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  1. #1

    Default When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.



    "Hindering Connectivity" - OKGazette

    When the new Interstate 40 alignment is opened in 2012, the current I-40 alignment is set to be replaced with a partially at-grade boulevard. The eastwest vehicular connection made by the boulevard bisects the heart of the Core to Shore planís primary north-south pedestrian connection, introducing a significant barrier between Oklahoma Cityís newly renovated Myriad Gardens and what will be the new MAPS 3 downtown park.

    From the beginning, the purpose of Core to Shore has been to enhance the north-south connections between down town and the revitalized river corridor.

    And more recently, after being identified as one of the worst cities in the U.S. for pedestrians, there have been signs city leadership is ready for a more balanced approach to infrastructure.

    So why is this east-west vehicular connection being given priority over the plans for the park and pedestrian safety? After spending more than $600 million to construct the new 10-lane I-40, is it really necessary to spend more than $80 million more to build six lanes of redundant asphalt? We would do better to commit to building a first-class park system and give priority to the north-south pedestrian connection.
    Read complete article here.

  2. Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Is that your plan? Why does Central Park extend up to the Myriad Gardens knowing that there will be a large mixed-use development on the current Ford Dealership site? I do love the idea of the boulevard going under the park, but that sounds so incredibly cost prohibitive.

  3. #3

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    I thought the mayor and several city leaders had spoken out and said they don't envision a six lane road. Do I remember correctly? I am totally against anything with that much asphalt. But, if we have a road that is more green than grey and has ease of access, I can see it being more pedestrian friendly and potentially even appealing to pedestrians.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    I too thought the park starts south of the boulevard with the Ford site to be developed. If so, then the boulevard is the northern edge and is a grand entrance to the OKC Arena area and next to a modern mixed use urban development.

    Boulevards done right can be very nice and not necessarily pedestrian unfriendly. One of the greatest pedestrian areas in the entire world is a wide boulevard. You may have heard of it...the Champs Elysees.

  5. #5

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    The diagram is intended to demonstrate the possibility of continuing the central park north to Reno, creating a continuation of, and adjacency to, the newly renovated Myriad Gardens. As it stands, the combination of distance and boulevard traffic will create a barrier between downtown (and the Myriad Gardens) and the new park.

    Putting the boulevard underground is an option, but likely cost prohibitive. A better approach from a urban design and pedestrian standpoint is to dead-end the boulevard at the park's perimeter. This would mean the west side of the boulevard dead-ends at Hudson and east side of the boulevard dead-ends at Robinson. Of course, by terminating the boulevard(s) in this way it creates a vista opportunity that far surpasses what is currently proposed.

    Chicago's Buckingham Fountain is an excellent example of the possibilities that exist if you properly terminate a major street downtown (aerial here)



    A number of similar street terminations and vista/monument examples can be found throughout the world.

  6. #6

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    I guess I'm just a little confused as to why this is a thread topic.

    I understand the "dead end" idea of running the Boulevard into the park, but why is this being brought up like it's a viable solution? Are you saying the City should take the land already set for redevelopment (Ford dealership) and turn it into more park space?

  7. #7

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    The Central Park will not be going north of the new blvd anyhow. While road size might still be an issue, the park has nothing to do with it. However, I don't think OKC needs a 6 lane road running through downtown either. 4 lanes, nice median with a streetcar, and back-in angled parking should do it. That way people shopping don't need to stand in the road while putting stuff in their trunk.

  8. #8

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Architect2010 View Post
    I do love the idea of the boulevard going under the park, but that sounds so incredibly cost prohibitive.
    I agree it is a nice concept but the reality with costs and what has already been decided it really seems this pie in the sky is not a happening situation.

  9. #9

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by betts View Post
    I thought the mayor and several city leaders had spoken out and said they don't envision a six lane road. Do I remember correctly? I am totally against anything with that much asphalt. But, if we have a road that is more green than grey and has ease of access, I can see it being more pedestrian friendly and potentially even appealing to pedestrians.
    Yeah, I think they've abandoned the vision for a super wide blvd.

  10. #10

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    The concept as presented would actually provide a cost savings to the city/state. The proportional construction costs of the boulevard is greater than would be the park land acquisitions. I absolutely think it is not only a viable solution, but a preferable solution.

