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  1. #1

    Default Friends for a Better Boulevard

    I am putting together a citizen support group for a better design for the new OKC Boulevard than what is currently proposed.

    If your on Facebook, feel free to join the group. If your not, please post your ideas and pics for the Boulevard here. We are looking for great ideas to circulate. Hopefully, in the coming weeks and months there will be an opportunity to put them forth and somehow get them incorporated into the final design.

    At least, it appears that the is a solid discussion with ODOT forthcoming by the City
    Council. Now is the time to get these ideas out there.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/483683684978845/

  2. #2

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    I want to be the first to go on record that the obvious solution is an 8 lane roundabout that jams together the traffic of the new boulevard, Reno, Exchange, Western, Classen, and maybe California.

  3. Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    The best option is no boulevard at all, but good luck with your effort. Anything is better than what they have planned - even Buffalo Bills 8 lane roundabout (because that will atleast keep traffic slow and encourage pedestrain activity). There is a 10 lane interstate just a few blocks away - if someone needs to go 55 mph (or more) they can go do it over there.

  4. Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Joined.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    The best option is no boulevard at all, but good luck with your effort. Anything is better than what they have planned - even Buffalo Bills 8 lane roundabout (because that will atleast keep traffic slow and encourage pedestrain activity). There is a 10 lane interstate just a few blocks away - if someone needs to go 55 mph (or more) they can go do it over there.
    You're going to need the new boulevard when they plan on turning Reno into a 2 lane road through Bricktown or no one is getting out of there come game nights.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Unfortunately it is a little late to do anything major about it; first any changes need approval by the federal highway administration, second its is damned hard to get any changes in ODOT projects this close to construction (four years out is about the minimum for plausibility).

  7. Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by OKCisOK4me View Post
    You're going to need the new boulevard when they plan on turning Reno into a 2 lane road through Bricktown or no one is getting out of there come game nights.
    Spend the money from the boulevard on a regonal rail system and everyone can leave their cars at home. One line of track can carry the same volume as 15 lanes of interstate.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
    Unfortunately it is a little late to do anything major about it; first any changes need approval by the federal highway administration, second its is damned hard to get any changes in ODOT projects this close to construction (four years out is about the minimum for plausibility).
    Difficult indeed. But what is interesting is where they are in direct violation of their environmental and NEPA with the FEDS. Specifically this whole Bricktown connection discussion. Three turn required via Compress over direct access via Oklahoma? Really?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    The best option is no boulevard at all, but good luck with your effort. Anything is better than what they have planned - even Buffalo Bills 8 lane roundabout (because that will atleast keep traffic slow and encourage pedestrain activity). There is a 10 lane interstate just a few blocks away - if someone needs to go 55 mph (or more) they can go do it over there.
    Agree 1000%

    Return the old crosstown path to private ownership, get them back on the property tax rolls and urge development. Where streets existed, return those to the GRID...then you don't have odd angled streets intersecting others and eliminating the need for a traffic circle(s). Spend the multi-millions that were to go to the Boulevard and improve those remaining streets...maybe make up for the funding shortfalls of Project 180 and complete that as promised.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Spend the money from the boulevard on a regonal rail system and everyone can leave their cars at home. One line of track can carry the same volume as 15 lanes of interstate.
    That would be awesome and I strongly agree. Unfortunately, as someone else previously stated, I don't think the funds for this can be used elsewhere.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Wow, 320 members in just two days? Congrats Bob!

    I think we need to come up with as many case examples where a traffic circle or decorative intersection has incentivized infill development. While it's a screwed-up 6-way intersection that isn't a traffic circle, Fort Worth's arts district may be worth looking at.

    All posts on Fort Worthology tagged with 7th Street:
    http://fortworthology.com/tag/7th-street/

  12. #12

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by OKCisOK4me View Post
    You're going to need the new boulevard when they plan on turning Reno into a 2 lane road through Bricktown or no one is getting out of there come game nights.
    The bottom line is that we are getting a boulevard. Whether or not it is no more than an elongated entrance and exit ramp from 1-40, or the real article, the money has been appropriated; something will be built, and the plans have yet to be finalized. The question becomes: Do we want another elevated highway into and dividing the entrance into Downtown? Or do we want citizen input for a reasonable alternative?

