I wanted to share this letter it will speak for itself.
Dear Mr. Kovach and other Councilpersons—Thank you for your stance on this issue! The widening of West Lindsey Street and resolution of the associated drainage problems has been debated for years. ODOT, the FHWA, the City of Norman, the University, adjacent business interests and the citizens of Norman have had input on potential solutions for more than a decade. While the resulting design is certainly not perfect and does not meet with unanimous approval, it will solve the flooding problems, mitigate congestion and safety issue, is financially viable (by qualifying for a mix of federal, state, regional and local funding) and will beatify this section of Lindsey. Most importantly after all of the meetings and stakeholder input it was approved in a bond action by the voters of Norman!
My wife and I have lived at 1013 Joe Keeley Drive (one block south of Lindsey and Pickard) for the last 10 years and we were proud to be part of the process and vote for the project. It now seems that after the election and the start of design those who either chose not to partake in the process or lost the election want to have it re-visited and worse want to completely alter the design with no thought of federal, state and local processes or funding. I graduated from OU in 1970 with a degree in Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences and have more than 40 in transportation engineering. The thought of leaving Lindsey Street one lane each way and/or the use of roundabouts on this section is ludicrous to anyone with an understanding of this section of roadway and real traffic engineering knowledge.
First let’s look at the reason funding was available. It was to mitigate one of the most congested and unsafe sections of roads in Oklahoma and resolve flooding issue with a unique mix of funds and minimal right of way takes. If you don’t address all of these the funding goes away. Keeping one lane each direction kills the funding and the use of roundabouts require significant ROW takes even with just one lane each way and is completely undoable with two lane each direction.
In addition, if OU did not want Lindsey Street to be a primary entrance to the University, why did they along with the CON and the business leaders just recently fight to keep the Lindsey Street exit open with the I 35 expansion. They virtually forced ODOT and the FHWA to build a Single Point Urban Interchange at the Lindsey exit just like Main Street. Their argument at that time was that West Lindsey was a primary entrance to the University and it had significant congestion and safety issues (sound familiar?). After much coercion by OU and Norman, ODOT and the FHWA agreed to build a SPUI at a cost of $30+ million. Given the fact that the Interstate is where it is (and being expanded at a significant cost) and OU is where it is (and ever growing), West Lindsey Street is and will be a primary entrance to the University period. Therefore, let’s take advantage of approved funding and make it less congested, safer and more aesthetically pleasing while following the mandate of a bond election.
If I can help you defend this issue in any way please contact me and thanks again for your stance for the citizens of Norman.—Jim and Kathy Hunt
Jim Hunt, PE, CCM
Oklahoma District Director
75 years of design, engineering and project management excellence
350 David L. Boren Blvd., Suite 1510, Norman, OK, 73072
Tel: +1 (405) 321 2480 l Fax: +1 (405) 321 2490 l Cell: +1 (405) 464 6564