The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 4, 2013

City planners weigh in on Lindsey Street vision for the future

NORMAN — Norman must finalize design plans to widen Lindsey Street soon — the state has moved the Interstate 35 and Lindsey overpass replacement forward. Originally proposed for 2016, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation project now has a 2015 target date. That puts the city on a tight timeline for coordinating the construction of Lindsey with the overpass.

Even with a shortened timeline, the city will not take shortcuts in making a quality project.

“The investment in that corridor will prompt reinvestment,” Norman City Manager Steve Lewis said.

Meanwhile, the design dialogue continues.

Norman residents recently were asked to imagine a new vision for Lindsey Street. Dan Burden, co-founder of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, presented a new vision of Lindsey with more landscaping, roundabouts instead of signal lights and a village concept versus the current strip mall approach.

Residents and business owners have responded to the ongoing Lindsey Street discussions with great interest. One concern of any design adopted will be federal funding implications.

Other questions remain — namely, would Burden’s vision for Lindsey be allowable with the current bond language?

Yes, city staff said. And much of that vision is already incorporated into city plans or has been considered by city staff. While some elements of Burden’s proposal could present challenges, several options are under consideration as the design process proceeds.

“When you’re putting together a bond program, cities do not go out and design a project; they do conceptual planning to estimate the construction cost,” Lewis said.

Prior to the bond’s passage, consulting firm Cabbiness Engineering did a conceptual study and got feedback from property owners and merchants. That planning identifies estimated cost and starts the community dialogue process.

“Now we’re in the design phase,” Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said. “We wouldn’t waste taxpayer money detailing something before the bond has passed. We really talked in general terms.”

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