Diversity: Urban Living | Transportation
Education | Superior Health Care Resources
Like many communities around the country, Tulsa is experiencing a building boom in the older sections of town. Single-family neighborhoods and tree-lined suburbs will always appeal to certain homebuyers. Yet there’s a growing interest among baby-boomers and empty nesters alike in high-density, mixed-use development as an alternative to suburban sprawl. There’s also a cadre of urban pioneers who are reclaiming blighted buildings downtown and transforming them into loft apartments and town houses. The point is, Tulsa’s inner city is undergoing changes that promise the kind of diversity and innovation commonly associated with older parts of the country.
Still, outlying communities continue to beckon homebuyers looking for extra space and the serenity of country living. Along with easy access to shopping, health care and area attractions, communities along the urban perimeter boast the quickest one-way commutes. Ranked as the largest metro region with the second shortest commute zone in the nation, the average commute time is approximately 16 minutes. This allows residents to venture to work and return home much faster than their counterparts in Dallas, Oklahoma City, Houston and Denver. Convenient and attractive, these communities enable Tulsans to enjoy the amenities of urban living and the lifestyle of a small town.
The city proper encompasses neighborhoods with personalities all their own. No matter what part of town you call home, you’re in for an array of options and a quality of life that only gets better.
Just north of downtown lies a mixture of old-world charm and new, family-oriented developments. Glamorous houses in Gilcrease Hills and Reservoir Hill, once the homes of early day oil barons, reflect Tulsa’s colorful heritage. Further to the north is Tulsa International Airport. Owasso, a sleepy suburban community only a few short years ago, has become one of the area’s fastest growing communities and is a beacon for employees of American Airlines, Spirit Aerosystems, SABRE, WorldCom, Vanguard, and Whirlpool.
For decades, Tulsa has been growing south along the Arkansas River. Along with new housing and apartment complexes, new businesses and office buildings are constantly springing up. South Tulsa is highlighted by the 71st Street retail corridor, which features shopping galore and the convenience of Woodland Hills Mall. South of Tulsa, Bixby continues to experience a building boom in new houses and apartments. Known for is fertile soil, the Bixby area is home to sprawling vegetable and sod farms. Jenks, Glenpool and Sapulpa offer suburban living and plenty of room for horses. Tulsa is only minutes away via Highway 75, and expansion of the Creek Turnpike offers convenient access to the interstate highway system.
Broken Arrow has become Tulsa’s largest bedroom community with a population of more than 90,000. New housing, apartments and retail establishments are constantly under construction, blurring the line between the two communities. Broken Arrow residents have easy access to south Tulsa’s retail corridor and a smooth commute to downtown Tulsa via the Broken Arrow Expressway. Just east of Broken Arrow, the town of Coweta is also an attractive community with very affordable housing.
Communities to the west of Tulsa have seen rapid growth in recent years. The established City of Sand Springs is experiencing new housing developments in outlying areas. The Red Fork area reflects Tulsa’s oil-related and blue collar past. Further west, communities such as Berryhill and north Sapulpa offer new housing and apartment developments for Tulsa commuters.
New Home Construction
|2,400 square feet ||$195,512 (average price)|
|1,800 square feet||$146,634 (average price)|
|Source: ACCRA Cost of Living Index, second quarter 2004 |
|$386 ||one bed|
|$469 ||two bed/ one bath|
|$545||two bed/ two bath|
|Source: Tulsa Apartment Survey, mid-year 2004 |
by CB Richard Ellis/ Oklahoma
|Average Utility Costs* |
|Electric (basic local) service||$72.02|
|Gas (basic local) service ||$54.00|
|Telephone (basic local) service|| $23.84 |
|Water and sewer ||$32.63|
|Refuse service (curbside) ||$14.53|
|Source: direct contact with utilities|
* 1,800 square foot home
|2004 Estimated Median Owner-Occupied |
Housing Value, Tulsa City/ City Areas
2003 Estimated Median Owner-Occupied
Housing Value, Tulsa-MSA Cities
|Bixby city, OK|| $118,844|
|Broken Arrow city, OK|| $118,020|
|Claremore city, OK|| $86,955|
|Glenpool city, OK ||$79,059|
|Jenks city, OK|| $124,415|
|Owasso city, OK ||$114,434|
|Sand Springs city, OK|| $87,388|
|Sapulpa city, OK ||$73,637|
|Skiatook town, OK ||$68,593|
|Source: Tulsa Metro Chamber Economic Research and University |
of Oklahoma, Bureau of the Census
Just as the Greenwood district claims its unique cultural identity, so too do other groups that constitute Tulsa’s melting pot. From Native Americans to Hispanics and other ethnic groups, Tulsa is a microcosm of the diversity that is America’s strength. These distinct groups showcase their cultures at festivals and celebrations throughout the year. Newcomers and visitors find that getting into, around and out of Tulsa is amazingly easy for a city of its size. The city is laid out in a very user-friendly grid with north-south and east-west main arteries at one-mile intervals. Several convenient bridges over the Arkansas River offer access to west Tulsa and points beyond.
The metropolitan area’s highway system includes both heavily traveled interstates and convenient freeways and toll roads connecting all areas of the community.
Tulsa’s infrastructure is solid and expanding. Interstate 44, the city’s major east-west thoroughfare, separates north and south Tulsa. The well-traveled highway offers a straight shot to Oklahoma City to the west and Joplin, Missouri to the east. U.S. Highway 75 cuts through Tulsa from north to south and offers easy drives to Dallas and southeast Kansas.
Highway 169 is a major six-lane route for commuters. The north-south roadway offers easy access to south Tulsa’s retail corridor and Tulsa International Airport and the City of Owasso to the north. The Broken Arrow Expressway (Highway 51) is the main route for commuters coming into Tulsa from Broken Arrow.
