The Norman Transcript

Government

October 17, 2012

Council examines $300K contract

NORMAN — Company would coordinate transportation plan for Norman

At its next meeting, the Norman City Council will consider a $300,000 contract with Freese and Nichols for coordinating a Comprehensive Transportation Plan for Norman.

This week, council members were introduced to goals, objectives and a method for moving forward with this plan, should members approve the contract.

If approved, subcommittees will look at various modes of transportation — from autos and parking to public transit, pedestrian, bikes, freight, airport and emergency response.

Open collaborative sessions, independent group work and a combined wrap-up session will bring subcommittees and the information they have gathered together. Public information and input will be facilitated through newsprint, websites and social media.

Norman’s existing transportation systems will be assessed. Surveys in 2009 and 2011 put taking care of the city’s existing roads, bridges, sidewalks and other infrastructure as a high priority for Norman residents.

If approved, transportation needs also will be assessed, and travel forecast modeling will be used to help predict future needs. Funding options will be explored as part of the plan.

Council members asked a series of questions regarding the purpose and function of the proposed plan. Funding already has been set aside in the budget.

Attorney Harold Heiple, who represents the Norman Developers Council, asked why Norman needs to contract a transportation plan when the city has the staff and the know-how to prioritize projects in-house.

Heiple said Norman already has the Stormwater Master Plan, which has yet to be implemented.

Other concerns voiced by the audience included a concern for continuous sidewalks in areas of need for greater accessibility and whether the plan will consider how better to create a corridor between the east and the west sides of Norman.

Joy Hampton366-3539jhampton@normantranscript.com

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