The Norman Transcript

Opinion

October 6, 2013

Residents didn’t vote on final vision for Lindsey Street project during election

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

In Mr. Roger Gallagher’s letter to The Transcript on Sept. 26, Mr. Gallagher states that the voters of Norman voted for the details of an engineering design for modifications to West Lindsey Street between 24th Avenue Southwest and Berry Road.

That contention misstates the truth in that the multiple designs presented for the West Lindsey project by the city’s concept consultant, and others, in anticipation of last August’s bond election were preliminary concepts.

Elements of these concepts were used in explanation of the vision for the project; however, it was never said that any of those drawings were to be a final design.

In information provided to the voters before the bond election it was promised that opportunities for public input would be provided along the way as the final engineering design was formulated.

“Opportunity for public input,” if it is genuine, connotes the possibility that refinements, improvements and revisions might be introduced into the design.

In the absence of such input opportunity, with the engineering design approximately 50 percent complete (according to the city staff) on June 27, OU’s Institute for Quality Communities began a series of presentations and discussions with local citizens, city staff and West Lindsey stakeholders exploring how the concepts of “livability and walkability” might be implemented in the West Lindsey St final design.

Ideally, public discussion of the final design would have begun months earlier.

The sessions were led by Dan Burden, an international expert in “livability and walkability” and roadway design.

Advocates of Mr. Burden’s suggestions, recommendations and sentiments seek to improve the appearance and quality of life in an area of the city long criticized as unattractive, poorly developed and unnavigable.

While we admire Mr. Gallagher and others who defend “ethics, morality and religion,” the facts have been blurred (perhaps by the passage of a year) in contending that an “original plan,” or a “detailed engineering design,” was decided upon at the time of the bond election last August (nor has one yet been decided upon).

Joe Sparks

West Lindsey Street stakeholder, Norman

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