Office of the Mayor


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.

As a result of The Gathering Place, City of Tulsa staff has worked with the project team to plan for infrastructure to support the park. This includes reconstruction of Riverside Drive from 21st Street to 41st Street. Out of town visitors to this website may not know that Riverside Drive within Tulsa is about 10 miles of parkway and serves as a major thoroughfare for traffic between the southern edge of the Tulsa city limits to 11th Street, near downtown Tulsa.

Mayor Bartlett and Paul Zachary discuss the changes to the Riverside planRiverside Drive flanks the Arkansas River and is accentuated by trails used continuously by bicyclists, walkers, runners, strollers, transit users and skaters. The Tulsa Community Foundation, the same benefactor responsible for The Gathering Place, also financially supported the Tulsa River Parks Authority to provide lighting and expand the width of these paved trails. The private investment in Tulsa's crown jewels - Tulsa River Parks and the Arkansas River, is unprecedented and celebrated.

  • Recently, discussions took place regarding a sidewalk on Riverside Drive leading to the Gathering Place from the north. The public safety issues with the engineering plans were numerous, specifically for pedestrians, due to the speed at which motorists generally travel in the area today and the lack of adequate separation from the roadway. I made the decision to hold off on the sidewalk until we knew more about the traffic volume and patterns this new park would create for Riverside Drive. The park has numerous access points from existing trails on the west and east side of the roadway.
  • As citizens became more aware of the reconstruction project, they voiced their desire to include a sidewalk between 21st Street and the entrance to The Gathering Place, which will be approximately at 27th Street. I hosted a meeting to begin a dialogue within our community and listen to their ideas and concerns. Councilor Blake Ewing held a second meeting to moderate a public discussion.
  • Tree Lawn - for demonstration purposes only, no renderings are available at this time.We listened and I asked our City engineers, planners and traffic engineers to create a new plan for a sidewalk that would satisfy my safety concerns. The plan provides for immediate traffic calming and infrastructure options that will be put in place when the sidewalk is built during the road reconstruction this year. In addition, engineers identified several future traffic calming measures that can be implemented if needed. Plan revisions are within the current budget.

In summary, the plan employs a combination of methods to calm traffic in a scalable manner, including:

  • A tree lawn to give at least seven feet of distance between motorists and pedestrians
  • Driving lanes narrowed to 11 feet
  • Traffic signal/crosswalk at the main entrance of the Gathering Place near the 2700 block of Riverside Drive
  • Enhanced pedestrian crosswalks with clearly distinguishable striping and colored concrete pavement at intersections from 21st - 41st
  • Eight-inch curbs to minimize the risk of vehicles jumping the curb in the direction of the sidewalk
  • Extensive street striping and various types of signage to give motorists notice they are entering a park area
  • And as originally proposed, the speed limit will be posted at 35 mph
  • Installation of conduit during the construction phase to provide for future traffic signals, if needed

Best regards,
Dewey F. Bartlett Jr.


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.