Each topic contains a discussion of issues and goals, and describes how the City and its partners will go about accomplishing these goals.

Topic: Sidewalks & Trails

 

The initiatives below relate to sidewalks and trails. Click on any initiative to view a full explanation and related policies.

We will create a high-density downtown by providing efficient parking, excellent automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian circulation, and development policies that promote density.

We know that private automobile transportation and the space that cars require work against high-density development. We also know that downtown must accommodate private cars to succeed, but should provide better alternatives for people moving between features within the district. High density development itself brings more things closer together, making walking, biking (including bike share systems), and transit circulators like modern streetcars the most efficient and pleasant ways to go.

We can institute this "virtuous cycle" by:

  • Redeveloping surface parking lots with new development, providing new parking in parking structures, and integrating structured parking vertically into new projects.
  • Developing enhanced transit to downtown and "density-friendly" circulation to points within downtown, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities (including bike share) and the modern streetcar circulator included in the MAPS 3 capital program.
  • Preserving and restoring to the degree possible the urban grid of blocks in Downtown Oklahoma City, re-establishing pedestrian linkages lost during the superblock era of Downtown redevelopment.
  • Revising development ordinances to limit surface parking, encourage mixed uses on at least the street level of parking garages, and increase overall development yields.

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Maintain existing alleys or construct new alleys where feasible to provide trash collection service and parking behind primary buildings and minimize curb cuts along the primary street frontage.

Prohibit new single-use, on-street commercial surface parking lots from locating Downtown and create incentives for the redevelopment of existing commercial surface parking lots with appropriately-scaled infill development.

Provide incentives for developers to build parking garages in high density areas. Include design requirements for projects receiving incentives.

Evaluate existing regulations for effectiveness in promoting density and mixed-use development and in addressing surface parking. Develop a new urban design code for downtown and other key districts to promote healthy mixes of land uses that are compatible and complementary.

We will provide good street connections within and between neighborhoods to provide a choice of routes and separate local traffic from major arterials. Good street connectivity has many benefits. By providing alternative routes for short distance trips, it indirectly increases the capacity of arterial streets. It also provides better quiet street opportunities for pedestrians and bicyclists, and improves the efficiency of delivering emergency access and city services.

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Maintain the traditional grid street pattern where it currently exists, reconnect it where possible, and keep alleys open and functioning. When improving older streets in neighborhoods, maintain original street widths and curb radii.

Improve the functionality and efficiency of the street network by:

  • Providing direct connections from residential developments to nearby places and to each other.
  • Providing street and sidewalk stubs to adjacent vacant land in anticipation of future development.
  • Connecting new development to existing street and sidewalk stubs, and to existing trail, open space, and bicycle networks.
  • Reducing block sizes and use of dead-end streets.
  • Maintaining the existing street grid to preserve connectivity and mobility options.

Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Maintain existing alleys or construct new alleys where feasible to provide trash collection service and parking behind primary buildings and minimize curb cuts along the primary street frontage.

Target specific areas of the city for enhanced safety and proactive enforcement. Selection of target areas will be informed by the Intelligence Led Policing program, with coordinated involvement from Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works Department, Planning, and community-based organizations.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

We will incorporate all appropriate forms of transportation into major street and land use corridors. Major corridors provide access to important community destinations, including shopping centers, civic institutions, and employment centers. Multi-modal corridors do not require every form of transportation on every major street. Rather, the corridor taken broadly provides access for all modes of transportation to destinations along the way. For example, service roads, local streets, trails, or other paths parallel to arterials can accommodate local transit, pedestrians, and bicyclists comfortably. The concept of multi-modal corridors also requires that projects that change or expand the motor vehicle capacity of major streets and roads accommodate transit and active modes in the final design and during the construction process.

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Set level of service goals and adopt standards to improve the performance of pedestrian, bicycle, and transit facilities. Emphasize pedestrian, bicycle and transit infrastructure in street widening designs.

Require the construction of new streets, streetscapes, and street widening projects to implement the design components of the assigned street typologies established in this plan.

When approving projects that improve the level of service for vehicular traffic, ensure they do not negatively impact the walkability or bikeability of the area.

