Traffic Calming Solutions Debut in time for Storytellers: Historic Home Tour 2017

The following blog entry has been written by Brian Parker, President of Brady Heights Historic District, Inc.,  the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 1980 to serve the Brady Heights Historic District and its surrounding community. He has served in that role since July 2014.

Today I am incredibly proud and happy to share news of progress with regard to traffic calming in our neighborhood. Thanks to our efforts in the past year, the City of Tulsa has painted striped parking lanes on both sides of N. Denver Ave. between W. Fairview St. and W. Marshall St. as the first step towards making our neighborhood safer for both pedestrians and drivers alike.

The motivation for these efforts came to a head when a young girl was struck by a car driving on N. Denver Ave. and had her leg broken as a result in the Fall of 2016. This created a renewed effort to address issues with traffic speed in our neighborhood, helped along by presentations by Jeff Speck regarding walkability in downtown Tulsa as well as by Chuck Marohn from Strong Towns.

It was those presentations that helped spark our own tactical urbanism experiment on March 25th, 2017, as we closed down a block of N. Denver Ave. for our "Chalk the Walk" event. Not only did this event allow a local 3D chalk artist to envision a creative crosswalk design, it also engaged members of our community to contribute art to the street and to experience the street as a safe environment when typically that is not the case. It also allowed us to explore with options regarding how the lanes of N. Denver Ave. could be reimagined to provide a safer environment instead of the existing conditions where the street width encouraged high travel speeds.

After "Chalk the Walk," we had an open meeting with representatives from the City of Tulsa and began to explore the next steps towards a more permanent traffic calming solution than chalk drawings. With the help of CEC Corporation, the contractor working with the City, we were able to get traffic counting tubes placed in our neighborhood in May 2017. The results were a confirmation of our fears as residents of the neighborhood, as you'll see in the slides below.

With a majority of traffic traveling in excess of the posted 30 MPH speed limit, we qualified to have traffic calming applied designed and implemented, but mechanical issues with the City of Tulsa's equipment saw us waiting until today to get the first step put into place.

From W. Fairview St. at the south end of our neighborhood to the traffic circle at W. Marshall St., we now have permanently striped parking lanes on each side of N. Denver Ave. These striped parking lanes not only give the impression of a narrower travel lane for traffic--which will hopefully slow the rate of speed--but they also indicated where traffic should not be parked near intersections, which will make it safer for traffic to come onto N. Denver Ave. from the various side streets throughout the neighborhood. There are also future plans for new crosswalks to be painted at the intersections of N. Denver Ave. and John Hope Franklin Blvd., N. Denver Ave. and W. Jasper St., and N. Denver Ave. and W. Latimer St. Although they will not be the wild alternative crosswalk designs we imagined in March, they will nonetheless draw attention to the pedestrian uses of N. Denver Ave. in our community.

So what is our next step? Well, after letting some time pass, CEC Corporation will come back out to the neighborhood and set traffic tubes down again. Once they've collected data with the striped parking lanes in place, we'll be able to make a 1:1 comparison between the speed of traffic--and number of cars--that we saw prior to the parking lanes and what we saw after the lanes were striped. If the traffic data shows better compliance with the 30 MPH speed limit, then we'll know that this striping has had a positive effect; if the traffic numbers are still a matter of concern, we'll have to come back to the table with the City of Tulsa and plan our next steps to make the street safer for everyone using it.

We hope that our guests for Storytellers: Historic Home Tour 2017 appreciate the progress made here as they tour the neighborhood.

Brady Heights Historic District Explores Art, Community, and Urban Planning with "Chalk the Walk" Event

It wasn't the warmest day in a March that has been abnormally spring-like so far, but on Saturday, March 25th, 2017, the Brady Heights Historic District community came together to celebrate "Chalk the Walk" and envision a safer future on busy North Denver Avenue.

With the short 900 block of North Denver Avenue closed down to traffic from 9AM to 3PM, local 3D chalk artist Amber Crismond got to work taking her unique crosswalk design and transferring it to the pavement of the road.

3D chalk artist Amber Crismond works on transferring a stencil of her crosswalk design onto the pavement as part of the "Chalk the Walk" event in the Brady Heights Historic District. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

3D chalk artist Amber Crismond works on transferring a stencil of her crosswalk design onto the pavement as part of the "Chalk the Walk" event in the Brady Heights Historic District. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

With the normally busy street closed to traffic on what would normally be a traffic-heavy Saturday morning and afternoon, residents began to brave the chilly air and cloudy skies. With no traffic and no parked cars, the full width of the street could be observed; at 40 feet wide, the result is a street with 20 foot lanes northbound and southbound for vehicle travel. Since 10 foot wide travel lanes are the recommendation for speed limits of 25-30 MPH (North Denver Avenue is marked for 30 MPH speed limit except during school zone hours when it switches to 25 MPH), the available lane space doubles that recommendation. As learned from the Jeff Speck Walkability Study commissioned for downtown Tulsa, wider travel lanes encourage traffic to drive faster, even if a certain speed limit is marked.

