Jacksonville is just starting the re-construction of our downtown elevated freeway. Guess what, no by-pass and it is being replace with another elevated freeway.
Cleveland is talking about removing the elevated freeway that separates downtown from the lakeside.
Gone to the ballpark. Go Tribe!
All joking aside: Folks inside the core of OKCUrbanity here need to pay attention to the Call for Action, above, and fill in the friggin' form. I would, but I don't get to vote for The OKC Govt. BigWigs . . .
Con su permiso . . . A re-write of the accidental double post, above:
It has been said that "the developers always win" . . . this can be good or otherwise.
It has also been said that "no good deed goes unpunished".
And then there is that thing from "Debt of Honor" that says: "if it isn't written down it never happened" . . .
Actual, caring, concerned citizens of OKC have an opportunity here not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
It's been said that "The Developers" always win" . . .
It's been said that "No Good Deed goes unpunished" . . .
It has been suggested that now is a good time to "Fill In the Friggin' Form" (fer cryin' out loud).
You know that On-Grade, with Shops and Parking and Proper Traffic Control is a Good Thing.
Don't let THEM do something that will have to be re-done ad infinitum until whenever . . .
Fill in The Form (fer cryin' out loud) . . .
To be sure the Federal Highway Administration is aware of the comments, please send a copy of your comment form to the following address:
Federal Highway Administration
5801 N Broadway Ext., Suite 300
Oklahoma City, OK 73118
The FHWA is the final authority over this project whether ODOT or OKC Staff wishes to believe it or not.
To add to that, you can email and fax them
fax: (405) 254-3302
Thank you JTF. I forgot that part.
With the discussion centered on boulevard details (elevation, access, speeds, width, etc.), can someone remind me why the boulevard is needed in the first place? It's eastern terminus is downtown, but what's to the west that justifies the boulevard at all?
I don't see that it's a road leading anywhere. There isn't a dense residential neighborhood to the west, or a dense commercial district. Developers aren't lining up saying "if only there was a road connecting this area to the CBD, then we would spend all of this money and develop the area." I don't see the synergy that - if the west would be connected to the CBD - then the combination of the two would be more valuable than they are today.
We recall 25-ish years ago when the Kilpatrick Turnpike first opened and very few motorists drove on it. But it was built through a corridor with a new regional mall, good demographics and lots of land, and connected western OKC, Yukon & Mustang to the Turner Turnpike & I-35. Commercial development followed, traffic counts increased, and it is being widened right now. I just don't see any of those things, either along the boulevard's path, or at the western terminus of the boulevard.
OKCTalker - your central question is the reason many people favor simply connecting the off ramps from I40 to our existing street grid. The I40 bypass justification is a fabricated requirement from a discussion that occurred 10 years ago between the city and ODOT. There is NO federal requirement to provide an emergency bypass for I40 through downtown.
I think it makes a lot of sense to build the boulevard envisioned by Mayor Cornett along the SW 3rd Street axis. It will move people past the Chesapeake Arena, Central Park, Convention Center (but hopefully at a different address than currently planned) and will facilitate redevelopment of the Core to Shore development district. If we extend the boulevard westward to Exchange, we also reconnect the Farmer's Market district with downtown after it was isloated by the Crosstown 50 years ago. You can see the result of cutting off large sections of downtown merely by driving around the area south of where the Crosstown stood.
Then to accomodate motorists and other traffic wishing to come into and depart from downtown to west I40, we should spend the funds allocated to construct a connection to the street grid on California in the vicinity of Western. There is primarily light industrial (and some heavy industrial on Reno) in that area now but it will naturally become desirable for redevelopment in the future. We need to have a vision other than "what is has always been" for this project simply because the design will either facilitate development or be just another bad decision our kids will shake their heads at and fix one day.
CaptDave - Thanks for your response. The historical perspective helps, as does your articulation of I-40 off ramps & I-40 W/B on ramps connecting to the current grid, and moving traffic through C2S.
What's still lost on me is the justification for so much emotion over this, one measure of which is this thread's 1,274 comments.
Personally I've had this issue circled from the beginning. As for other peoples' interest, it is more of a question why other issues weren't emotional and people weren't involved in the past. It isn't uncommon for citizens to get emotional in other parts of the country and world.