Locate, design and upgrade City facilities and infrastructure in a manner that supports neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment.

We will develop facilities that encourage people to use other means of transportation to travel to transit stops and stations. The traditional service area around a transit route is a 1/4 mile walking distance. We should maintain clear and continuous pedestrian routes within that service area to transit stops or stations. Safe, comfortable, and attractive shelters and waiting areas should be located at strategic points along routes. Providing features that encourage people to bike or drive to stops and stations can extend these service areas and increase the number of potential riders. These features can include:

  • Connections from trails to transit stops.
  • Bike parking, lockers, and potentially rental stations at major transit stops and hubs.
  • Park and ride facilities such as lots and structures, integrated into transit-oriented developments or at appropriate commuter sites.

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Develop design standards for bus stops and transit stations that consider location, make connections to sidewalks and bicycle routes/trails, and provide safe, comfortable, and attractive waiting areas for riders.

Locate, design and upgrade City facilities and infrastructure in a manner that supports neighborhood revitalization and redevelopment.

We will design and implement a bicycle route system based on getting people to priority destinations. The current Bicycle Transportation Plan provides a two-phased network of potential bike routes. This network is based on evaluating various streets for bicycle suitability, and provides a solid foundation for implementation. The system should now be refined by considering destinations and designing routes that assemble on-street segments and trails into an entire network that serves multiple destinations.

We will incorporate appropriate support features such as bike parking and wayfinding signage into the system. On and off-street facilities function best with relatively inexpensive support facilities like parking and information graphics. Zoning ordinances and cost-sharing programs can both require, and encourage through incentives, bike parking for appropriate land uses, like major commercial, multi-family, and mixed use development. Desirable city actions include installing bike parking in public parking structures and business districts and encouraging bike "corrals" in which one parking space is dedicated to bike parking in neighborhood business districts.

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Identify areas that could be used to establish a greenbelt network throughout the City that connect major employment centers, commercial sites, parks, and key locations within major residential neighborhoods. Use the greenbelt as the backbone for a bicycle trails network which all other bicycle trails feed into.

Create and implement a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that addresses riders of all levels.

Require the placement of secure, properly positioned bicycle parking within multi-family and commercial development, and in all public parking garages.

We will establish and execute annual goals for completion of new bicycle infrastructure. Annual installation commitments ensure that new facilities are installed in a systematic way. These goals may be established for specific destination-based routes or for miles of such new facilities as shared use lanes or bike lanes. The annual performance goals also include incorporating bicycle facilities into resurfacing or construction projects of streets on the bicycle network.

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Prioritize construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that improve connectivity and eliminate gaps in the transportation network.

Increase the miles of bike lanes by:

  • Including bicycle lanes in future road widening, reconstruction, and resurfacing projects; and
  • Adding bicycle lanes to streets that have sufficient capacity.

We will identify major obstacles to completion of important system connections and implement projects that bridge these barriers. Most interstate crossings are arterial streets, often with interchanges, creating conditions that many cyclists find hazardous. The city has previously developed projects to address these barriers such as the SkyDance Bridge over I-40 and the Woodson Park Bridge over I-44. Other barriers persist, such as the lack of safe crossings over I-44 between May Avenue and I-235, a high intensity area with many important destinations. Options for these projects include dedicated pathway bridges or retrofit of existing interchanges and arterial crossings for better pedestrian and bicycle accommodation.

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Prioritize construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that improve connectivity and eliminate gaps in the transportation network.

We will work as a community to create a supportive environment based on the principles of engineering, education, enforcement, encouragement, and evaluation. The "5 E's" which the League of American Bicyclists views as the measures of a bicycle friendly community recognize that engineering (bicycle infrastructure) alone does not create a successful bicycle culture. The other components include:

  • Education, making cyclists and motorists aware of the rules and practices of safety and etiquette and their mutual rights and responsibilities as road users.
  • Enforcement, helping to ensure safety by enforcing rules that pertain to all users.
  • Encouragement, executing events and programs that promote bicycling and its many benefits.
  • Evaluation, establishing benchmarks and measurements to gauge the effectiveness of bicycling initiatives.

