The Norman Transcript

August 31, 2013

Norman streets need work


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

It is my opinion that the citizens of Norman are intelligent enough to recognize that the condition of Norman streets is deplorable. Further, present cross town passageways both north-south and east-west are inadequate. Future needs will cause intolerable traffic snarls.

Why you people feel the need to hire some out-of-town or state group to give their opinion is beyond me. Does not anyone in the planning department and or one of the state universities have the expertise needed to do any needed research to base current and future needs on?

It is obvious that Lindsey needs to be at least five lanes at all major streets. Further it is mandatory that pedestrian and bicycle underpasses be installed at multiple locations from Elm Street to Jenkins. These underpasses should be installed across Jenkins as well as Lindsey. This may involve taking some of OU’s property, but it will be to the benefit of the students there as well as improve traffic flow and safety.

Roundabouts are an institution in Great Britain and they work well, but they are certainly used with caution. The culture has had centuries to work to imbue the concept of its citizenry. The roundabouts are well marked there. None of that applies to what is installed in Norman.

Boyd should be four lanes from west 24th Avenue to east 12th Avenue and should be five lanes from Elm to Jenkins with the center lane being for turns. Pedestrian and bicycle underpasses should be installed in the Campus Corner area. The minimum would be at Asp, Jenkins and University Boulevard. They should be four way underpasses (an X configuration would work and save money but would be a bit of a hassle). These improvements will require the moving of the installed class arches to the south 20 feet or so.

Further, it is my opinion that Mr. Boren and the University of Oklahoma have no business sticking their nose into the city of Norman’s business when it comes to transportation issues that affect the entire city.

Berry Road should be five lanes from Robinson Street to Highway 9.

The city is allowing building growth in all directions but is providing woefully little north-south and east-west routes to handle the increasing traffic that is the result of that growth. The condition of north Berry Road is a joke.

The city needs to plan and begin implementation now for future requirements. That means you need to determine how much money has to be raised and go to the people for bond money to make it happen.

Note that the citizens do not trust you to spend the bond money for what it was promised for. Thus, you must make any bond plea ironclad that the funds will be spent for the projects they were raised to complete.

My guess is it will cost between $200 to $400 million to do the job properly. Quit trying to do the job a bit here and a piece there. Use of turn lanes should be enforced throughout Norman.

While on the subject of traffic, it is high time that traffic cameras and associated radar devices were installed in this city. The number of drivers ignoring stop signs, running red lights, speeding in school zones, etc. is increasing and we cannot afford to have a policeman on every corner.

I understand in the past when the subject has come up there were complaints about an invasion of people’s privacy. That just sounds to me like an excuse made by those people that break the law, to keep them from being ticketed.

Meanwhile you have judged everyone in town to be a criminal by installing speed humps all over the city. Thus you are punishing the law abiding people, who are the majority, rather than identifying and catching the criminals (the minority). That probably is unconstitutional if anyone decided to sue the city.

The way the recent “meeting” was called to discuss Lindsey Street, by the mayor and President Boren, demonstrated total disregard for the people of Norman. It was announced in The Transcript the morning of the meeting. That left any interested party no time to schedule or make adequate preparations to attend and provide input. Why it was even announced if no input was really desired is a mystery to me.

It seems the bicycle lobby has a significant influence with the city council. Perhaps it is time to license all bicycles that use the city streets. Say a tax of $50 per year to help pay for bicycle lanes.

I could go on but even this probably has been a total waste of my time.

HAROLD H. HARALSON SR.

Norman