Warm temperatures in store ahead of cold front

First streetcar arrives in downtown Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY - The first of seven streetcars just arrived on Tuesday morning in Oklahoma City.

The shades of pink across the streetcar symbolize the red bud tree and is a sweet way to greet residents the day before Valentine's Day.

The MAPS 3 streetcar made the long journey from Pennsylvania with people capturing its travels along the way.

"Kind of a renaissance of travel that we used to have. I think it's a big day for mass transit in Oklahoma City and probably a change to a lot of people who live here,” said David Todd, MAPS program manager.

By the end of this year, the city hopes residents will take advantage of the $131 million project and fill the streetcars as a new way to travel across downtown Oklahoma City.

The east-west loop will run a little over two miles connecting the Chesapeake Energy Arena, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, Cox Convention Center, Devon Tower and the future downtown park and convention center.

The north-south loop will cover almost five miles and connect most of the Bricktown route, Automobile Alley, the Central Business District and Midtown.

Officials said a streetcar will come every 10 minutes.

"It will be a learning curve on how we interact downtown, riding the street car to a different part of the city to go to a game of those kind of activities," he said.

There won't be a dedicated lane, so drivers will have to share the road with the streetcar.

Right now, it seems everyone is sharing the streetcar construction headaches that have been going on for about a year.

Schlegel Bicycles, located in Automobile Alley, said it has seen a 25 percent decline in sales last month alone.

"We're taking it with a grain of salt and realizing it's going to be short-term, but it's something we've had to financially prepare for, and it is hitting us in our pocket-book at the moment,” said Steve Schlegel, the owner of Schlegel Bicycles and chairman for the board of Automobile Alley.

He also says there's been a lot of communication with the city about the process and what to expect during construction.

"We saw some significant downturn in our business last month, but we have kind of known about it for a while," Schlegel said.

He also believes the streetcar will be a welcome arrival for the area.

"I feel like it's going to be a positive. Bicycles for example are going to be allowed on the streetcar so it would be very easy to bike down," Schlegel said.

Lynn Crowe-Richardson believes there's a lot to be desired for the upcoming streetcar.

"I find it very hard to believe that locals are going to take an entire day to ride around the streetcar on certain streets that it exists on and stop at multiple locations,” Crowe-Richardson said.

The streetcars will be pink, Bermuda green and blue.

Beginning Friday, 10th and Broadway will close for about a week and a half for the construction. It will then be closed two other times in the next three and a half weeks.

For more information on the construction and latest updates, visit the city's website.