On July 31, the Oklahoma City Council directed city staff to evaluate all options for the new boulevard. The city hired a highly regarded company, Stantec, for this analysis. Unfortunately, during this process Stantec was given restrictions that eliminated the option of simply using the existing street grid. Every design the city or ODOT proposes forces the closure of at least two major streets, thereby causing the traffic problems they're trying to solve. The congestion problem at Western and Classen is created by the design Stantec was steered toward. The city claims there are no other possibilities, but I think we can do better.
I propose the following alternative: On the west side, California, with its view toward Myriad Gardens, should be the entrance to downtown. On SW 3, build the boulevard described by Mayor Mick Cornett that runs past the new central park, but extend that to Exchange Avenue and reconnect the Farmer's Market with downtown. With the $30 million we won't spend on an unnecessary bridge, we can create two streets that would be grand entrances to downtown and still accommodate all the traffic by keeping all four east-west streets open.
Traffic simulations on the street grid were never run. Shouldn't we at least analyze this option as a baseline? Stantec clearly has the expertise to do an excellent job, so why not give them freedom to thoroughly evaluate the fully restored street grid option? I hope the city council will require this analysis before it makes a final decision.
David Dickerson, Edmond
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