Officials from the University of Oklahoma agree.
“We have an opportunity to make (Lindsey Street) beautiful and make traffic flow,” University of Oklahoma President David Boren said.
To make the streetscape beautiful — to take the plan for a good street and turn it into a great street — Burden proposes a triple canopy of landscaping. Instead of a center turn lane, a center median with trees would form a third area of landscaping to complement the streetside landscaping.
Bike lanes and landscaping provide a buffer to make pedestrians on sidewalks feel safe and secure, Burden said.
Burden also proposed roundabouts instead of traffic lights at intersections. To start with, 24th Avenue and McGee Drive would retain their signal lights, but roundabouts at other intersections would slow vehicles down and provide a smoother flow of traffic at Murphy, Wiley Street and Berry Road.
Roundabouts are a different way of doing an intersection. They calm traffic, but vehicles get to destinations more quickly because there is continuous flow instead of a backlog from stopping at lights. Roundabouts create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, Burden said, and reduce crashes and fatalities.
Pedestrian crossings could be incorporated at halfway points and would increase accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists because people cross two lanes of traffic safely to the median, then cross two more lanes of traffic from the median to the other side. This means a pedestrian only has to watch for traffic coming from one direction.
Additionally, U-turns incorporated into the medians would allow vehicles easy access to both sides of the street versus trying to cross over several lanes of traffic during peak hours. Bus stops are another portion of the multimodal transportation portfolio envisioned for Lindsey.
Burden said accidents and injuries are dramatically lowered with these types of street improvements.
“It was not a popular idea when I started,” Burden said. “Now 80 percent of Americans want to live in a walkable community.”