We who spent 15 years of our lives fighting for Union Station well understood that, without it, a real, comprehensive, regional rail system would be impossible in our lifetimes.
We also understood that its destruction was being plotted by the state Department of Transportation and those behind city and state political leadership, precisely because its reuse could have made the best new transit start in the West immediately possible at very low cost.
Union Station was not destroyed because it “interfered with the Crosstown.” The “New Crosstown,” to the contrary, was deliberately routed through Union Station to prevent cheap and effective development of non-highway transportation options for the people of the region.
These inescapable truths are now apparently finally beginning to dawn on even politically correct/bureaucrat-acceptable latecomers like Marion Hutchison and Bob Kemper.
Worse yet, it should be remembered that the Union Station terminal building was given to OKC by the federal government in 1989, via a mere $1.2 million mass transit grant.
That’s right: OKC got it “for nothing,” fully restored by a previous owner. ODOT is now charging us all probably a billion-and-a-half dollars to destroy its usefulness.After all, ODOT “statesmen” Neal McCaleb, Gary Ridley, David Streb and John Bowman had pronounced it “worth zero.” Now let the mad scramble begin for the billion-or-so new dollars and many years of precious time that will inevitably be required to attempt its replacement — not that it can ever actually be replaced — just as Union Station’s defenders warned for more than 15 years.
The unnecessary destruction of the Union Station rail yard with its magnificent, arterial-street underpasses; elegant, underground passenger and express-freight access to three passenger platforms; and endless room for expansion, was a bold, deliberate crime. ODOT and its bosses should be held accountable for this crime, since they were the willing tool by which it was treacherously carried out.
As to the rest of it, you can “mark it down in your little black book” that Bricktown is no place for a regional rail and bus transportation hub.
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