Recommended Oklahoma City Boulevard design meets skepticism

BY MICHAEL KIMBALL mkimball@opubco.com Published: December 3, 2012

Stantec predicts the recommended design will also help to correct traffic inefficiencies on surrounding streets and provides an opportunity to create a scenic entrance into downtown.

“It provides integration into the surrounding traffic network,” he said, adding that redevelopment opportunities are also ripe. “Fundamentally, we have the opportunity to change the image and character of the corridor and provide a greatly enhanced arrival experience into the city.”

Critical voices

Almost everyone who spoke during the question-and-answer session at the end of the meeting advocated for a slow, narrow roadway at ground level, integrated as much as possible into the existing grid.

People like Cummings exhorted city officials to take their time and ensure that the boulevard is designed to revitalize downtown and not to be a primary traffic mover.

At past meetings, people have advocated for a broader, faster boulevard to prioritize getting commuters in and out of downtown. But those voices were largely absent from Monday's meeting.

The city, consultants and the state Transportation Department officials will review feedback submitted after the meeting, along with feedback on other issues related to the boulevard. Oklahoma City eventually will submit a plan to the Transportation Department, likely in the spring, for ultimate approval by federal transportation officials.

Oklahoma City Boulevard will follow the route of the old Crosstown Expressway bridge and traverse downtown and lead to Bricktown, and it's intended by civic leaders to be a magnet for development. The MAPS 3 convention center and urban park, and cornerstone civic development projects, will be along its border.