Office of the Mayor

bartlett150x1902015 State of the City

Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett, Jr., presented his 2015 State of the City to a packed house at the Cox Convention Center. You can read his full speech online, along with watching the videos:Be the ReasonThe Heart of Tulsa #BetheReason


Riverside Drive Closure

A Gathering Place for Tulsa will create a public gathering space for all Tulsans and become a cultural destination for the region. But with any transformational project comes growing and construction pains. Please read a letter from City Engineer, Paul Zachary as he addresses some of the questions we have received regarding the Riverside Drive closure for the construction of The Gathering Place and how safety was at the forefront of the decision for the road closure.

Letter to the Citizens of Tulsa

Re: Riverside Drive Closure
From Paul Zachary, City Engineer
July 13, 2015

City staff, consultants and Gathering Place officials worked for over two years on the planning, layout and coordination of The Gathering Place and Riverside Drive improvements. Safety was always at the forefront of our discussion. The decision to keep Riverside Drive closed between 21st and 41st for the two-year duration of the park construction was not considered lightly. We understand the closure causes an inconvenience for citizens who use Riverside regularly and we would have avoided the closure had it been possible. However, due to the multiple projects happening simultaneously, there is  no way to do so without jeopardizing the safety of workers, traveling public and the quality of the roadway.

Imagine this: 32,000 cars trying to make their way through a construction zone where two separate, 300-foot land bridges are being constructed over an adjusted alignment of Riverside Drive; building up the adjacent land of Riverside Drive 40 to 50 feet above the current street level; moving 450,000 cubic yards of dirt out of and around the Arkansas River for bank extensions into the River, above and below the Zink Dam, fill adjacent to Riverside Drive, and across Riverside to the former Blair land site; adding multiple, new large storm sewer outfalls to the Arkansas River; elevating Riverside Drive 8 feet at 3200 block; construction of two new bridges across Crow Creek; construction of 3,000 feet of 54-inch sanitary sewer along the west site of Riverside Drive; and rebuilding a new pedestrian bridge.

It would be physically impossible for motorists, pedestrians and contractors to safely move traffic through a construction zone of this magnitude.

This process is not going to be easy or painless and will be an adjustment for all of us, but our intent is to make the best of this temporary street closing and use alternate commuter routes. Our engineers will be monitoring and adjusting traffic lights on commuter streets, as needed. We are seeking feedback from those using alternate routes to let us know of specific problem areas and potential ways for improvements. As we dealt with closures in the past, we have found that after five to six weeks traffic flows began to divert more easily to alternative routes. We are hopeful this will happen with Riverside Drive as well.

The entire team of consultants, architects, engineers, construction managers, contractors, and representatives from A Gathering Place for Tulsa and the City of Tulsa take this closure very seriously.

First and foremost, we have the responsibility of ensuring that construction is held to certain specifications, guidelines and standards, and that the safety and well-being of the citizens and contractors is held above all else.

Secondly, we are minimizing the damage to new improvements, be it public infrastructure or a park component.  In the inception of The Gathering Place, it became apparent that in order to construct, many improvements to the public infrastructure were needed (i.e. roads, stormwater, water, and sewer facilities) and waiting until after construction of The Gathering Place would cause damage to park improvements. Likewise, there are park improvement components that would destroy new City infrastructure if built first. To eliminate damage to private and public investments, it was decided (and voter-approved) to fund the needed public improvements in the Improve Our Tulsa funding package that are adjacent to The Gathering Place. The improvements are being built in a coordinated effort. The risks of leaving Riverside open outweigh the inconvenience. The impacts from the temporary closing will ultimately be replaced by the benefits and positive impacts of The Gathering Place and the adjacent public infrastructure.


Putting the Brakes on Distracted Driving

Watch the Video

The City of Tulsa is leading the way in safety and is now one of the few municipalities in the nation to have a comprehensive distracted driving policy. Please watch "The City of Tulsa Puts the Brakes On Distracted Driving" video, produced by the Communications Department.

I also encourage you and your family to follow the City of Tulsa's lead and take steps to make your own vehicle a distracted-free zone, not only to save your own life, but the lives of others.

Best regards,
Dewey F. Bartlett Jr.

Revised Riverside Drive Plan Emphasizes Public Safety in Sidewalk Design, Traffic Calming Measures

Our community is excited and eagerly awaiting the construction of The Gathering Place on Riverside Drive. We are fortunate to have private sector partners such as Tulsa Community Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, demonstrate their generosity in many ways, from charitable giving to developing public projects that breathe new life into our city and improve our quality of life.

Riverside Update...


Make a Difference in a Child's Life Through Mentoring

January is National Mentoring Month and cities all across the nation are focusing on the need for more mentors in schools to help children and youth succeed in life.

Here in Tulsa, my wife, Victoria Bartlett and I have supported and promoted the Mentoring to the Max initiative since I took office. The Mayor's Mentoring to the Max awareness program pairs caring adults with children who need a little extra attention to help them lead successful, productive lives.

Mentoring makes a difference in our community and can positively impact our city's economic health. As Mayor of Tulsa, I'm committed to making sure our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need for future success.

Last summer, the City of Tulsa took the lead and adopted Emerson Elementary which is quite close to City Hall. Currently, 27 City employees are actively engaged in Emerson, serving as weekly lunch buddies, special guest readers and presenters (covering their field of expertise at the City). I'm excited about the opportunity we have as public servants to give back to our community and make a difference in these students' lives.

I also hope you'll join us in our mentoring efforts and do something great for Tulsa - share your gifts with a child to help him or her succeed in school and prepare for the future. It only takes an hour or so of your time each week, either individually or in a group setting. 

The time is now; make January the time to give back and nurture a child. Read more about Mentoring to the Max on our website.

Best regards,
Dewey F. Bartlett Jr.


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