When you think of the downtown street construction worker, does the kind of dirty wolf whistling at the ladies stereotype pop into your head?
Well that was yesterday. Today, the street construction worker will barely look at a woman … I know! Good news, bad news? Of course, good news.
They’re actually polite, respectful, and working their butts off! They barely have time to look up and whistle. The only whistling they do is to each other to get their attention for assistance.
I’m working in the middle of the Project 180 construction, right by the Civic Center, Oklahoma City Museum of Art and City Hall. I can be real patient with construction because I’ve learned it will be over with before you know it and that sometimes you have to get through a lot of ugly to get pretty. So I try to show respect back to the worker.
I’ve seen people yell at them. I hate that! Maybe that’s not the person you should be yelling at … you yeller.
One thing I kid them about is saying things like, “Are you guys almost done with this?” When clearly, they are not! They look at me like, “Are you craz?”y and I give them this look that says “I’m so kidding you, silly!”
I’ve seen them very concerned when a “downtown dummy” is going the wrong way down a one-way. It really upsets them. They want to help them. I’ve learned from the many years downtown, a downtown dummy will quickly learn they’re going the wrong way. Hey! I’ve been there.
Currently, they are replacing sewage pipes down Walker between Main and Robert S. Kerr. They dig way down deep. The deepness into the street kind of freaks me out. So I like to bend a little bit and look down the hole and go, “Whoa!”
I look at the dirt as a part of history — is that dirt from 1889?? The construction workers humor me. One time they let me look down into the sewage tunnel — you know, the kind where super heroes nemesis live? Freaky!
For spring break, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art held its art camps. The instructor for the class with ages 8-10 decided to take the kids outside and have them sketch the construction of Hudson at Couch and also the new Devon tower. Little did they know it would be AWESOMENESS!!!
They happened to be demolishing Hudson that day. The kids with their sketching pads proceeded to draw what they were seeing then — the cranes lifted up, then hammered down on the concrete breaking it apart. The kids started chanting ‘Tear it up! Tear it up!”
The construction workers were laughing. One even talked to the teacher, asking about the students. He said he was an artist himself! That was an exciting day for the kids … and me too. I totally get why little boys love those toy tractor, crane-type trucks. I would love to handle one — just once … just the little one.
In a world where business people are teamed with construction crews, it’s nice to just all get along. Respect each others’ jobs. The mess will go away, flowers and green grass will come back. The jarring of your office will stop. And while you’re looking out your office window, you’ll think, “Wonder what their next project will be?”
Here’s a video of the kids screaming “Tear it up!” It’s very short because I thought I was taking a photo. (New iPad dummy here)
Here, I’m taking a photo of their finished sketches but I actually took a two second video
I live in the Village, Oklahoma. It’s a small municipality located within northwest Oklahoma City around May, Penn, Hefner, Britton. It was raining recently while I was driving down Britton east to Broadway extension. Water was lining up in the streets. I drove right through it. I had no other choice. The water drenched my car to the point where I could not see anything for a few seconds. It was kind of scary but it was only seconds. I was by the infamous drainage ditch by Village Drive, aka: The Village River to locals. It made me wonder, why is the Village prone to street flooding. I went into their history records. It’s a bit storied but not uncommon with new developments – new, as in 1950s new. Picking up in the mid-1950s, here’s a portion from the Village, OK History web page, chapter 13:
As the town (the Village) grew, drainage started to become more and more of a problem. The developers being in total control of the town government from the very outset had not been required to invest in the necessary infrastructure to handle the storm run off. The problem was only exacerbated as more and more neighborhoods continued to spring up. Before long the worsening situation garnered the attention of community leaders including Kenneth Sain who served on the Planning Commission and later as Mayor of the town. Sain initiated a campaign to begin educating his colleagues about the serious drainage problem that existed at Village Drive and Stratford. Sain’s efforts eventually led to a bond issue to address the serious drainage problem as well as other needs of the community. Much to Sain’s dismay, the proposed drainage improvements were not well received by the community and critics loudly ridiculed the plan referring to it disdainfully as “Sain’s Drain”. When the matter finally came to a vote in May of ’54 it, not surprisingly, went down to defeat. The stunning setback would delay further efforts to address this chronic drainage problem until the late ‘50’s.
In October of 1959 a group of citizens descended upon the Council to demand action by the Council to begin addressing the chronic drainage problems along Village Drive. In response to the public outcry, the Council commissioned Phillips & Stong Engineering Company to do a cost study. Their report came back in December. The Council, apparently going numb upon hearing the figures, put the proposed improvements on ice one more time.
By the mid 60’s, the drainage issue would resurface again in a big way. A petition containing the signatures of 122 residents was presented to the Council in September, 1966. Residents again demanded action. Evert Stong, now the City Engineer, was directed by the Council to provide new cost estimates. It might have seemed like déjà vu to some, but this time things were different and the Council was in a position both politically and financially to deliver the goods. Bids were sought the following spring and the first section of the channel south of Britton Road was finally completed in 1967. This initial accomplishment, however modest, set in motion a series of channel improvements which spanned a period of 22 years and culminated in 1989 with the completion of the last section of the channel between Vineyard Blvd and Hefner Road.
For many years the so-called “Village Ditch” provided a habitat for crawdads, snakes and other vermin and, most certainly, was a delight for many a young naturalists. Yet, before the improvements were made, serious flooding occurred along the banks of the ditch from time to time causing considerable
property damage and sometimes endangering lives.