    You don't create vital urban centers by increasing the amount of roadway. The park will be a significant failure for years to come unless some effort is made to more closely connect the park to downtown. Stretching the northern edge of the park to Reno accomplishes this. Further, the boulevard would still exist for ingress/egress into downtown, and I think the entry experience would be enhanced as a result of the changes.

  11. #11

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    Yeah, I think they've abandoned the vision for a super wide blvd.
    It is currently being designed as a six lane thoroughfare with the possibility of an additional designated left-hand turn lanes. The "super wide" version was even wider still.

  12. #12

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    My only question is if this was to be done who profits financially from it??? Follow The Money!!!

  13. #13

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    What problem is trying to be solved by going underground where a park doesn't exist?

  14. #14

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdhumphreys View Post
    Putting the boulevard underground is an option, but likely cost prohibitive. A better approach from a urban design and pedestrian standpoint is to dead-end the boulevard at the park's perimeter. This would mean the west side of the boulevard dead-ends at Hudson and east side of the boulevard dead-ends at Robinson. Of course, by terminating the boulevard(s) in this way it creates a vista opportunity that far surpasses what is currently proposed.
    See above.

    MustangGT - As for "who profits financially from it???"

    From the proposal above? I would argue the taxpayers of Oklahoma City, both from lower costs and increased quality of life.

  15. #15

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    How is burying a road cheaper than bulding it at grade??? First time I have heard of this? As to benefitting I mean those in the know who stand to put money in their pockets, and no I do not mean the contractors hired to do the work.

  16. #16

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Once again, what problem are we trying to solve by going underground? BTW - downtown already have multiple dead-end streets that cause enough problems. Not sure another is needed.

  17. #17

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    It is a solution in search of a non-existent question. Kerry once it is discovered who lines their pockets with the money we will know why.

  18. #18

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by MustangGT View Post
    It is a solution in search of a non-existent question. Kerry once it is discovered who lines their pockets with the money we will know why.
    The basic premis is wrong. There will be No park north of the New Blvd other than the Myriad. Those 4 blocks with the words 'Central Park' on them are going to be part of a 6 block mixed use project containing residential and retail components. Construction will be starting soon on it (soon being sometime in 2011).

    If they want dead end streets the Prominade Park south of the new I-40 is going to cause 3 or 4 of them.

  19. #19

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdhumphreys View Post
    It is currently being designed as a six lane thoroughfare with the possibility of an additional designated left-hand turn lanes. The "super wide" version was even wider still.
    Blair, so you're telling us that since we gave the city flack over that and Mayor Mick conceded he'd favor downsizing the boulevard, that they really only downsized it by a lane? I remember it was going to have designated parking areas that had their own freeway exits practically..it sounds like that's all they've taken out.

    Or has the city just not gotten around to redrawing the plans for the boulevard?

  20. #20

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Kerry - I understand what you are saying. However, I am advocating that the city consider extending the central park north to Reno so as to more closely connect the new central park to downtown and improve the parks likelihood of success. Also creating a seamless, rather than interrupted, pedestrian/bike connection to the south. Thus, it is not a false premise, but rather a stated assumption that necessitates the modification to the boulevard.

    I think the advantages our significant and the costs are minimal (if at all). The planned development could just as easily be carried out on the park perimeter, helping to frame and activate the park's edge.

    Enjoying the dialogue. Thank you.

    p.s. - To be clear, I have not - at any point - advocated putting the boulevard underground. I think this is not an appropriate solution to what is an actual problem. The problem being that the boulevard disconnects the park south of the boulevard from the pedestrians north of the boulevard.

  21. #21

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    Blair, so you're telling us that since we gave the city flack over that and Mayor Mick conceded he'd favor downsizing the boulevard, that they really only downsized it by a lane? I remember it was going to have designated parking areas that had their own freeway exits practically..it sounds like that's all they've taken out.

    Or has the city just not gotten around to redrawing the plans for the boulevard?
    This is more or less correct. The overall right-of-way of the boulevard, which was originally designed at over 270 feet, has been reduced significantly. However, the central thoroughfare portion is still on track to be built with at least six lanes, more or less creating an urban condition similar to that provided by E.K. Gaylord boulevard between downtown and Bricktown.