A view of North Denver Avenue that few people have seen; completely devoid of parked cars or vehicle traffic, the full width of the street can be easily appreciated. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

A view of North Denver Avenue that few people have seen; completely devoid of parked cars or vehicle traffic, the full width of the street can be easily appreciated. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

One of the first tasks undertaken by the residents saw the organization's Secretary and Tulsa Preservation Commission representative, Katelyn Parker, measure out and chalk a new take on parking and travel lanes for North Denver Avenue. Looking north on the street and moving from left to right, she chalked a 4-foot-wide dedicated bicycle lane on the west curb that would be protected by a new 8-foot-wide off-curb parking lane. The two travel lanes (one southbound, one northbound) would be 10-feet-wide each (necessitating a slight move of the center line from its present position), and finally a second 8-foot-wide curb parking lane on the east curb of the street. In theory, such a lane arrangement would allow protected bicycle traffic and also greatly encourage adherence to the posted speed limit.

North Denver Avenue as seen with chalk imaging a new travel lane setup. From left to right in the photo, the green line nearest the west curb marks the bicycle lane, the white line with red markings denotes the off-curb parking lane, the orange chalk line to the right of the existing center line marks the new center line between two 10-foot-wide travel lanes, and the last white line with red markings shows the on-curb parking lane on the east curb. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

North Denver Avenue as seen with chalk imaging a new travel lane setup. From left to right in the photo, the green line nearest the west curb marks the bicycle lane, the white line with red markings denotes the off-curb parking lane, the orange chalk line to the right of the existing center line marks the new center line between two 10-foot-wide travel lanes, and the last white line with red markings shows the on-curb parking lane on the east curb. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

The proposed change to the travel lanes will be reviewed at the April meeting of Brady Heights Historic District, Inc. on Saturday, April 15th, 2017, and potentially recommended to the City of Tulsa as an addendum to the existing request for a traffic calming study which was submitted in May 2016.

While this work was being done, neighborhood residents and children were able to entertain themselves by chalking their own designs on the street without concern of traffic interrupting them. Matthew Holland of local catering company T.W.'s A.F.A.B. was on hand to provide free samples of their Magic Mac 'n' Cheese and Artichoke Dip with Pita to help warm people up on the chilly Saturday morning. Organizational Vice President Dani Widell set up an inflatable bounce house for neighborhood children to use as well, and a sno-cone vendor did surprising business despite the cold temperatures.

A calavera design chalked on the street on North Denver Avenue by organization Board Member and Living Arts of Tulsa artist Mery McNett as part of "Chalk the Walk." (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

A calavera design chalked on the street on North Denver Avenue by organization Board Member and Living Arts of Tulsa artist Mery McNett as part of "Chalk the Walk." (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

In the afternoon, "Chalk the Walk" revelers were joined by neighborhood resident and member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives Regina Goodwin, also a cartoonist who contributed artwork to the event after coming back from sessions in Oklahoma City.

A cartoon face designed and chalked by Oklahoma House District 73 Representative Regina Goodwin during "Chalk the Walk". (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

A cartoon face designed and chalked by Oklahoma House District 73 Representative Regina Goodwin during "Chalk the Walk". (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

Finally, after nearly six hours in the cold, 3D chalk artist Amber Crismond's crosswalk design was seeing its finishing touches applied. The end result embodies another recommendation from Jeff Speck's Walkability Study for downtown Tulsa, where the city is encouraged to call upon the incredible artistic talent of its residents to imagine how crosswalks can become not just utilitarian pieces of pedestrian design but also artistic expression. Once North Denver Avenue was reopened to traffic, onlookers could see an appreciable difference as vehicles slowed down thanks to the unique design as well as the new lane pathing drawn in chalk.

The final product of the 3D crosswalk design created by chalk artist Amber Crismond and completed during the "Chalk the Walk" event. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

The final product of the 3D crosswalk design created by chalk artist Amber Crismond and completed during the "Chalk the Walk" event. (Photo © 2017 Brian Parker)

Although the next soaking rain will leave much of the "Chalk the Walk" design work washed away, the photos from the event will remain and there is hope that some of the ideas put to the street in chalk form will eventually see recommendation to the City of Tulsa to create a safer environment in the Brady Heights Historic District in the near future.

