains
  • Parking

The newspaper reported the neon park, water wall, overlook and parking were the most popular suggestions at the meeting.

The winning proposal must not be distracting to motorists on I-244, and it should be complementary to the upcoming Route 66 Experience museum.

I favor the neon park, because a number of Route 66 neon signs have been saved by collectors in the city and ultimately could be displayed there. It also would be a nice companion piece to the Route 66 Experience.

If you have a suggestion for the space, you can email city planner Dennis Whitaker at dwhitaker(at)cityoftulsa(dot)org.

(Image of the 11th Street Bridge in Tulsa by Shane Burkhardt via Flickr)

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5 thoughts on “Tulsa residents provide intriguing ideas for land under I-244

  1. Eric Hayman

    I may just be being ultra cynical, but how safe would the neon signs be on a piece of unattended public land? And would they not, when lit, be a distraction to drivers on I-244? Please tell me I am wrong on both counts! The water wall sounds a safer bet.

    1. Ron Warnick Post author

      The distraction part is a non-issue because I-244 is up high enough, no one on it would be able to see the signs — unless they’re 20 feet off the ground or some other ridiculous height.

      As for security, I think motion-sensing video cameras would do fine to deter anything.

  2. ken rager

    Please locate food trucks in area not on the 11th Street Bridge. Leave it open for pedestrians, photographers and others who love it for it’s history. Thanks.

  3. Gary Coleman

    Also, from what I’ve seen, there could be multiple uses, too. For example, both a neon-sign park and an overlook for the 11th Street Bridge could be combined, making it likely that more people would stop at that location. And, if you included food trucks (that would add even more people).

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