  22. #22

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by bdhumphreys View Post
    This is more or less correct. The overall right-of-way of the boulevard, which was originally designed at over 270 feet, has been reduced significantly. However, the central thoroughfare portion is still on track to be built with at least six lanes, more or less creating an urban condition similar to that provided by E.K. Gaylord boulevard between downtown and Bricktown.
    OK, so basically what needs to happen here is the city needs to receive more grief and go back to the drawing board again and design a street with no more than 4 lanes that are narrow. Are there federal or state funding requirements in the U.S. that place restrictions on lane width? That might also be an issue.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind if they attempted a somewhat wide median with huge trees. If they did that though, it had better be a street that is still pretty easy to cross..30 mph at the most. Perhaps utilize the median as park space. I'm not against creating a thoroughfare that is truly "world-class" I'm just saying do it realistically. The worst we can do is create a boulevard with too much capacity that will never be needed. That's not urban. The reason those 8-lane boulevards with enormous plazas are "world-class" in Europe and Buenos Aires is because they are full of traffic and people. Such would NOT be even close to the case in OKC.

  23. #23

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    OK, so basically what needs to happen here is the city needs to receive more grief and go back to the drawing board again and design a street with no more than 4 lanes that are narrow. Are there federal or state funding requirements in the U.S. that place restrictions on lane width?
    My understanding is that ODOT is currently in charge of the project's design and implementation, and that existing agreements require at least six lanes, each eleven feet wide - or 66' of crossing distance. The contract has already been let on the design, so a change of course would need to happen fairly soon. ODOT is just doing what they do, but while they might give us a $80 million boulevard, in the process we will significantly cripple a $120 million park.

  24. #24

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Spartan View Post
    OK, so basically what needs to happen here is the city needs to receive more grief and go back to the drawing board again and design a street with no more than 4 lanes that are narrow. Are there federal or state funding requirements in the U.S. that place restrictions on lane width? That might also be an issue.

    Personally, I wouldn't mind if they attempted a somewhat wide median with huge trees. If they did that though, it had better be a street that is still pretty easy to cross..30 mph at the most. Perhaps utilize the median as park space. I'm not against creating a thoroughfare that is truly "world-class" I'm just saying do it realistically. The worst we can do is create a boulevard with too much capacity that will never be needed. That's not urban.
    Thank you. I couldn't agree more. I would be fine with the streetcar running down the boulevard, if that's a route the ultimately looks reasonable. But it's got to be pedestrian friendly or it does create a huge barrier between the city north of the boulevard and that south. If we're going to have stop signs every block, that negates the value of a multi-lane thoroughfare and without them, it creates a huge danger zone for pedestrians and will effectively cut off any access to the river, the park and any new development south of the boulevard. We'll have a no-man's land between the river and the boulevard, which will totally destroy any value of the park. If the park is to be the shining star of MAPS 3, the boulevard has to be pedestrian centric.

  25. #25

    Default Re: When it comes to pedestrian connections, the boulevard is a dead end.

    Quote Originally Posted by betts View Post
    Thank you. I couldn't agree more. I would be fine with the streetcar running down the boulevard, if that's a route the ultimately looks reasonable. But it's got to be pedestrian friendly or it does create a huge barrier between the city north of the boulevard and that south. If we're going to have stop signs every block, that negates the value of a multi-lane thoroughfare and without them, it creates a huge danger zone for pedestrians and will effectively cut off any access to the river, the park and any new development south of the boulevard. We'll have a no-man's land between the river and the boulevard, which will totally destroy any value of the park. If the park is to be the shining star of MAPS 3, the boulevard has to be pedestrian centric.
    Can you say Lincoln Boulevard?

    My understanding is that ODOT is currently in charge of the project's design and implementation, and that existing agreements require at least six lanes, each eleven feet wide - or 66' of crossing distance. The contract has already been let on the design, so a change of course would need to happen fairly soon. ODOT is just doing what they do, but while they might give us a $80 million boulevard, in the process we will significantly cripple a $120 million park.
    Alright Blair, so what can we do?

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