Unfortunately this is a consumeristic, sports-obsessed city. The idea of a brotherhood was taboo socialist jargon until the Thunder reinvoked it. Hopefully the civic interest that has been awoken will last beyond the Thunder's success. It is unfortunate that the only brotherhood in this city is one that people have to buy a ticket to gain admission into, but hopefully it isn't impermanent.
The current plan including the Option 'A' they are recommending now is one that closes major streets and creates more problems than it solves. Many people, including some deservedly influential ones, still seem to regard downtown as just a huge office park that people drive to rather than a "real" city with residences and retail in addition to the businesses and entertainment we now have. So several people came together and asked if it were possible to attempt to influence this process and hopefully gain a better outcome for the city. That is the genesis of FBB and the reason for nearly 1500 posts on this forum.
I know people in and around OKC really care about their city and that seems to be ever increasing.
There are lots of reasons for this but it can't be overlooked that a ton of improvements have been paid for by the people; all the MAPS stuff, etc.
One interesting consequence is a real sense of investment, in literal terms.
I am still not sure exactly what key words and language are preferred in writing to the Feds. Obviously, there is the form. I will definitely be writing in my own comments for desiring streetcar, transit, and transit hub integration on the central and east end of the boulevard.
And quite frankly, I'm quite pissed off that transit integration, IE Bus HOV lane, stops, stairwell down the earthen embankment to Western, aren't even being discussed by engineers. I'm not surprised. Just continuing to be more and more pissed off with regarding to continued "dinosauric" traffic engineering philosophies that dominate Oklahoma City planning theology.
Express buses are clearly identified in the Fixed guideway Study as the practical way to serve nearly all of Western downtown and this "through movement" or "bypass" could be used for facilitating a meaningful express corridor to the West side of the city. I'm not advocating, but if were forced to have "Option 1" it needs to be meaningfully integrated into long term planning other that for the future induced demand the engineers use to justify it.
IF WE WANT TO BE A WORLD CLASS CITY, WE HAVE TO ACT LIKE A WORLD CLASS CITY
So we have until December 9th to submit our letters?
ODOT - After closely following the activities surrounding the new boulevard I would like to voice my support for the "Two Boulevards on The Grid" proposal that came out of discussions on OKCTalk and Friends for a Better Boulevard. Returning this area to its original grid with boulevards along California and SW3rd is the best option for moving traffic and redeveloping the area. The proposal by ODOT and Stantec should not be built.
Prior to the construction of I-40 this part of downtown was highly developed but suffered greatly after the elevated I-40 was put in. For the 60 years I-40 operated along this route no significant development took place, in fact, the elevated I-40 discouraged development because it created a physical and psychological barrier. Creating another partially elevated high speed road to replace it will have the same results.
I understand that downtown currently doesn't have sufficient entrance and exit ramps on the newly built I-40 and that two new interchanges will be built regardless of what happens to the boulevard, but there is no reason those two interchanges have to be connected by the same road. I would prefer 2 boulevards on the grid; one along California Ave on the west and the other along SW3rd on the east and south.
The grid is the most efficient distributor of traffic known to man. California Ave has 7 intersections between Western and Walker, and if the pedestrian path is removed during Stage Center redevelopment there would be 8. Likewise, SW3rd would connect I-40 on the east to Exchange Ave on the west, which would make a new gateway entrance from Stockyard City as well as providing access to the convention center area.
Transportation systems should not sacrifice livable communities and neighborhoods for saving a few minutes on the road. People living in suburban OKC have no more right to leave downtown at 55 mph than the people who own property or choose to live downtown have a right to live in a safe walkable well developed neighborhood.
For catcherinthewry and others:
If the city really wants to have their interstate bypass route through the middle of downtown rather than diverting traffic around any potential catastrophe on the new crosstown to I35/I44/I240, the "Two Boulevards on the Grid" provides a better way of doing so than closing streets and buildings walls/bridges. Take a look at the map and it should be fairly clear. The TBOTG design is superior to anything put forth by ODOT and the city - and Stantec since they were restricted from performing baseline analysis on this design.
Occam's Razor definitely applies here......at least it should.
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