The Norman Transcript

October 20, 2012

Continuous network of trails needed for greater accessibility

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Motorists would be shocked for a road to suddenly dead end at the city limits. Those who depend on sidewalks and trails for access however experience that situation daily in Norman and throughout Central Oklahoma.

With that in mind, the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments is working to coordinate a regional sidewalk and bike path plan to “provide a continuous network of trails for safe and effective travel,” according to a recent press release issued by ACOG.

“Norman is a very active member of ACOG,” said Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary. ”We have two members and two alternates on the Intermodal Transportation Technical Committee.  Council member Tom Kovach serves on the Intermodal Transportation Policy Committee, while Mayor Cindy Rosenthal serves as the alternate. Like all transportation programs at ACOG, the City of Norman will be very involved in the first regional trails plan.”

This month ACOG began a planning effort “to develop the first regional trails plan for Central Oklahoma. Many of the communities in our region already have, or are currently drafting, a bicycle and pedestrian trails master plan,” according to the release.

“I think it is fair to say that Norman is a leader in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in the area of trails planning and multi-modal transportation initiatives,” O’Leary said. “Of course, there is much more to do on the ground.”

ACOG reports that while individual efforts by municipalities in Central Oklahoma is not new, a regionally coordinated trails plan will provide a more effective framework for bicycle and pedestrian transportation decision-making at local and regional levels.

“We have embraced regional transportation planning for many years,” O’Leary said.

Meanwhile, Norman is moving forward with long-ranging planning initiatives for the growing city.

“Two current Norman initiatives in this area include the recently adopted Greenway/Trails Master Plan and the upcoming Comprehensive Transportation Plan,” O’Leary said. “Both of these planning efforts lend great support to trails, sidewalks, bike paths and other multi-modal transportation systems in and around Norman.”

Norman has a Bicycle Advisory Committee that meets monthly to map out safe bike routes and help promote safe multi-modal options in Norman.

“The Bicycle Advisory Committee has been an proactive citizen committee since forming in 2007 and they made a great deal of progress in Norman,” O’Leary said.

The ACOG plan is scheduled to be completed by summer 2013.

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