The "closing argument" for me that I recently was exposed to was that of Blair Humphreys', someone who knows a lot more about city planning than I, an arch student (city planning being a different spectrum than architecture, although I'd say we are both aficianados of eachother and the two are definitely inherently interweaved). On his blog he wrote...
"The boulevard, as designed, will, ironically enough, actually hinder pedestrian’s ability to walk from the Core to the Shore. Further, all boulevards, especially wide boulevards, are not well suited for retail and can can only hope to sustain retail in the very densest cities that have the ability to fill wider than average sidewalks with pedestrians. These projects are not strategically focused on enhancing Oklahoma City’s quality of life."I have considered every aspect of this boulevard except the obvious..that extra wide sidewalks need an extra plentiful supply of pedestrians to fill them. To consider something similar, imagine that Portland Avenue (OK 74) going through Deer Creek is in desperate need of being widened..it is. So does it need to be turned into an 8-lane freeway? NO! Nobody wants to live up against an 8-lane freeway, we don't need the sprawl that would translate into, and with only 50,000 or so cars a day it would feel like there isn't any traffic on it, so no development would happen along it until Enid becomes a suburb of OKC. Likewise there is no point in a wide "world-class" avenue in the middle of greenfield even if it is built with the best of intentions for pedestrians because it would create the perception that there are never any pedestrians along it.
The idea of the landmark avenue would be a miserable failure documented by history, including the futile efforts to prevent its fruition back when OKC brought a lone consultant named Jeff Speck in who said some unpopular things and got ignored. Now I'm not saying Jeff Speck is being ignored, in fact I think his critiques were well received and caused people pause to consider the implications here. So to that, let's not ignore what he said!
On the issue of the avenue, why don't we do a compromise? This will eliminate any chicken vs. egg issue that could come up. Let's build two seperate, thin one-way streets divided by a wide landscaped median. By thin, I mean on lane for traffic, and another "lane" for street parking. To avoid confusion, let's be clear that I'm completely against one-way streets and all of OKC's one-way streets really need to be converted back to two-way, but the difference with my proposal is that this is essentially one street, just being built as two seperate ones so that in the future if pedestrian activity could make a wide boulevard a good thing, such an endeaver could be undertaken easily.