Evaluating land use codes and transportation performance in Oklahoma City

A view of downtown Oklahoma City. By Flickr user Travel Aficionado.

Oklahoma City was designed around driving, but community members and city officials want to create a street network that allows for a variety of transportation options.

City officials have been actively pursing new policies that will allow the city to grow in a more efficient and sustainable manner, but they needed help with the technical details that would allow them to tie their new plans to their local setting. Officials asked Smart Growth America to help.

Before the workshop took place, officials from the City of Oklahoma City Planning Department were already devising a new comprehensive plan for the city called planOKC, with financial support from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities. Community members have expressed great interest in creating a variety of travel modes, and planOKC calls for a street-system that works with transit trails, sidewalks, and bike networks. Oklahoma City voters have supported these endeavors at the polls, approving a one cent sales tax for capital projects that will provide $40 million in funding for trails, $10 million for sidewalks, and $130 million for a proposed streetcar system.

Smart Growth America visited Oklahoma City on April 12, 2012 for a two-day presentation and workshop on Transportation Performance Measurement. The workshop was part of Smart Growth America’s free technical assistance, made possible by a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities.

The workshop began with a public presentation and workshop led by Jim Charlier of Charlier Associates, followed by a meeting on April 13, 2012 with key city personnel from the Oklahoma City Planning Department, local transit agency, and the Metro Planning Organization. The workshop laid the foundation for Oklahoma City to create a proper analysis of their land use codes, which could be used to look for barriers to their growth goals and create recommendations for removing those barriers. The workshop was also used as a platform to address significant challenges that were identified by planOKC, so that those challenges could be tied to specific recommendations.

planOKC will be fully adopted in 2013, and the technical assistance workshop left Oklahoma City with two goals as they progress through this year. The first is to update the City’s comprehensive plan to include transportation performance measures as part of the process of identifying goals and objectives. And, secondly, to identify a preferred land use and transportation scenario for Oklahoma City that includes transit performance as a key area of the development process.

Learn more about technical assistance from Smart Growth America. Information about and materials from Oklahoma City’s Transportation Performance Measurement workshop are available below.

Workshop Materials

Technical assistance