Talking Headways Podcast: Oklahoma City Shapes Up

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This week on the podcast we’re bringing you the keynote address from the 2015 National Bike Summit, hosted by the League of American Bicyclists. The LAB’s Liz Murphy introduces Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who talks about how he took his city from being rated as one of the least physically fit to one of the fittest.

Cornett also discusses how people came together after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and how at one point a business told the city it would not locate there because “they couldn’t imagine employees living in Oklahoma City.” Hear his stories about losing weight, building bike lanes, and getting a second crack at a magazine that had shamed his city years earlier.

Cornett touts Oklahoma City as a place of change, and his speech takes us through all the ups and downs.

  • Boots

    OKC has come a long way in terms of the fact that there are actually bars, restaurants, cafés and an NBA team, but those are superficial changes. In terms of transportation, the vast majority of streets still don’t have sidewalks, only the streets near the NBA arena and the Devon Energy headquarters were remodeled, there is no bicycle infrastructure whatsoever (sharrows and painted lanes between vehicles travelling 40 MPH and parked cars are not infrastructure), the vast majority of bus lines stop running at around 18:00, parking is free almost everywhere, cyclists and even pedestrians are still yelled at by passing motorists.

    Regarding the claim that it’s now one of the fittest cities, take that with a grain of salt. All you have to do is go to the mall or any grocery store to see that’s not true (they simply started collecting statistics that allowed them to do so). Oh, an Mick Cornett? A smooth-talking businessman. Part of his “OKC Fit” challenge, or whatever it was called, involved his cardboard cut-out likeness on the light menu at Taco Bell. Right.

    Furthermore, we spent hundreds of millions widening I-40, essentially cutting off the north side from the south side of the city (Caucasian and Hispanic, respectively), and now the city DOT (literally run by asphalt producers and used car dealers, you can look up the membership) is planning yet another 8-lane “boulevard”, including two lanes of parking, less than a couple of miles from the recently remodeled interstate behemoth.

  • Ian Chronister

    All of Oklahoma is a hell hole, an unlivable flat, wasteland of republicans and chemical spewing industry.

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