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Edmond City Council candidates meet at forum

Edmond mayoral and council candidates answered questions Tuesday during an Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce forum. Four people are on the ballot for the general election.
by Diana Baldwin Published: March 27, 2013

Challengers for Edmond mayor and the Ward 4 council seat questioned the incumbents and the way the city has been doing business during a Tuesday candidate forum.

Mayor Charles Lamb will be on the ballot against Richard Prawdzienski in next Tuesday's general election. Ward 4 Councilman Nick Massey faces Shilpa Abbitt.

All registered voters in Edmond can vote Tuesday in both races.

Candidates were asked questions about attracting jobs, traffic solutions, expanding the economic base, their qualifications and challenges for the city.

There was no disagreement that there is a traffic problem in Edmond. The challengers weren't on board with the intelligent transportation system, known as ITS.

Lamb and Massey support installation of the system, which would synchronize traffic lights and offer communication opportunities, and allow for more efficient use of the city staff members and emergency workers.

Prawdzienski, 65, doesn't think the system will solve the problems. He said city leaders need to think outside the box.

“ITS is a lot of money to me,” said Abbitt, 42. “I would want to know exactly what it would do and how much it would cost. To me, all extra money, do we really need to have it.”

City council members have been working on the intelligence traffic system for at least eight years. The system would cost $9 million, financed by a special tax that voters approved in 2000 for capital improvements. Edmond has received a $1.7 million grant from the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments for the project and plans to apply for more financial help when possible.

Design work is under way for the first phase, along Second Street from Interstate 35 to Santa Fe Avenue.

“ITS will enable us to monitor all intersections in Edmond from a central location and help us direct traffic where needed,” said Massey, 65. “There will always be a transportation problem.

“We would love to build more roads, but it costs a lot of money.”

The ITS system will also have a communication network that will be used for other utilities, said Lamb, 66. “There is a lot of bang for our buck. We will have a fiber network that we will use for other purposes.”

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by Diana Baldwin
Sr. Reporter
Diana Baldwin has been an Oklahoma journalist since 1976 and came to The Oklahoman in 1991. She covered the Oklahoma City bombing and covered the downfall of Oklahoma City police forensic chemist Joyce Gilchrist misidentifying evidence. She wrote...
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