The chief of the Tulsa Route 66 Commission is requesting $1.5 million in funds from the coronavirus-related American Rescue Plan for new directional signs and more parking spaces along Route 66 in the city.
Ken Busby, CEO of the commission, explained his reasoning to KTUL-TV in Tulsa:
“One of the things that we still hear from tourists to our city is I just want to make sure I’m on Route 66, I want to make sure I know where I’m supposed to be,” said Busby.
Busby says new metallic signs along the 28 miles of the highway in the city are part of a $1.5 million dollar plan they have cooked up to improve the mother road. The other part of the plan, parking.
“It’s not sexy, but it’s needed,” he said.
Mary Beth Babcock, owner of Buck Atom’s Cosmic Curios on Route 66, agreed that more parking would entice more travelers to stop, shop and photo-op.
On the east side of town, there is no public parking for the Route 66 Rising statue, something Busby says should change for safety reasons.
“People are stopping now and taking photos as they go around the circle. That’s just not the best and safest thing to do. We want to give them a safe place to pull off, take some great photos, and then continue on to explore 66,” said Busby.
The commission presented its proposal to the city a few days ago.
American Rescue Plan funds, by the way, can be used for tourism purposes. So there’s nothing odd about Busby’s request within the parameters of that aid.
(Image of the Meadow Gold sign in Tulsa in 2009 by Kari Sullivan via Flickr)