TULSA -- A big change is coming to one of the most dangerous stretches of Tulsa roadways.
Plans to expand the two lanes of Yale Ave. between 81st and 91st have been in the works for years.
Holly Sweet, a south Tulsa resident, said, “Do we really need six lanes of traffic and a turn lane? That’s bigger than US-175.”
The city originally planned for three lanes in each direction and a turning lane, equaling seven lanes. But after much pushback from residents like Sweet, that plan could be changing to only two lanes in each direction.
Sweet said, “Whether the city decides to go with seven lanes or five lanes right outside my back door, the footprint will remain the same. The right-of-way is the same. The retaining walls are the same. It’s going to be the same little scoop out.”
Sweet says that will allow for a buffer between the vehicle travel lanes and the sidewalk, making it safer for pedestrians and avoiding what other sidewalk-street combinations look like.
She said, “I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to walk on 71st St. on the sidewalk. It’s terrifying. You can feel the cars. They’ll move the fabric right next to your arm.”
A number of the homeowners associations have held meetings with city leaders who sweet says have been receptive to shy away from a concrete jungle, adding “I think they ought to recognize these little subdivisions that want to keep the charm and want to keep the feel of this neighborhood and make it safe for travelers.”
City officials say there are two other major construction projects on the list ahead of this Yale widening project, so construction may not begin for another year and a half. When the time comes, the project would take at least nine months to complete.