Downtown traffic advisory; 6/30
Hudson from Park to Main to be reduced to one lane
Southbound Hudson Avenue between Park Avenue and Main Street will be reduced to one lane starting July 6 so crews can install a new utility line.
The work, which is part of a larger utility line installation project on Hudson Avenue between Park Avenue and Sheridan Avenue, will be done in several phases.
The first phase between Park Avenue and Main Street should be completed in July. The second phase, which will begin immediately following completion of the first, will result in the complete closure of Hudson Avenue south of Main Street. Drivers are advised to watch for construction status updates and plan to start taking alternate routes toward the end of July.
Sheridan Avenue between Hudson and Robinson
Sheridan Avenue between Robinson Avenue and Hudson Avenue remains closed for utility work.
Film District improvements
The following traffic disruptions are part of ongoing street improvements in the Film District.
* Lee Ave. is temporarily closed from Main to Reno.
* Shartel Ave. is temporarily closed from Main to Reno.
* Sheridan is reduced to one lane in each direction from Walker to Classen.
All project timelines are contingent upon the weather.
You’ve got to give it up to these folks – they’re really stepping up their development, marketing and event efforts. If you don’t visit their website, www.welcometobricktown.com, you’re missing out on material like this:
Pete, the owner, posted the following on his Facebook page:
“Sorry everyone but we had to pull the site down for a couple of days to do some maintenance. Hope to have it back up in a day or two and will post again when things are ready to go.”
I’m toying with an idea I’m not quite ready to go public with – but – I need help in determining its feasibility.
Yeah, I’m making an odd request.
Is there one spot downtown, more than any other, that one could call the community’s gathering spot? I’m thinking along the lines of a coffee shop, restaurant, or heck, maybe even a hotel or office tower lobby. In Edmond, such a spot would be easy to identify – the Around the Corner restaurant.
Let the discussion begin.
Things to consider about the MAPS 3 convention center:
- The Core to Shore task force NEVER voted or agreed on any favored sites.
- Core to Shore planners situated the convention center south of Ford Center on maps and renderings at the direction of the mayor (I was at the meeting), who at the time indicated they were not to reflect any chosen site, but rather to serve as a placeholder.
- During the MAPS 3 campaign, the mayor told residents the south of Ford Center site had been picked as the best location for the proposed convention center.
- The only experts to look at the convention center – HOK and the Urban Land Institute – advised that the site south of Ford Center is least viable for such a facility. The mayor did not attend the presentation of the Urban Land Institute report.
- The same experts gave high marks to two sites – the lumberyard south of Bricktown and a site north of Bricktown along Main Street – that the mayor has consistently indicated are not going to be considered.
- The mayor told the MAPS 3 oversight board that regardless of where they locate a convention center, $30 million of the money reserved for the convention center must go toward buying out the OG&E substation and property on the south of Ford Center convention center site.
- The council has held no vote on allocating $30 million for the OG&E property.
- The council has held no vote on limiting consideration of convention center locations to the two sites listed by the mayor – the south of Ford Center site and the Southwestern Producers Coop site (for which owners are seeking to sell it for $121 million)
- On Tuesday City Manager Jim Couch said “no due diligence” had occurred in regard to choosing a site for the proposed convention center. During the same conversation the mayor reiterated there are just two sites being considered for a new convention center.
With the exception of Tuesday’s developments, I’m reporting to you what’s been in the public record for weeks if not months.
You’ve got to give Nick Roberts credit – he’s got guts. He took on the mayor and council today over what he feels is a “railroading” of the convention center site.
What’s most interesting is that City Manager Jim Couch, Mayor Mick Cornett and Councilman Larry McAtee say there has been NO site selected, no due diligence done. YET – the mayor once again said the convention center site selection is down to TWO sites. (The mayor also dismissed concerns about the convention center selection process as “conspiracy talk”).
Couch, meanwhile, told Nick city staff made a mistake describing this as a link between the park and the proposed convention center. He added this improvement is needed with or without the convention center – thus possibly eliminating the possibility that this expenditure will be cited as cause to move forward with Cornett’s favored site at a future date.
I don’t have a phone number for Nick – though I’m a reader of his blog, www.downtownontherange.blogspot.com. I look forward to catching up with him soon….
Will the City Council Approve $1.1 Million to Ensure Connection Between Central Park and “Proposed Convention Center”?
That’s the question Tuesday morning on agenda item VI.AT.1 as city staff notes that the new I-40, previously promoted as being below grade will now be simply depressed or at grade. They are asking to tap unused bond funds to build some sort of box that would somehow prevent the new highway ramp from cutting off the MAPS 3 central park from the “proposed convention center.”