During one notable torrential downpour in 1977, water poured across Pennsylvania Avenue from Casady School and flowed down Dublin toward Village Drive. There the stream converged with a torrent of water flowing down Stratford Drive. The ditch quickly overflowed its banks. The resulting deluge washed parked cars off Village Drive into the unimproved channel carrying them down the channel all the way to the bridge at the south end of the Whispering Hills Apartments. Police Officer Jim Wingert was on duty that day and remembers the raging torrent reaching the doorsteps of homes on Village Drive.
“A female motorist trying to cross the channel at Carlton Way was literallyswept into the channel. She somehow got out of the car and was pulled to safety by nearby onlookers. As the water receded, I remember being amazed as the subsiding waters revealed five submerged cars that had been washed up against the bridge, “ said Wingert.
Flooding continues to be a problem today in parts of The Village despite extensive improvements that have been made over the years. End//
So there you have it! For more on the Village, OK, click here.
And just today, I managed to shoot this from my car on my iPad.
I live in the Village. I have three ways to get to work in downtown. #1-Hefner Expressway to I-44 to 1-40 & the new Crosstown. #2- Hefner, or as my great aunt Doty called it “108th” because she never got over that it was named Hefner, to Broadway Extension to 6th Street and #3- (a favorite when I feel like taking a scenic venture into work) – Pennsylvania through Nichols Hills, to Grand Blvd., through Nichols Hills Park, down the new Classen Curve area (changing daily!) then to Robert S. Kerr. Lately when I take route number 3 I’ve noticed that the City of Nichols Hills has installed electronic speed monitoring signs. Three that I’ve seen so far. First of all, I like the challenge of the sign monitoring my speed. It’s like it’s flashing ‘good girl for going the speed limit.’ And second I hope it does what I think it’s there to do, make people aware of their speed so they will slow down.
Nichols Hills is absolutely the most beautiful neighborhood in this city – in my opinion. It’s my “if I win the lottery I would buy a house there” neighborhood. The location is perfect. The houses are stunning. I like driving slow just to look at them. Oh and then there’s Christmastime. The problem Nichols Hills faces is Pennsylvania is a major artery for the metro area. It’s a busy street. When G.A. Nichols developed the neighborhood decades ago, it was the boondocks way out North. Who knew then that Pennsylvania would become this major street.
Speed limit signs are posted everywhere that clearly say 25 Miles Per Hour so I obey. Not that I’m just respectful of the law but because legend has it, the Nichols Hills police department doesn’t play. They will pull you over in seconds. So when I see someone speeding I think – where is the NHPD? One time a teenage girl was riding my car’s tail. I just kept my pace at the speed. She finally went around me when that’s not allowed and kind of made a motion at me. I couldn’t believe the NHPD wasn’t there to get her. Argh!
We had a different version of these signs in the Village. They were bigger and clearly temporary being on trailers. Neighbors had fun having their actual on-foot running clocked. It was the summertime and silly fun. The signs in Nichols Hills have a more permanent look to them. I have no idea if they are a permanent installation or not. I was going to call them to confirm for this blog post but then I thought – no, I don’t want to know.
Leslie (I haven’t had a speeding ticket in 30 years) A. Spears
The opening of the new I-40 East bound exits last January was a breeze! In fact, I was enjoying going back and forth between the Shields and Western exits. I explored streets that I didn’t realize existed. Two weeks into the new routine I was even making fun of the people who didn’t know how it worked. Yes. Karma came knocking on my door.
The West bound exits were opened on Sunday, February 19. I happened to be off work that week so yes, I completely forgot. I had a 6pm appointment in the Village so I left work right at 5pm, which is different for me as I work until 5:30pm. I started towards my comfortable entrance into I-40 and realized, ‘oh yes, we have a new system now don’t we?’ I immediately found Western and OH MY GOODNESS!! It was backed up with cars like we were in Houston or something. It was a massive 5pm rush hour backup. Of course my sister in Houston would have said, ‘you think that’s a traffic jam?”
I think I’m extremely downtown savvy so I thought I would just get to Penn. Yes Penn! Not remembering that my public relations colleague Terri Angiers with ODOT distinctly said on a television interview, ‘remember – Western & Shields only.’ I found what I thought was a Penn to I-40 West bound exit but instead it took me back to Reno. RENO?? Then there I am, at Reno and May, stuck in traffic again, checking in on Facebook at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds with a post “I can’t get out of downtown!” Finally I hit I-44 from NW 10th. Never touching I-40. I never felt so stupid.
I did make my appointment in time. It was only for a few minutes I was out of sorts but it seemed like an hour.
Day 2 of the WTH w/ WB I-40 adventure: I leave work at 5:30pm, hoping to miss the rush hour. I get to Western and get right to the I-40 on ramp. Hooray! But then there were three ‘this lane ends, exit only’ type exits to get me to I-44. Everyone seemed off kilter too and worse, there was a speeder who nearly back-ended someone. They weren’t letting me over either. It was nerve racking but I found my beloved I-44 exit heading north and nothing had changed with that! Homeward on!
The really good news its all temporary because it has a lot to do with the new boulevard going in. It’s going to be great. I had no problem saying good by to the old I-40 Crosstown. It was time. So I remain off kilter on my routine but that’s not so bad having a change in a daily routine. Soon I’ll have my third, fourth and fifth attempts and will get it down. It’s kind of cool too. We’re all apart of history. We were the first commuters to navigate. Maybe, just maybe this blog post would be put into the Oklahoma history archives!!
By Leslie A. Spears, new I-40 Crosstown adventurer!