The Creek Turnpike to the south now offers a south loop that connects with Interstate-44. The Gilcrease Expressway in north Tulsa will eventually circle around the city’s northwest region and connect with I-44.
Commuters in the surrounding suburbs enjoy a new section of the Creek Turnpike which runs 9.1 miles between the Will Rogers and Muskogee turnpikes and makes it possible for motorists either to circumvent the city or reach the heart of Tulsa with ease.
South Tulsans and visitors benefit from the completion of construction on South 71st Street widened to six lanes from the busy retail corridor at Highway 169 west to the Arkansas River. The extension and improvements to the Riverside Parkway make the popular and scenic road a convenient commuter connection for south Tulsans heading downtown. Funding from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation continues to enable communities throughout northeastern Oklahoma to improve their transportation infrastructures.
Mass transit is centered at a downtown hub of the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority. More than 20 routes bring bus services to most areas of the city. Tulsa’s Greyhound Bus Station located in downtown offers access to Greyhound’s national network.
Tulsa International Airport (TIA), located just minutes from downtown, provides Tulsans and visitors with one of the more pleasant airport experiences available. Convenient and available parking, fast check-ins and luggage carousels and easy access to several highways make TIA a hassle-free airport experience. The airport serves ten carriers and offers more than 150 arrivals and departures daily. A 45-minute flight to DFW Airport brings international travel within easy reach of Tulsa travelers.
R.L. Jones Airport south of Tulsa is Oklahoma’s busiest general airport and offers private and charter flights throughout the nation. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, and Tulsa Technology Center have transformed the airport into a mecca for aviation education.
Transportation via rail makes shipping goods into and out of the region a very affordable option for businesses. The Tulsa Port of Catoosa, a mere 15 minute drive from downtown, lies at the head of a 445-mile navigation system linking Oklahoma waterways with the Mississippi River and the Port of New Orleans. More than 50 companies operate from America’s most inland seaport.
What is the secret to any community’s success? Simple. It’s education.
Providing a comprehensive education from pre-kindergarten through college has been the goal of community leaders since the city’s founding. The results of this dedication are reflected in some impressive statistics: More than 83 percent of Tulsa area residents have a high school diploma or higher; 23 percent have a bachelor’s degree; and more than 11 percent have a master’s degree.
A great education starts with a solid foundation in elementary and preschool. Two dozen school districts offer public education in the Tulsa metropolitan area.
In Tulsa County alone, more than 106,000 students are instructed by 15 school districts. Tulsa Public Schools, the largest district in the state, educates more than 43,000 students at more than 80 sites. The district is noted for progressive programs, extensive technology and high levels of community involvement, including the very successful Partner-In-Education program. This program encourages companies to develop partnerships with schools that foster ongoing linkages between business and public education.
Other public school districts, such as Jenks, Union, Owasso, Broken Arrow and Bixby, offer students outstanding programs that provide a well-rounded educational experience. And, recognized as the 2005 Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award recipient, Jenks was honored with the nation’s highest presidential honor for quality and organizational performance excellence. Through a top-rated education, students from Tulsa area school districts continually garner impressive honors such as National Merit Scholars and all-American student-athlete awards.
The rich tradition of private schools in Tulsa dates to the 1880s, when small churches and congregations offered educational opportunities. The tradition continues at many outstanding private institutions and religious based private schools.
Both public and private institutions offer a wide range of associate, undergraduate, graduate and vocational opportunities in Tulsa. With the creation of Oklahoma State University–Tulsa in 1999, higher education reached a new level of service delivery. As an urban university, OSU–Tulsa offers a wide array of undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to accommodate non-traditional students. Other institutions of higher learning include:
- University of Oklahoma
- University of Tulsa
- Oral Roberts University
- Tulsa Community College
- Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
- Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow
- University of Phoenix
- Tulsa Technology Center
- Bacone College
- Southern Nazarene University
- Oklahoma Weslyan University
- Rogers State University
- Langston University
- Oklahoma City University
More than ever, Tulsans have access to educational opportunities that are second to none nationwide. All state-supported higher educational institutions are currently expanding their role in Tulsa due to an influx of additional monies provided through a Tulsa county bond issue.
Tulsans are fortunate to count on several major medical centers, more than 1,800 physicians, 400 dentists, comprehensive health maintenance organizations, 24-hour ground and air emergency medical transportation, and enhanced 911 services.
Saint Francis Health System, Street John Health
System and Hillcrest HealthCare System meet a majority of the health care needs for all of the Tulsa MSA and a majority of northeast Oklahoma. In the southern part of the city, SouthCrest Hospital continues to expand its role as a major health care provider. Additional hospital providers include: Tulsa Spine Hospital, Saint Francis Heart Hospital, Orthopedic Hospital of Oklahoma, and the recently opened Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
The University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine has been a mainstay of Tulsa’s medical community for
more than 30 years. In 1999, OU expanded its presence with the opening of the Schusterman Center at
41st and Yale. More than 40 percent of Tulsa medical doctors have received training from the OU College
of Medicine, Tulsa. From prenatal care to advanced research, Tulsa’s health care community ensures that present and future generations will have access to first-rate treatment.
Established in 1972, the Oklahoma State University (OSU) College of Osteopathic Medicine, for the fifth year in a row, was named one of the best medical schools in the nation for primary care and rural medicine. The exclusive top rankings are from the recently released U.S. News & World Report 2006 Best Graduate Schools Guide. Officials from the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine and then-Tulsa Regional Medical Center signed a 50-year academic affiliation agreement in 2006 to open the OSU Medical Center in downtown Tulsa.