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Oklahoma City Council set to make decision on boulevard design

Oklahoma City Council members are scheduled to make a final decision Tuesday on the elevated portion of the proposed downtown boulevard.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Published: January 7, 2013

“But we are still addressing the traffic needs at the same time, so it's something that both sides I think should be able to see some positives in,” he said.

The boulevard, as currently proposed, will run-east west, ramping off Interstate 40 between Sheridan and Reno avenues to the east, making a soft turn south where Reno intersects with Western Avenue and Classen Boulevard, and then continuing east past the proposed sites of the new convention center and urban park.

It will continue along just south of Bricktown and ramp back up onto Interstate 40 west of downtown.

Most of the boulevard will be at street level, but the consultants determined the most efficient way to navigate the Reno-Classen-Western area would be with an overpass as opposed to an underpass, roundabout or traditional intersection.

The state Transportation Department has set aside $30 million to $35 million in federal funds for the project, which is a final phase of the larger I-40 realignment.

Wenger said both ends of the boulevard would be designated 45 mph zones and the middle section, near the core of downtown, would be set at 25 mph.

A traffic signal also is likely, he said.

Wenger said the proposal up for vote Tuesday is identical to the first of four options unveiled by the consulting firm at a public meeting in December.

“The comments we received were generally in support of or against the entire thing, (but) there weren't any suggestions on how to make the alternate better,” he said.

Councilman Ed Shadid said he expects the proposal to pass on Tuesday but not unanimously.

Shadid, a critic of the current boulevard plans, said developers have allowed for public input but only within the framework developed in the 1990s.

Shadid suggested that instead of laying a snaking boulevard within the footprint of the old I-40, the city look to connect with the street grid already in existence by building up a current east-west downtown artery.