View Full Version : Council fights to keep Pole Rd. exit open

08-17-2005, 11:53 AM
Crossroads Mall should like this:

"Council seeks options to keep interchange

By John Sutter
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City Council members jumped into the battle over the rebuilding of the interchange of Interstates 240 and 35 on Tuesday. The council recommended that the state Transportation Department adjust its plans and keep the main exit to Crossroads Mall open.
The reconstruction proposal submitted by the agency eliminates the Pole Road exit off I-240.

"I think it will kill Crossroads Mall if they close Pole Road down," Councilman Jerry Foshee said. "Hopefully, this will get ODOT's attention."

Mall officials say most of their customers come in from that exit. Crossroads Mall generates $10 million in sales tax revenues and pays more than $825,000 in property taxes a year, the council's resolution states.

Transportation spokesman Cole Perryman said nudging from the council will be taken into consideration, but he said the transportation department already had decided to examine alternatives before the council spoke on the issue.

"It does have an effect on your decision-making if Oklahoma City opposes you on a plan like this," he said.

Perryman said the Pole Road exit was cut for safety reasons. When the interchange is expanded, too many cars will converge on one point to have an exit, he said.

The agency will firm up its plans once it completes a traffic and environmental study and analyzes alternative proposals submitted by engineers hired by the mall, Perryman said. The transportation department will submit its final proposal by Sept. 15, he said.

Councilman Pete White said the Oklahoma Department of Transportation needs to broaden what's considered when reworking state roads.

"ODOT's job really is to move traffic and to move it fast and safe," White said. "If you own a business near where that traffic is moving, you want a third consideration -- you want it done in such a way that it doesn't negatively impact your business."

Mall shoppers and workers expressed concern over the possible exit closing.

"Right now, business is low," said Emily Morgan, who has worked at Jay's Hallmark for five years. "If they close off that exit, it may be even lower. We want to keep people on the south side."

Crossroads Mall marketing manager Christi Parks said the mall and other businesses in the area are in "recovery mode" after an 18-month I-35 construction project. She said closing the exit would devastate the mall.

Alternatives to the Pole Road exit exist, but are confusing or out of the way, shoppers and mall officials said.

"What ODOT is expecting people to do is go over to Eastern, stop, turn, stop, turn left again," Parks said. Eastern Avenue is the next exit east of Pole Road on I-240.

Drivers also could exit off I-35 on Shields Boulevard and then take S 66th Street to the mall, Parks said.

Mall worker Heather Fowler was physically pained by the possibility of such an inconvenience.

"I'm gonna cry," she said. The Pole Road exit is "faster than taking Eastern all the way up here."

"No one likes to take the back roads," she said. "No one." "

08-17-2005, 12:04 PM
I usually am against Crossroads because of the ownership's lack of remodeling and trying to attract decent shoppers. However, I am in favor of keeping Pole Road open. On I-240, we need an entrance into the mall and Pole road is the only way in from there.

If they can find another exit from 240, I am all in favor. Either way, we need to replace that deathtrap of an intersection.

08-17-2005, 12:14 PM
Whats wrong with Pole road? I've driven to Crossroads via that route hundreds of times and never had a problem.

08-17-2005, 12:16 PM
Pole road is in the right of way of the new interchange.They could do a third tier and that be the exit into the mall.

08-17-2005, 06:22 PM
Here's a graphic showing the proposed changes (Pole Rd. closed):

08-17-2005, 08:31 PM
I am sure there are many like this, but they need to do an exit like Greens Rd exiting I-45 Northbound right at Beltway 8 in Houston. That is one of those massive "Texas Flyover" interchanges. The Greens Rd exit goes under then interchange (it has a very long off-ramp), and you actually exit right after the Beltway 8 exit. In that scenario, you could not exit off of I-35 NB to I-240 EB and get off on Pole Rd (because you actually get off I-240 before you get to I-35)-- you would have to take I-35 NB and exit 66th. I think that would be the best option.

08-17-2005, 09:01 PM
I still don't see how Pole road is a problem, though I imagine around Christmas season it gets pretty backed up. Its not in the way of any of the proposed impovements.

08-17-2005, 09:23 PM
I'm sure they don't like have an exit/entrance so close to a major intersection. You have traffic trying to get up to speed and merge and that Pole Rd. exit would be right where all that would be happening.

Also, is it so difficult to exit at Eastern? It can't be much more than 1/4 mile.

08-17-2005, 10:26 PM
In the end, ODOT will agree to post sufficient signage around the interchange. Safety will supersede any economic need.

The only way to keep Pole Rd. open is to bring the feeder ramp over the railroad tracks. Then they would have to close Eastern or divide the ramp with access to eastern. I doubt that will happen since Premium Beers just moved their Budweiser distribution center next to the railroad tracks.

The best solution for the problem is for Crossroads to build an access road that lead to Eastern. That way Crossroads’ a shopper could use the service road or the access road. They would need to build a bridge over the railroad to keep the road from being backed up when the trains are present. The state and the city could acquire the land, build the bridge and then ask Crossroads to cover paving the road.

Realistically speaking I expect them to get nothing more than signage and a marketing campaign telling drivers about the closure and the best way to access the mall.

Truth be told the road closure is the least of Crossroads problems. This is just a matter of retraining the habits of the shoppers. I find it very upsetting that they are using scare tactics to scare everyone into thinking the mall will close if Pole Rd. closes.

I think the truth behind the story is this; Maerich has threatened to close the mall or sell it if Poll Rd. closes. That would mean eviction of the tenants or higher rent rates if a new owner takes over.

We have debated the Crossroads issues until we are blue in the face. We all know the problems that Crossroads needs to address. The mall will continue to decline regardless if Pole Rd. closes or not. The only way to stop the decline is for Maerich to pull their heads out the sand and see the real issues that need to be addressed.