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Live Blogging: Jeff Speck

by Steve Lackmeyer Published: April 3, 2013

Speck notes block size is key to walkability. Must be smaller blocks, 200 feet, you can have two lane streets…
This is where it gets interesting…
Downtown OKC has huge block lengths due to restructuring of downtown OKC during the 1970s urban renewal implementation of the Pei PLan.
Says accidents triple with bigger blocks, wider streets.
He says building wider streets induces more traffic. This was part of the debate over plans for the downtown boulevard, and the city’s brief removal of the dedicated bike lane on Walker Avenue before reversing course….
Says engineers naturally tend to say need more lanes to handle more traffic coming, and then, after inducing that traffic, say “see, I told you so.”
Yet Speck notes removal of major roads in other cities have not resulted in “carmagedons.”
Speck was hired as a magazine declared Oklahoma City was the worst city for pedestrian activity.
Noting car counts in downtown OKC mostly had no more than 10,000 cars a day, yet had streets like Hudson that was 6 lanes wide, one way.
Credits Devon Energy, city leaders with launching Project 180, wanting to redo streets, do it right.
My note; the conversion of downtown’s one way streets to two way traffic is now mostly complete. There is still a bit of a struggle over this whole topic…
Speck argues E.K. Gaylord could be narrowed….
“It’s here I stop talking…” Speck says to laughter…
Says one way traffic really bad for business….
Bikes are the biggest revolution underway in major American cities, Speck says. Portland invested $50 million over 20 years to turn half a highway cloverleaf over to bicycle infrastructure.
It used to be half of us walked or biked to school… now only 15 percent of us…
Portland much higher…
Bike lanes tell young people it’s a city for young, healthy, creative people.
Says bicycle lanes is a matter of safety in numbers….

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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