Forgive me, but how could I miss a chance to catch up in person last week with Blair Humphreys? And yes, we discussed how city traffic engineers nixed a proposal by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber to create a more urban, pedestrian friendly intersection at E.K. Gaylord, Robert S. Kerr Ave. and Broadway.
What Blair missed out on (he had to leave before 5 p.m.) but I didn’t was a chance to observe traffic at this intersection that supposedly carries way too much traffic to be altered.
Well, what I saw at 5 p.m. was not a traffic jam. Instead, the above picture was taken at 5:05 p.m. and represents what I saw for the next 20 minutes at what is supposedly the height of rush hour.
I’m also intrigued by the idea that Automobile Alley – Broadway stretching from NW 4 to NW 13 – is destined to become downtown’s retail corridor. I’m not suggesting at all I think that’s a bad idea. The strip already has a good start with two bike shops, a florist, a t-shirt screening shop, a CD Warehouse, a liquor store, an office furniture store, an art gallery and more.
But if the city is to put its resources into making Broadway a retail corridor, would it really want to have a visual barrier between it and the surrounding downtown districts? What if the city had a visual barrier, for example, between Bricktown and the convention center and Ford Center? Would this make any sense?
And yet we have this:
With this barrier in place – the same barrier the chamber suggested should be removed as part of a restructuring of the intersection – aren’t we discouraging the rest of downtown, including several hotels, from walking on to Automobile Alley?
It’s time to take a good look at what Blair has been advocating – and what the chamber inquired about – and what I think might be coming out in a final report by consultant Jeff Speck based on a glimpse I caught of his power point.
I want to know: was the chamber’s proposal to rework this intersection really given serious consideration? As we continue with this week long discussion, I’ve sent emails to Planning Director Russell Claus and City Engineer Dennis Clowers asking the following questions:
More to come ….