The Oklahoman's Steve Lackmeyer took questions from readers in today's OKC Central Live Chat. You can join Steve's Q&As on Fridays at 10 a.m. and submit your questions about the happenings in and around downtown Oklahoma City. Read the complete chat transcript here.
Love to see 23rd full of so much life last week during Open Streets. Do you think this will help with the idea to redesign 23rd street to make it more pedestrian and bike friendly?
NW 23 in Uptown was one of the city's earliest streetscape projects, along with Automobile Alley. I think, looking back, that although both projects were well intentioned, they were done in a way that would not take place today. Correcting Automobile Alley's deficiencies is far less complicated - angled parking spaces are being added this weekend.
Fixing NW 23 is more complicated. It had angled parking spaces. They were changed to parallel spaces and a median was added about a dozen years ago. That was, according to many I know, a mistake. The median only encouraged faster traffic. The change in parking reduced spaces. To fix NW 23, the city council, mayor, city manager and city engineers must come to a change in thinking.
For years they've put traffic as their top concern. If the traffic flow was rated at a failing grade, that was the top priority to fix. But a failing grade for pedestrian flow has for years been of little concern. Only when both performances are judged equally will you see, in my opinion, an effective solution to NW 23 that would likely require the removal of the median, the addition of a turn lane, and the removal of an eastbound and a westbound lane so you end up with a three lane street (engineers reading this are horrified at such a suggestion for a major street like this). But it can be done. Through traffic, if frustrated enough by a street like this, will switch to other corridors and disperse more evenly.