Those words from Jeff Speck, hired to advise the city on making downtown more walkable, keep echoing in mind. Will city leaders follow up on Jeff Speck’s recommendations? Or will critics prevail in their thinking that Speck is prone to exaggeration and his ideas should be taken with a grain of salt?
I don’t know.
But I do know this. I do know that the following photo was not staged when it was taken by one of The Oklahoman’s best, Jim Beckel:
This stretch of Hudson crosses through an area populated with venues that draw young and old on a daily basis. We’re talking about the downtown library, the Myriad Gardens, Stage Center, the Oklahoma County Courthouse, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and City Hall.
Consider Jeff Speck’s warning – no real change will take place without a strong, clear mandate from the city council that downtown streets and sidewalks can no longer be the chief consideration for city traffic planners. And then watch this controversial video from the U.K. (Beware – it’s disturbing and not pleasant):
Is this a horrible scare tactic on my behalf? Maybe. The video was provided to me by someone who thinks Jeff Speck shouldn’t be quickly dismissed. I’ll leave it for you to judge whether it relates to this conversation.
Let’s close this post with one of several stories I could pull from The Oklahoman’s archives:
Longtime city attorney struck, killed in accident
By Ty Mcmahan
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Edition: CITY, Section: NEWS, Page 15A
A longtime Oklahoma City attorney was struck by a car and died Wednesday outside the Oklahoma County Courthouse.
David Shumake, 80, was walking across the street at about 8:45 a.m. at Harvey and Robert S. Kerr when a car hit him and threw him into the air. He landed on his head and was pronounced dead three hours later, according to his law partner.
Shumake had practiced law in Oklahoma City for more than 50 years, said Doug Hilbert, his partner.
“He was a good attorney — just a very special guy,” he said.
Hilbert said Shumake was walking to the courthouse to visit a judge. A police officer returned a file to Hilbert that Shumake had been carrying.
“He said it was all over the street,” Hilbert said.
Police also told Hilbert the driver was not cited, he said.
Shumake received his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1950. He became a lawyer later that year. Hilbert said his partner specialized in real estate matters.
Shumake’s passion was boating, his partner said. He was involved with the United States Power Squadron, a nonprofit, educational organization dedicated to making boating safer and more enjoyable by teaching classes in seamanship, navigation and related subjects.
“He just enjoyed getting on blue water,” Hilbert said. “He would go near South America and go boating. He would go down there for a couple of weeks. He loved it.”
Hilbert said Shumake is survived by two sons.