Michael Kimball: Elevated Oklahoma City boulevard could hinder development opportunities

Reporter Michael Kimball chatted with readers Tuesday about the design and implementation of an at-grade boulevard in Oklahoma City.
BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Modified: July 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm •  Published: July 31, 2012
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photo - Downtown Oklahoma City in 1998, as shown in this photo, was very different from what it is in 2012. Photo provided by George R. Wilson
Downtown Oklahoma City in 1998, as shown in this photo, was very different from what it is in 2012. Photo provided by George R. Wilson

Reporter Michael Kimball answered questions from readers Tuesday during a chat about agenda items discussed during this week's Oklahoma City Council meeting. Read the entire chat recap here.

Topics discussed today include: the design of the grand boulevard downtown that will replace the old Interstate 40 bridge, whether or not the roadway should be elevated, transit implications of the boulevard project and the city's working relationship with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

On elevating the roadway:

It seems obvious that an elevated roadway isn't good for development immediately along that roadway. But the Reno/Western/Classen intersection area is complicated, so a roundabout would have to be well-designed.

Most people seem to favor an at-grade boulevard along the entire length because of the development opportunities that could represent.

On the design of the boulevard:

I think both designs have pros and cons, like most people do. Some compromise will be needed with the final design, as most people recognize.

There are some issues with right-of-way along that section of the boulevard, but I don't sense that any are too big to be solved. In terms of the timeline, there's still time to hammer out the details. Studying needs to start soon, but sounds like it will.

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