The Norman Transcript

Opinion

July 28, 2013

Only one chance to remake Lindsey

NORMAN — A local developer and longtime Norman resident, speaking to a Lindsey Street developer makeover group last week, said OU faculty members are rarely brought to see the campus via West Lindsey Street. Recruiters use State Highway 9, Jenkins Avenue, Chautauqua Avenue and East Lindsey.

Residents avoid the street on home game days and at other times for fear of congestion and accidents. And when it rains hard and fast — like it did Friday morning — water backs up on McGee Drive at Lindsey Street and elsewhere, making the roads nearly impassable.

Norman voters approved a package of improvements to West Lindsey Street this past year as part of a transportation and drainage bond issue. It pairs local tax money with a federal portion. The east Lindsey makeover near Brandt Park has made a beautiful gateway to the campus.

As the West Lindsey project progressed, OU’s Institute for Quality Communities began to ask the “what if” question.

Participants, fresh from a major conference on “placemaking,” contemplated a different kind of Lindsey Street, more walkable with roundabouts instead of stop lights, a landscaped center median, pedestrian crossings and bicycle lanes.

“You get one good chance to reinvent Lindsey, and it’s now,” community planner Dan Burden told an open meeting of stakeholders Thursday. “A great street is something that harvests the best of the community and sets a template for the community.”

City officials have looked at some of the ideas. As in any such project, the devil is in the details. We believe the plan is worthy of further review by all stakeholders.

Future meetings with city staff, contracted engineers, property owners and businesses and OU’s Institute are in order.

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