Maybe, just maybe, I was asked today by one reader, there should be a re-evaluation of Core to Shore all together? Can the Core to Shore concept work if it has a highway going through it “at grade?” Are any of the assumptions of the Core to Shore study valid anymore with this new highway design? And is anyone asking why so much money is being spent for a “proposed convention center site” that has been deemed LEAST VIABLE by HOK consultants and the Urban Land Institute?
The mayor has said repeatedly that there will a fair consideration given to all potential convention center sites. But at what point will the city have committed so much money to this site favored by Mayor Mick Cornett (I’ve heard no other elected official favor this site) that residents will be told “it’s too late – we’ve spent too much money on this one site to consider any other?”
The city council meets at 8:30 a.m. on the third floor of City Hall. Anyone wishing to speak on this item should show up in advance and fill out a notice indicating your intent.
For the past couple of months we’ve seen most questions submitted to SandRidge Energy answered with “no comment.” The last question I submitted to SandRidge last Monday was as to whether a comment by attorney Frank Hill indicating SandRidge Energy might abandon downtown if they are blocked from tearing down six buildings on their campus has gone unanswered.
But last Thursday, as I was busy reporting on the federal lawsuit against Bob Funk and the pending foreclosure of First National Center, I received the following press release through The Gooden Group along with the image shown at the top of this post:
We recognize the passion that many have shown for the development and preservation of downtown Oklahoma City. We share this passion and appreciate the overwhelming support and enthusiasm that many in the downtown community continue to show for the SandRidge Commons master plan.
We have put forth a dynamic, well-considered urban plan promising to bring vibrancy and energy to this part of downtown and accommodate our growth over the next decades, as we add attractive corporate jobs.
We remain confident SandRidge Commons is the right thing for Oklahoma City and that it will make a significant contribution to the vibrant and thriving downtown we all desire.
MAN USES INTERNET PHOTOS TO CREATE A MINIATURE FORM OF CITY
Russian artist models work after downtown
By Steve Lackmeyer
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Edition: CITY, Section: BUSINESS, Page 2B
But that hasn’t stopped Shvetsov from creating a model of downtown Oklahoma City that has turned him into somewhat of a celebrity on local message boards.
His photos, which first appeared on the Oklahoma City section of www.skyscrapercity.com, show an emerging skyline that covers all of the central business district down to the neon sign at the Union Bus Station.
Communicating via a series of e-mails, Shvetsov said he started gluing pieces of paper together into buses at age 6. He assembled his first building model of the World Trade Center in 1997.
“My friend gave me the travel magazine, which had a picture of New York,” Shvetsov said. “This model is still kept with me. In 1998 I bought the magazine Geo, in which (there was) a panoramic view of Chicago. And … I fell in love with the American city!”
Soon Shvetsov was searching an assortment of newspapers and magazines for images of American cities he could clip and save. His hobby grew even more when he bought his first computer in 2005.
“Now I have a collection of tens of thousands of photos, hundreds of articles about architecture and buildings of the United States,” Shvetsov said.
In December 2009, Shvetsov contemplated building a model of an entire downtown city.
“I decided that this would be the American city, of course, but what?” Shvetsov said. “Large — Chicago, Los Angeles, New York — too long time; small — Boise, Tacoma, Knoxville — too easy.”
Shvetsov sought out what he calls an “average” American city.
“And I began to choose — Nashville, Indianapolis, Memphis, Tulsa, Kansas City, Columbus, Charlotte, Cleveland and others,” Shvetsov said. “But my choice was Oklahoma City. Why? Because (it has a) downtown of small size and it contains buildings of various styles: modern, postmodern, Art Deco.”
Shvetsov said he relied on Google images and a popular local history blog — www.dougdawg.blogspot.com.
“In the Google Earth I measured a building plan, then opened the sites Google Maps and www.bing.com (maps),” Shvetsov said. “In the program Microsoft Paint I paint all sides of the building, choose a color.”
The drawing of a model takes from about one hour (Union Bus Station) to two days (City Place). He displayed his first models for downtown Oklahoma City on www.skyscrapercity.com in March.
Doug Loudenback, operator of www.dougdawg.blogspot.com, notes Shvetsov isn’t the first visitor from halfway around the globe. He said he was teary eyed when a video he created for the song “Oklahoma Rising” caught the attention of an Army sergeant in Iraq who needed his assistance in downloading the video to show to his troops.
He smiled when he was told by The Oklahoman that Shvetsov had relied on his site to help create a model of downtown.
“It floors me and I still don’t understand how he singled out Oklahoma City,” Loudenback said.
Shvetsov wants to visit Oklahoma City, and “many others.” In the past few weeks he has engaged in several online discussions with local residents.He also has also followed discussions about future downtown development.
“I read Doug’s blog about the launch of a tram (streetcar system planned as part of MAPS 3) in Oklahoma City,” Shvetsov said. “I liked that all the issues the government decides along with the people. We have not so, unfortunately. I think that (Oklahoma City) is very quiet city. And beautiful, especially at night.”