The Norman Transcript

May 14, 2014

Norman City Council adopts comprehensive transit plan unanimously, despite debate

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Last-minute amendments proposed to the city’s first Comprehensive Transportation Plan resulted in a bumpy ride at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. Despite a 6 to 3 vote against the amendments, the plan was adopted unanimously.

The addendums were proposed to allow for additional findings from the Center City Visioning project currently under way.

“It was an evolving process, and now we’re in another evolving process,” said Council member Lynne Miller, who made the motion for the amendment.

Council members Tom Kovach, Robert Castleberry and Chad Williams voted against the amendment in the name of transparency, saying the public should have had time to vet those changes.

Kovach spoke in support of the plan, despite his objection to the additions.

“You don’t take an 18-month process and make a change at the last minute,” Kovach said.

Freese and Nichols collected public and stakeholder input and worked with city leadership to put the comprehensive transportation plan together. Work on the plan has been in depth. Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said it was worth the time and effort.

“It will have a life of 20 years,” O’Leary said.

The plan is a guiding document that will assist in future transportation planning.

 “It is the culmination of extensive amounts of work that stretches over 14 months,” said Eddie Haas of Freese and Nichols. “The transportation plan is forming a framework over the next 20 years. It is a living document, and it has to be flexible.”

In other city business, the council approved a zoning change from C-2 to C-3 to allow a CVS Pharmacy at 735 Asp Ave.

A $25 technology fee for municipal court fines also was approved.

The fee will be charged and collected on all citations disposed of within municipal court except for parking violations or citations that are voided, declined for prosecution or dismissed without costs. That means all traffic citations will be $25 more expensive in the future.

The council also approved a salary increase for the city manager from $156,832 to $165,000 annually.

Friday is Bike to Work Day throughout the state. In honor of that day, Norman — along with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments — is hosting a rally at Andrews Park at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

John Sharp of ACOG talked about the role the Norman Bicycle Advisory Committee has played in identifying cycling corridors and enhancing the safety of commuting by bike in Norman.

ACOG has worked with the city to organize short group rides to meet up at Andrews Park on Friday in celebration of Bike to Work Day. Start options for group rides meet at 8 a.m. at the Norman Regional HealthPlex, Norman Regional Hospital’s Education Center Parking and at the Murray Case Sells Swim Center. A ride from Moore Norman Technology Center will start at 7:30 a.m.

ACOG encourages people to ride their bikes to work or check for other opportunities to ride throughout Bike Month.

Joy Hampton



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