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Adam Knapp

The Better Boulevard Fight

By July 16, 2012

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I've been following the discussion for over a month on OKCTalk.com, a fantastic community forum. As you probably know, the I-40 relocation plan includes construction of a new downtown boulevard to follow the path of the old Crosstown. There were heated discussions about the name as well as a push by those with pedestrian concerns to have it reduced from six lanes to four. However, to my knowledge, official designs were never released, and many city residents were upset to learn recently the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) intends for a section between Western and Walker to be elevated.

Thanks to an Oklahoman report by Steve Lackmeyer, the issue is getting widespread attention, and a battle appears to be brewing. ODOT, who will eventually relinquish control of the boulevard to the city, has a primary goal of getting traffic from one place to another as quickly and efficiently as possible, but members of the community are joining together to point out we'd simply be creating a new downtown highway barrier rather than the "grand entrance" many envisioned. Put me squarely on the side of the latter. If the boulevard is to be all that it was claimed to be, it seems at-grade is the only way to go.

The group "Friends for a Better Boulevard" has established a facebook page to push for alternate designs. One of them I find quite incredible is a roundabout plan called Market Circle. You can see the full proposal and renderings here. Though City Council members all told Lackmeyer they favor some sort of at-grade option, ODOT officials are resistant to other plans, saying "We're moving forward because no one has told us to stop. And why would we stop?"

Many in OKC are now saying stop.

Rendering Andrew Stewart


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Comments

July 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm
(1) Michael P says:

If it has to be six lanes to handle the traffic, then six lanes it must be. But it cannot be elevated or grade separated in any way. To do so, we would lose the all the tremendous ground we’ve already gained by getting the barrier of I-40 out of our way.

The traffic circle optino looks incredibly beautiful and I think it will ultimately function quite well althoguh it will take some getting used to.

As for a name, i think Crosstown Parkway has a nice ring to it.

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