The Edmond Sun

November 28, 2012

City looks at Downtown Master Plan

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — The City of Edmond revisited how it will proceed with the Downtown Master Plan at a City Council workshop as well as the Central Edmond Urban Development Board this week.

Earlier this year, the 1998 Downtown Master Plan Review Task Force presented ways to protect the future development of Broadway from Danforth to Ninth Street.

“Part of this conversation in my estimation should include a very long-term look, maybe 20-25 years out where the Edmond we see right now may not be what’s coming,” said Elizabeth Waner, city councilwoman. “I’m assuming downtown is going to become more urban if we’re successful in having transit.”

Recommendations by the group are bound to be taken into account by future city councils, said Charles Lamb, mayor.

“The 2012-13 budget has included $150,000 for a Downtown Study,” said Robert Schiermeyer, city planner. “To get started on the  study for this year, an RFQ (feasibility study) needs to be developed.”

Areas in the Central Business District (CBD) that will not be part of the study include:

• The area north of Thatcher to Danforth, from the railroad tracks to Boulevard

• The area west of the railroad to Fretz, north and south of Second Street

• The residential area along Littler, west of Boulevard, north of Ninth with the western boundary being the alley east of Broadway.

“The area of Fifth and Broadway is the focal point of the latest plan that we have,” Schiermeyer said of a gateway into the district. The city does not want to encourage open commercial display in the CBD area on south Broadway between Second Street and Fifth Street, Schiermeyer said.

“We might want to have a traffic light or some other traffic control feature to begin slowing traffic, so they can move around rather than simply going south as quickly as they can,” Schiermeyer said.

The Downtown Master Plan takes into account a possible railroad station being studied for an area south of Edmond Road and east of Broadway.

The city already owns property on Third Street including a police storage facility, parking lot and the former Edmond Senior Center. The old animal welfare shelter facility on Third Street is scheduled for demolition early next year.

This general location also is planned as a transfer station site for the Citylink bus service. Citylink’s transfer site is temporarily at the Festival Market Place.

 Waner said the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments has been looking more closely at regional transit that would be implemented in phases. The committee is focusing on how to share the costs of developing transit to create a benefit for the greater metropolitan area, said Waner, a member of the Regional Transit Dialogue Steering Committee.

“We don’t see it now but residential might be of value to the area if urban transit comes, Lamb said.

ACOG has created a regional transit partnership of key players from Edmond, Midwest City, Oklahoma City and Norman.

“We’re the only one that has ownership of a feasible use of property to be used as a station,” said Councilwoman Victoria Caldwell, a member of the Regional Transit Dialogue steering committee. The committee is focusing on creating a Regional Transit Authority, Caldwell said.

“For that reason they seem to be very interested in Edmond,” Caldwell said.

Urban Board member and downtown business owner Bryanne Wallace said parking downtown needs to become more convenient for shoppers. She would like to see the city devise a plan for more parking downtown.

Lamb said the proposed Pedestrian Bridge is also part of the master plan. The bridge would be east of the railroad tracks crossing West Edmond Road where it would link to more parking, he said.

In 2009 the Benham Company presented a bridge design that would cost the city a little more than $1 million, which also includes a $485,000 new parking lot with 142 spaces on the south side of West Edmond Road just west of Broadway. The cost of the bridge itself was projected at $565,500 in 2009.

Urban Board chairman David Forrest said the RFP should include Streetscape and enhanced connectivity to the University of Central Oklahoma.

Lamb said the Urban Board will serve as a touchstone with a consultant making recommendations. He also called for public meetings to gather more input from the community. | 341-2121