Thom Found ‘Dead City’ On Arrival in Tulsa

When architect Bing Thom first came to Tulsa, he arrived unannounced to get a feel for the city.
It did not feel right.
“It was a dead city,” he said. “I came in 9:30 or 10 p.m. and there was not a single person on the street. I could not find a restaurant or get a taxi.”
Once here, Thom was ready to turn down members of the Tulsa Stakeholders Inc., promoters of The Channels river development proposal.
“There was nothing here (downtown). Then when I met them, I sensed they had this wanting. I am driven by impossible dreams. The more the difficult, the more interested I get.”
As he developed the plan, Thom admitted there was no connection to west Tulsa.
“We did that on purpose, because we want more ferry service. We want activity on the river.”
“Eventually, if the demand is there, we will build two more bridges across. But, I am for alternative movement other than the automobile.”
The community is similar to the globalization ongoing across the globe, he said.
“I think the whole issue of the automobile economy, is that the dead-end is in sight,” he said. “We have to find other ways to travel.”
In Vancouver, for example, automobile ownership has declined in the downtown core because of the growing density, he said.
“You need to create enough density so that then you can support public transportation.”
American is so spread out that currently it is not realistic for people to get rid of their car. “Not immediately, but it is starting in Vancouver. You are beginning to see it in San Francisco, New York, Toronto — in a number of cities.” ?

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