    Under preesure from OKC, ODOT brought the boulevard down from six lanes to four. The point being that ODOT will listen if there is support from the City. The west end and the east end of the proposed boulevard plans are ill-conceived. Time is short. However, there is growing support from citizens and the City Council for an alternative.

  13. Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    http://www.okgazette.com/oklahoma/ar...reet-heat.html
    Mayor Mick Cornett said he has known for several years that the boulevard would have to go above grade near that intersection, and that it would help concentrate development.
    “I know it’s not necessarily been communicated throughout the community because not everybody cares that much about a road that’s several years away,” Cornett said.
    Wenger said keeping the boulevard at grade through that intersection would be nearly impossible. The city and ODOT, he said, are reviewing options of whether to build the above-grade section on columns or on an earthen ramp.
    “There is a portion of the boulevard that will go over the top of those roads,” Wenger said. “I think maybe that surprised some on [May 29], but it has been that way for sometime.”
    Sounds similar to the Mayor's insistence that he told folks about the $30 million for the substation relocation….for someone who was in the media, communication at City Hall and especially around the horseshoe, seems to be lacking...and can be easily rectified.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Everyone at City Hall has known about the boulevard since at least November of 2001, when the Final EIS was released. See item S1, paragraph 2.

    This isn't new:

    http://www.40forward.com/pdfs/feis/02.pdf

  15. #15

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    I agree. I don't see any reason to grind on Mayor Cornett. He successfully lobbied with broad public support to get ODOT to finally reduce the concept from a 6 lane design down to a four lane project. I followed this project myself since moving here 12 years ago. It has always been elevated at both ends.

    I'm not saying that it should be elevated. I think that the public has a right to question whether there are alternatives to that. But for those who studied the plans carefully as I am sure he did, it has always been elevated.

    Let not propagate that this is some new idea hidden away. That is too conspiracy oriented. It is just that it is now actually receiving some well deserved scrutiny.

    I would say that they (ODOT) must have caught wind some time ago to resistance to their ideas. The renderings and animation of the Boulevard disappeared from view when advocacy began for reducing the size of their concept. So if there is anything to be disgruntled it about, is that they have removed those earlier materials from the 40 Forward website. And really... it shouldn't be called a Boulevard if its in the air.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    I think they should have kept it as 6 lanes and made underpasses for pedestrian traffic. with the growth that downtown OKC will experience over just the coming decade will flood out a 2 lane reno and 4 lane boulevard.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    If Cornett truly wants to argue that putting it back above grade past Lee will "help concentrate development" then it is time to get rid of him and replace him with someone more honest, who uses less drugs.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    There's a brand new 10 lane highway 3 blocks away from it. I think if there is that much congestion, people will just go down to the new I-40 via Shields and Robinson. Plus 140' long tunnels with stairs are probably not the best and safest pedestrian experiences. It would require elevators for ADA accessibility as well.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    If Cornett truly wants to argue that putting it back above grade past Lee will "help concentrate development" then it is time to get rid of him and replace him with someone more honest, who uses less drugs.
    Why? He's right. It will focus development. It is essentially and elongated highway ramp straight to the new park, Convention Center, and CBD. Not sure I see the criminality in that statement that you do.

    It just becomes a question of whether you want a Boulevard through the west side of downtown as well. It is a public debate that is just now being had and needs to be had. And quite frankly, a lot of the "experts" haven't been very vocal about it with the exception of the Core to Shore discussions.

    If your upset about this because its been branded a Boulevard when half of it is in the air, then be upset at ODOT and focus your energy on what you think is the best design for our fair city.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    Why? He's right. It will focus development. It is essentially and elongated highway ramp straight to the new park, Convention Center, and CBD. Not sure I see the criminality in that statement that you do.

    It just becomes a question of whether you want a Boulevard through the west side of downtown as well. It is a public debate that is just now being had and needs to be had. And quite frankly, a lot of the "experts" haven't been very vocal about it with the exception of the Core to Shore discussions.

    If your upset about this because its been branded a Boulevard when half of it is in the air, then be upset at ODOT and focus your energy on what you think is the best design for our fair city.
    The boulevard is a joke and it's not just ODOT, the city is implicated as well. All the triumvirate of Couch, Cornett, and Wenger do is make excuses for why it has to be this way. They are going to do everything possible to not have to consider the traffic circle idea. And as for the boulevard, let me get this straight..

