Public response was passionate on both sides of the issue with some accusing the university of throwing its political weight around and others praising the university for its contributions.
People asked how pedestrians and bicycles would safely navigate a roundabout and how much the additional costs would be. Information about the needs of right of way for a roundabout at Lindsey were not available as the engineering studies are ongoing.
Mayor Cindy Rosenthal promised that information in the near future but had few answers at this time. Discussion focused on what constitutes quality to Norman residents.
Ellen Frank asked how changes will affect neighborhood streets.
“We seem to stop projects going forth at the last minute,” Frank said. “I’m all for beautifying Lindsey and making it safer, but we’re an integrated town and we have to think about how what we do in one part of town will affect what happens in another part of town.”
Business owner Randy Woods supports Lindsey as a major arterial.
“Lindsey is a major arterial street — if it was not we would not have a 7-lane bridge being put in (at the interstate interchange),” Woods said.
Engineer Jim Hunt said changes are coming very late in the planning phase.
“This job has been in planning since 2010. There are two and a half years of public meetings,” he said. “They’re supposed to provide 90 percent plans in November.”
Hunt said roundabouts have their place when engineering supports that, but he does not believe Berry is the right place for a roundabout. He said OU event traffic is managed by making traffic flow one way in and one way out. The city can’t do that with roundabouts. He said there are right of way costs, property rights issues and fire response times to think about.