A key official with the City of Oklahoma City says the City is now actively considering their plan of action for a dangerous intersection on the newly-opened Oklahoma City Boulevard.
And, even though a hard timeline was not given, action should take place before the state hands over the completed project to the City.
The response represents a shift from the City’s earlier assertions that the project still belonged to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and so questions should be directed to them.
Early Monday, Free Press interviewed Eric Wenger, Public Works Director for the City of Oklahoma City. We asked if there were plans to address the problems of the intersection before the hand-off from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
“The question about whether signage should go up, that’s a conversation that is ongoing right now to see if we need to make some additional changes before it’s even handed over to the city,” said Wenger.
“Signalization, which was maybe originally anticipated to be a little further into the future, that may advance. So, that may be sooner. That’s a conversation that’s under way.”
But, the need for signals at the intersection was anticipated, just not this soon.
“As a part of the original design, it contemplated that Klein, Lee, and Shartel actually at some point in the future would be signalized,” said Wenger. “So as traffic and development improved in those areas the signals would be added.”
This comes after Free Press discovered and reported an increasing auto-to-auto accident rate at the intersection of S. Klein and Oklahoma City Boulevard since it’s opening August 19.
Our initial report was that two crashes had occurred at the intersection within the first 48 hours after the boulevard opened.
We reported Thursday that eight collisions out of 11 on the boulevard had been at that intersection, two with
Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said there were no plans other than the two-way stop at that intersection.
After our reports of the collision numbers for the intersection at S. Klein and the boulevard just north of Farmers Market and west of downtown an increasing number of citizens have been expressing concern on social media.
There are no traffic signals at the intersection in place or currently planned.
Adding to the threat, only traffic crossing the boulevard on Klein have stop signs. Traffic on the boulevard going east and west are allowed to go through the intersection at full speed.
Council member speaks up
The intersection is in Ward 6, and the Council member representing that ward, JoBeth Hamon, rides her bike to work and to run errands.
We asked her to talk more about the intersection after she expressed concern about it on social media over the weekend.
“I didn’t put it together that I go through that intersection almost every week until I was headed to the store yesterday,” Hamon messaged us Monday. “I hadn’t been through it since the Boulevard was opened.”
“Seeing it ‘completed’ was concerning because it didn’t feel safe particularly given that it’s a main connector to the Farmers’ Market District from downtown and the residential neighborhoods just north of the boulevard,” wrote Hamon.
“I’d like to see some kind of signal or roundabout incorporated there given how wide it is to cross going south.”