    The city plans to build a grand Champs d'Elysses by having a street with 55 mph speed limits that comes down from ramps at Oklahoma Ave, then briefly goes below grade to go under the BNSF tracks, doesn't intersect with Shields, then the only portion of "real boulevard" which is a mere 5 blocks long will actually be curved to increase space within the ROW for the convention center that will hog the main frontage and prevent park-side development, and then instead of interacting with a very busy set of streets west of downtown, it will have an earthen ramp a la I-240 and meet back up with the interstate. Oh yeah and it's going to be named Oklahoma City Boulevard.

    Is anyone laughing at this?? Cornett says the limited actual boulevard will concentrate development, he must be laughing. Couch said at City Council the other day that curving it to increase space for the CC will actually be pleasing to drivers, he must be laughing his arse off. Wenger doesn't seem to think that a concrete ramp or earthen ramp is a big deal, he must be laughing. The ODOT engineers weren't aware that streetcar would have RAILS, they must be laughing the hardest.

    Frankly this just needs to be written off in advance as a huge failure. Perhaps all of the city's new parking garages can line this "boulevard." The real shame is that the streetcar route is bastardized to go out of its way to interact with the new boulevard due to political pressure. I would just as soon have nothing on this joke of a boulevard if it's really going to turn out this way.

    And I do believe that after a certain point, such heavy doses of illogical and flat-out lying to protect a convention center agenda is criminal, because the collateral damage happens to be the most enormous wasted opportunity in this city's history.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    The streetcar is going there to provide a direct interface to the Convention Center building along Robinson and to provide direct access to the park. Reno is a P180 completed street. It will cost us more to go there. Plus, it becomes a pedestrian clogged "plaza" during major events that could potentially disrupt streetcar service timing and consistency.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Quote Originally Posted by Urban Pioneer View Post
    Plus, it becomes a pedestrian clogged "plaza" during major events that could potentially disrupt streetcar service timing and consistency.
    Sounds like it would also be at danger of producing a surprisingly strong sense of place in OKC.

    I understand leveling with these inept officials because it would be unfortunate to burn bridges for the streetcar project. However, I refuse to do it because the streetcar obviously isn't affected by my relationship with people who need to be gotten rid of anyway. In terms of public policy, what is going on right now is criminal. Those aren't my words, and at first I didn't like having those words "put in my mouth" to represent what I'm saying, but the more I thought about it that is exactly the word that should be used. The leadership is so bad it's gotten criminal.

    I still can not believe Eric Wenger was just promoted to Public Works Director in the middle of all of this. His abysmal track record doesn't even qualify him to be public dog catcher.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    I'm not holding anything back that I would "level" with anybody. I'm being frank and honest.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Well here's the implications that I see for the streetcar and for the park, two very good projects in their own right, and we're not even talking about having a good boulevard for the sake of a boulevard anymore (which shockingly was never the paradigm to begin with): Anything along this boulevard will be a massive failure because this boulevard is such a piece of crap in planning, and if that doesn't affect the streetcar and the park, I don't know what would.

    The bad design won't even "concentrate development" within the 5 blocks (or really 5 blocks minus 2 because of CC) because the entire thing will act as a hindrance to development. It will repel good development more than it will attract it, and it does not need to be this way. This boulevard CAN be saved, there is just not political will to do so with our absolutely worthless triumvirate.

  25. Default Re: Friends for a Better Boulevard

    Urban: Didn't mean to sound like there is some conspiracy here ...it is the lack of communication...especially with Council members much less the general public ...I don't remember anything in the media that suggested that the Boulevard would be elevated. It was consistently described as being "at grade" and following the footprint of the old crosstown. I agree that public discussion is needed but it is really past time for that...at least in ODOT's mind. There is going to have to be some sort of elevation simply because ODOT has already built the ramps from the new Crosstown...highly unlikely that they are going to reverse course at this point. We've already spent all of this money can't go back now (better to ask forgiveness than permission), no matter how much the public complains. Just like they aren't going to do anything about the dismal restricted access from the old crosstown to the new (from 6 points down to 2). So, I have to agree with most of what Spartan said. And I have to disagree with the streetcar clipping one corner of the Park qualifies as "direct access". That would be better achieved by running the length of the upper Park and swinging through Union Station and then back up (as depicted in an the early proposed "route" that I re-posted in the other thread).

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