This is the city’s wish list for the area surrounding the new Interstate 40 alignment:
- Ensure new developments are complementary to, not competitive with existing downtown development
- Create a world-class boulevard
- Create a dense, urban live-work community
- Improve access to downtown destinations
- Connect the Oklahoma River to downtown
- Mitigate the impacts of the Interstate 40 realignment, focusing on improved traffic flow, neighborhood revitalization, complimentary land use and enhanced pedestrian mobility
- Consider alternate modes of transit
- Research and recommend financing options
- Address issues related to services for homeless residents
A fairly tall order, but this is what the Mayor’s steering committee came up with yesterday. (More detailed overview here.)
Regular readers will remember that I was not thrilled with this particular alignment of I-40, mostly because it effectively isolates Union Station from the existing multiple rail lines that could make it into an instant (well, comparatively speaking) rail-transit hub. It’s probably too late to change any minds at ODOT, but the committee is at least giving lip service to “consider[ing] alternate modes of transit.”
None of this is going to happen immediately; that vaunted boulevard, for instance, won’t even be started until the new I-40 loop is finished, which will be late 2008 at the earliest. And the success of the plan, I suspect, will be at least partially dependent upon whether the traditional power structure insists on wielding its traditional power, or has enough sense to get out of the way.
Then again, I retain a measure of hope, if only because I was here through the Bad Old Days, and we’ve made rather a nice recovery since.