Brady Heights Historic District, Inc. would like to thank an anonymous donor for covering the rental costs of having barricades to close down North Denver Avenue during "Chalk the Walk". The organization would also like to thank all attendees at the event and the volunteers who brought the event together on a day where it would've been much more comfortable to sit inside with hot chocolate. Very special thanks to 3D chalk artist Amber Crismond for her passion about the project and willingness to work a very long day bringing her design to fruition on North Denver Avenue.

BRADY HEIGHTS HISTORIC DISTRICT ANNOUNCES HOLIDAY HOME TOUR

Tulsa, Okla. – November 28, 2016 – The Brady Heights Historic District of Tulsa has announced the homes and destinations which will be open on the 2016 Brady Heights Holiday Home Tour, which will be held in the neighborhood on Sunday, December 4th, 2016 from 1:00PM to 5:00PM.

The tour is a new effort from the neighborhood, which hosts an Historic Home Tour every other year and most recently in September of 2015. In contrast to the Historic Home Tour, the Holiday Home Tour is limited to either the main floor or living area of homes on the tour and is meant to show off the diverse decorations in homes from one of Tulsa’s oldest neighborhoods.

The Holiday Home Tour will also feature two Open Houses which have been recently renovated as well as an Art Sale.

Featured homes on the Holiday Home Tour include:

  • 716 N. Cheyenne Ave. (Open House)
  • 769 N. Denver Ave.
  • 907 N. Denver Ave.
  • 911 N. Denver Ave.
  • 919 N. Denver Ave. (Open House)
  • 1017 N. Denver Ave.
  • 1020 N. Denver Ave.
  • 1135 N. Denver Ave. (Art Sale)
  • 1156 N. Denver Ave. (Open House)
  • 217 W. Latimer St.
  • 1140 N. Cheyenne Ave.
  • 1151 N. Cheyenne Ave.

The 2016 Brady Heights Holiday Home Tour on Sunday, December 4, 2016, from 1:00PM to 5:00PM. The tour includes 11 homes in Tulsa’s oldest historic district. Tickets will cost $10 per couple ($5 per ticket). Guests under 12 years old are free. Tickets can be purchased on site at Centenary United Methodist Church, located at 631 N. Denver Ave. Proceeds will benefit community projects of the Brady Heights Historic District, Inc.

 

Quick Facts

Brady Heights Historic District

Holiday Home Tour

Sunday, December 4, 2016

1:00PM to 5:00PM

Tickets: Purchased on site at Centenary United Methodist Church (631 N. Denver Ave.)
$10 per couple, $5 per ticket.
Free admission for guests under 12 years of age.

Eleven living spaces featured on tour, including multiple National Register of Historic Places residences.

For more information about Brady Heights Historic District, please visit www.bradyheights.org.

2015 Home Tour Pics

What a wonderful tour we had this year and thank you to all who participated. Homeowners, volunteers, and of course our guests to the neighborhood  all receive a big thank you on behalf of the Brady Heights Neighborhood. I should tell you that our intention...

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Prizes Announced for 2015 Brady Heights Historic Home Tour Design Competition

Tulsa, Okla. -- July 30, 2015 -- The Brady Heights Historic District of Tulsa are pleased to announce the three prizes which will be awarded to the selected winners of the design competition held as part of their 2015 Historic Home Tour, scheduled for Sunday, September 27th, 2015.

One Grand Prize Winner will be selected by a judging panel of design professionals and will receive $450 along with being prominently featured at the design competition's vacant lot on the day of the Historic Home Tour.  Two Merit Award Winners will also be selected and will receive $225 each, as well as be featured at the lot during the tour.  The three winners selected will each receive four (4) free admissions to the Historic Home Tour.

The design competition is a partnership between Brady Heights Historic District, Inc., American Institute of Architects -- Eastern Oklahoma ChapterTulsa Foundation for Architecture, and Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa.  Generous contributions from these partner organizations makes it possible for these prizes to be awarded.

The full details of the design competition can be found at the 2015 Brady Heights Historic Home Tour Design Competition website.  Entries must be received by 12:00PM Central time (noon) on Saturday, September 12th, 2015.  Those interested in submitting a design are encouraged to email BHDesignComp2015@outlook.com and state that intention in order to aid with the scheduling of entry reviews based on the expected number of submissions.

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Contact Brian Parker, President, Brady Heights Historic District, Inc.

brianjparker@outlook.com

Welcome!

I'd like to thank you first of all for visiting our new website. We felt it was time to update our web presence and offer more resources to our community. You will find an updated history of Brady Heights, a very useful calendar of neighborhood and area events, preservation and architectural information...

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