The Norman Transcript

July 14, 2013

Trail nearing completion

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — It’s been more than 20 years since city officials first envisioned a walking and cycling trail that extended throughout the community from State Highway 9 and Chautauqua to far northwest Norman.

In the early days, it involved cleaning up parcels along the railroad tracks that had become something of an industrial eyesore. Much has happened in the interim. Ruby Grant Park was acquired near I-35 and Franklin Road, University North Park with its Legacy Park was developed and the Robinson Street underpass was designed and built.

The long-awaited final segment of Legacy Trail is nearly complete. A contractor is installing the remaining link between the OU campus and the start of the Legacy Trail at Jenkins Avenue and Duffy Street.

“Except for a few small pieces, it will essentially be complete,” the city’s parks director Jud Foster said. Walkers or cyclists can start at the southern terminus at Highway 9 and travel for miles on wide sidewalks.

Early morning walks or rides around the OU campus are a favorite for many in Norman. From overhead, it’s just a giant city park with landscaping, sculpture and lots of sidewalks. One of my favorite panoramic campus spots seems a bit cluttered with those concrete barriers intended to keep cars out.

It’s on Asp Avenue, just south of the Oklahoma Memorial Union. Standing outside the fountain by the Price College of Business, one can see most aspects of campus life.

Price Hall is the academic side. On the right is Buchanan Hall, where students (or their parents) pay tuition and fees and where academic records are kept; On the left is Wagner Hall, home to many student services. In the distance is the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and to the left is the McCasland Field House which seems to get better with age.

When visitors travel down Asp Avenue past the Union to the circular turnaround, their view is less than panoramic pleasure. Those massive concrete barriers may be necessary in the war on terrorism but it sure robs us of one of the most beautiful spots on campus.

Here’s a little-known perk for Carnival Cruise lines: If you happen to be the unfortunate traveler whose luggage is lost by an airline, the cruise ship will do whatever laundry you do have for free each night.

That was our first-world problem last week. A carefully-planned general strike in Lisbon, Portugal, caused our 3 checked bags to sit in an airport for the duration of a long-planned, 35-year wedding anniversary Mediterranean Cruise.

The strike caused us to miss two days of the cruise. We flew ahead of the big boat and boarded at the second stop. Besides the cruise ship’s help, we happened to meet a friendly Broken Arrow, Oklahoma couple who literally offered us some of their own clothes.

We survived and learned a few things: Attitude is everything. We can all pack a little lighter. A man can go just about anywhere in the world wearing khakis, a white shirt and blue blazer. Five thousand miles from home the Oklahoma standard is still at work.

Andy Rieger