Alternative A is best pick for Oklahoma City Boulevard design

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: December 23, 2012

Nevertheless, complaints will be voiced that the design breaks a promise for a boulevard with no elevated sections. But the last thing downtown needs is intersections resembling the one at NW 63 and Northwest Expressway. Or traffic circles that are unfamiliar to Oklahoma drivers and would be unable to handle future traffic volume.

The boulevard's original concept was for a six-lane thoroughfare. This has been altered to four lanes, to make it more pedestrian friendly. The central section of the boulevard has yet to be designed, but planners envision a roadway with a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The outer sections on the east and the west would have higher speed limits.

What the council will consider next month is the controversial western section. Alternative A satisfies the need for relatively high-speed access without surrendering too much of the pedestrian element to the motorized component. It avoids having three major intersections (Western, Classen, Reno) in proximity. Although it doesn't eliminate elevation of the new roadway, it minimizes it.

Congruent with designs for the boulevard are plans for a convention center. Like the adjacent arena, the convention center will generate heavy traffic at specific times. This must be taken into account, along with the vision to create a beautiful boulevard through the heart of the city, a roadway that draws pedestrians rather than repels them.

We must get this right. Council members should take the on-ramp leading to Alternative A.

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