Widgets Magazine
  • $4 million pedestrian way proposed for convention center

    On Wednesday, the MAPS 3 Citizen Advisory Board voted to move forward with preliminary plans for a $4 million pedestrian walkway to be constructed between the new convention center, the Omni Hotel and parking garage.

    The convention center is on track to open this fall directly east of Scissortail Park. To the immediate north is the Omni which will open in early 2021. A parking garage to serve both is underway just to the east of the hotel.

    The following is from a presentation given by Populous, the architects for the convention center:

    The purpose of the 4th Street Experience is to provide a unique and wonderful pedestrian experience along SW 4th Street between the new MAPS 3 Oklahoma City Convention Center and the new Omni Convention Hotel. This idea originated from feedback from the MAPS 3 Convention Center Subcommittee, who requested that this area be transformed in to something special for pedestrians to experience between the two new buildings. In conjunction with the MAPS 3 project team and the City of Oklahoma City, the 4th Street Experience canopies will be constructed over 4th Street to provide sculptural overhead structures that further enhance the pedestrian feel of this space.

    The 4th Street Experience will be located along each side of SW 4th Street, between S. Robinson Avenue and S. Broadway Avenue. This portion of SW 4th Street provides a direct connection between the new Convention Center and the new Omni Hotel, both currently under construction. The proposed project will enhance this space with better materials to provide a unique pedestrian experience for convention and hotel customers. The 4th Street Experience canopies will provide another layer of design for pedestrians in this area. A vast number of utilities currently reside below the paved surface of 4th Street, including electrical duct banks, telecommunications, sanitary sewer, and fiber optic cabling. The location of these utilities in relation to the locations of the canopy foundations has been carefully reviewed to avoid conflicts to the degree possible.

    Pending approval of this Preliminary Report and receipt of authorization to proceed with Task 3A Final Plans, the remainder of design work is expected to continue through March 2020. Once approved, bidding will occur in late Spring of 2020. Construction is anticipated to begin in Summer of 2020 and is estimated to last 9 to 12 months. A more detailed breakdown of this schedule is included in this Preliminary Report. Alternatively, it could be decided that this work is awarded to Flintco, the General Contractor for the Convention Center, via a Change Order. Populous suggests the underground work (foundations, conduit, infrastructure, etc.) be installed by Flintco now so that newly placed improvements wonít have to be removed when the project moves forward.

    A preliminary cost estimate is provided with this report to aid the design team in making cost-related decisions. The cost estimate will continue to be updated after this report in the next phase of work.

    The new MAPS 3 Oklahoma City Convention Center and the new Omni Convention Hotel flank each side of SW 4th Street between S. Robinson Avenue and S. Broadway Avenue, creating a space that is relatively narrow in relation to the large, tall buildings on each side. The design team looked at several canopy structures that could be utilized to create a sense of scale with the adjacent buildings. For SW 4th Street, the canopies need to be tall enough to allow for emergency vehicle clearances and everyday traffic. They also need to be slender and light, to not overpower the feeling of the space with the larger buildings on each side.

    The canopies need to provide covering, both for shade and weather protection. SW 4th Street is in direct sun during summer days and pedestrian comfort is important for a successful experience. Letting sunlight through to brighten the overall space is also important, especially with landscaping. Finally, creating something iconic and unique to the City planned in the area, is also very important.

    The canopies are designed to tie in with the new MAPS 3 Convention Center, as the north facade of the Convention Center exhibit space has the ability to open up and utilize the adjacent pedestrian plaza space. The Convention Center project enhanced the paving and look of SW 4th Street, with the ability to close the street for events or outdoor exhibits. The canopies will provide an additional layer of protection and make this outdoor space more desirable and rentable to convention center

    To feel more connected to the Convention Center, the new canopies will use the same wood panels that are used on the exterior soffits of the Convention Center. The wood panels will be used on the horizontal shade louvers spanning across each canopy. A similar lighting approach will also be used to tie into the look of the Convention Centerís lighting with the ability to provide additional color along SW 4th Street for special events.

    The layout for the 4th Street Experience canopies was a challenging task. Direct coordination between both the Convention Center project and the Omni Convention Hotel project was crucial in determining the location of each canopy. Multiple utilities currently run east / west down the center of SW 4th Street and on both sides in the right of way. Canopies were located to fit between existing utilities, with the foundations below or to the side of the utilities to avoid having to relocate any of them.

    The canopies are organized in two different groups, with a space open in the middle of the groups. This space on the Hotel side is used for a large commercial bus drop off, which includes a recessed curb line. Open space was required to provide access to the bus drop off area and also address vehicle exhaust. The canopies are tall enough to accommodate large commercial buses beneath them.

    There are fewer canopies on the Hotel side of SW 4th Street, as the Omni Hotel wanted to maintain views along the west end, and provide access to electrical transformers on the east side. More canopies are on the Convention Center side to work with the large pedestrian plaza space along the north facade of the Convention Center building.

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