It’s been a busy few weeks and I’m still trying to catch up on all that is happening downtown. We’ve seen a lot written about the cutbacks on Project 180. One early ambition that is apparently victim to all this is the desire to improve the intersection of NW 4, NW 3, E.K. Gaylord and Broadway.
A few years back Blair Humphreys, OKC’s own rising star on urban design and planning, suggested a change was long overdue for this intersection, a creation of the I.M. Pei Plan of the 1970s. Humphreys’ suggestion was rather simple: reconnect 3rd Street and Broadway, end E.K. Gaylord at 3rd where traffic either turns right or left instead of merging into one giant intersection with Broadway, 3rd and 4th Streets. Walkability Jeff Speck said a big “amen” to Blair’s concerns. Ironically, the project that prompted Blair to delve into the problems caused by this intersection, the construction of a new headquarters for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, appears to be in a deep freeze. But the issues for downtown commuters and pedestrians remain the same.
Here is what was proposed early on with Project 180:
Notice that when given a chance to pursue the fix proposed by Blair Humphreys and Jeff Speck, designers at the instruction of city staff went instead with a “dressing up” of the existing grid instead. Keep in mind, city staff was never enthused about the changes proposed by Humphreys and Speck.
So what’s next? Does this issue die all together?