The Norman Transcript

Government

August 25, 2013

Late proposals to change Lindsey Street plans complicate issue

NORMAN — Two groups normally at odds — the Norman Developers Council and self-proclaimed slow growth advocates — are finally agreeing on something. Both groups want Lindsey Street to become a landscaped boulevard with single lane traffic each way, roundabouts at intersections, and walkability to include future zoning for mixed-use, high density developments.

The slow growth advocates are dreaming of reduced speed limits, more trees, and sidewalk cafes.

Developers are seeing dollar signs and quality of life projects.

These proposed changes have come late in the planning process, however. Council member Tom Kovach represents Ward 2 where the primary work will occur on Lindsey. Kovach is concerned that voters were sold a different vision of Lindsey.

The city engineers and contracted engineering firms are scrambling to answer questions that have arisen as a result of proposed changes in the overall vision for Lindsey. The clock is ticking and the dollars are adding up. So far, about $100,000 extra has been tallied up in design fees to address the recent dialogue around Norman’s most famous street.

Birth of a new vision for Lindsey: Representatives from the University of Oklahoma participated in stakeholder meetings throughout 2012. In March 2012, Blair Humphreys, executive director for OU’s Institute for Quality Communities became involved in the discussions.

“IQC was the first group we contacted at the mayor’s request,” said Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary. “We welcomed it.”

The IQC would later host Dan Burden of Walkable and Livable Communities to bring fresh ideas to the visioning process. OU President David Boren became an advocate of a slower moving Lindsey with roundabouts instead of signals to allow a continuous flow of traffic. Boren also supported landscaped medians.

The landscaped median has been embraced, but roundabouts created design problems for engineers.

City engineering report: The city design team determined that two lane roundabouts would take too much right of way and be too costly to be feasible. Boren and the IQC team responded with new ideas. The Lindsey vision continues to evolve as a result of that ongoing dialogue.

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