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Everything Else

The one where we discuss Midtown Tulsa’s extremely narrow streets

7:00 AM EDT on September 11, 2012

It's no secret that your girl Chelsea is a big fan of dear old Tulsey Town. The strategically planned highway system, the historic buildings, and Quiktrip are all daily reminders of why I moved back here after college. I grew up in south Tulsa, (or SoTo as the cool kids like to say) which is a delightful suburban haven, filled with chain restaurants, gigantic churches, and booster club signs in every driveway. Pretty much the perfect place to live...that is, if you're under the age of 18 or over the age of 35.

I'm certain that when I've finally had enough of sinking my hard-earned funds in rent expenses, I'll most definitely move back to my motherland. But as a recent college grad, I really have no business living my life at a place that's further than two miles from one of the many kitschy bars Tulsa has to offer. Thus my decision to move downtown, which of course lies adjacent to Midtown. I now do my grocery shopping at Whole Foods, and purchase flowers from Ted and Debbie's. I brunch on Brookside every single Saturday and Sunday, practice yoga at the Yoga Room, and take long walks at Woodward Park. I also suddenly wish I drove an Audi, sometimes pretend to be Catholic, scoff at "new money," and have developed a slight disgust towards any mansion that was built after 1975. I really hate admitting it, but the stereotypical pastey-white midtown Tulsa outlook has slowly crept into my psyche.

However, there are two things that I absolutely LOATHE about mid-to-downtown Tulsa enough to keep me from ever becoming a permanent resident of the area. A) the glaring lack of a Super Target or Walmart in the immediate area, and B) the freakishly narrow streets that line the district.

Seriously, what is up with the eight foot wide roads? Trying to travel across Midtown in a mid-sized SUV is akin to trying to fit a banana into a pencil sharpener. I shudder and pray every time an SUV passes me on my way to the Brook. I literally squeak in terror every time oncoming traffic approaches me. And as for bicycles? Forget about it. If you get caught behind a cyclist on Lewis or Peoria, you're pretty much stuck behind them until you reach your destination point. There's absolutely no way to pass a bike rider in Midtown without it resulting in some serious carnage.

Everyone thinks Midtown folks are all trendy and earth conscious, and drive Prius's and electronic cars because they're concerned for the world. I call bullshit. People drive compact hybrids in Midtown because they can't face the daily fear of a head-on collision with the idiot who tried to barrel down 21st street in a Tahoe.

Now, I'm not suggesting that the City of Tulsa try to fix these or anything, because we all know that will take a minimum of four years to cover one half-mile stretch. The construction on 75, the Broken Arrow Expressway, and along Lewis is more than enough for one condensed area to handle. I'm all for improvements, but not when they extend my morning commute time. That's at least ten minutes of waste that could be spent watching the Today Show, making heart-shaped pancakes, or catching up with my Australian pen pal.

Am I over reacting about the XS streets we're plagued with? Granted, I am a female, and half Asian. By nature I'm an awful driver, but I'm willing to admit that. But don't think I haven't noticed all of you Midtown natives taking Riverside even though it's out of the way, going five miles below the speed limit, or driving compact cars because you just "like the feel" of them. I'm on to you. You can pretend all day to love your $3 tomatoes from Whole Foods and traveling fifteen minutes just to pick up some lightbulbs and a new DVD box set. Sure, the anorexic roads might afford us a couple more feet of lush green manicured lawns, but well--they're sort of heart-attack inducing and awful.

Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock

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