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Create and implement a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that addresses riders of all levels.

Incorporate preventive health care and wellness education into public schools, recreation centers, senior centers, and technical/trade schools.

We will update the Trails Master Plan to be consistent with planokc policies, funding availability, and progress made since 1997. This visionary master plan, completed in 1997, called for completion of 208 miles of trails by 2020. We have made significant progress since then, and MAPS 3 will complete major parts of the proposed system by that date. We now should update this document in view of these accomplishments, new thinking about coordinating off- and on-street systems, increased community support for trails and active transportation, and resource availability.

The updated plan should include:

  • Design of a new trail network coordinated with multi-modal streets, on-street bicycle/pedestrian routes, and potential greenbelts and green infrastructure.
  • Updated trail design standards, using new documents such as the 2012 edition of the AASHTO Guide to the Design of Bicycle Facilities and other contemporary standards.
  • Consistent identification and wayfinding graphics, unifying the trail system while allowing identification of individual trails.
  • Public safety standards and measures, including design, view corridors, lighting, and communications.

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Update, implement, and maintain the currency of the 1997 Oklahoma City Trails Master Plan.

Create a standards for trails based on industry standards, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles, expected use, and surrounding land uses.

Create a standardized sign program for trails which unifies the trails and allows for each trail identity to be unique.

Identify areas that could be used to establish a greenbelt network throughout the City that connect major employment centers, commercial sites, parks, and key locations within major residential neighborhoods. Use the greenbelt as the backbone for a bicycle trails network which all other bicycle trails feed into.

Market the trails system as a transportation and recreation system to residents and visitors.

Acquire easements in new and existing developments to develop and connect trails.

Establish connections between parks, residential areas, and other points of interest by constructing additional bike routes, trails and pedestrian paths to meet the growing demands for recreation and alternative transportation routes.

We will develop a reliable and innovative funding program for the development and maintenance of trails. MAPS 3 will invest almost $40 million into trail construction between 2014 and 2020, completing three very difficult but critical trail links. This critical funding will create three excellent facilities and vastly increase the utility of existing trails. A more regular funding source needs to be established for building neighborhood connections, additional linkages between existing trails, greenways, and extensions of the core trail system. The traditional method of trail funding, the federal Transportation Alternatives program, faces challenges with every reauthorization of transportation bills and must compete for declining funds with a wider variety of projects. In addition, good trail maintenance is important, and total costs will increase as the system expands. Because trails are both transportation and recreation facilities (and sometime transportation to recreation), funding from the capital and operating budgets of both the Parks and Public Works Departments is both necessary and appropriate. But these funds are stretched thinly, and other sources should be explored. Private developments should build trails within their boundaries identified by the Trails Master Plan and connecting paths to nearby regional trails. Costs may be shared based on the level of local versus general benefit. We must explore these and other techniques to ensure that our trail system continues to both grow and be properly maintained.

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Modify Subdivision Regulations to require new development adjacent to public trails to provide sufficient connections to the trails.

Update, implement, and maintain the currency of the 1997 Oklahoma City Trails Master Plan.

We will design or retrofit trails to provide convenient and barrier-free access to adjacent streets and major destinations. A trail that provides miles but does not connect to its surroundings may provide benefits to people seeking workouts, but it fails in its transportation mission to move people to places. In addition, poor access or visibility to and from surroundings can create public safety problems as well. We must design new trails and retrofit existing trails to provide frequent and comfortable access to wayside destinations and streets, with clear signage that helps orient users to their location.

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Create a standards for trails based on industry standards, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles, expected use, and surrounding land uses.

Acquire easements in new and existing developments to develop and connect trails.

Establish connections between parks, residential areas, and other points of interest by constructing additional bike routes, trails and pedestrian paths to meet the growing demands for recreation and alternative transportation routes.

Require that new development tie into the park and trail system by providing linkages to existing parks or dedicating new park land. Connect existing parks and neighborhoods to create a continuous system of open spaces, for example along stream corridors.

We will develop and implement a strategic plan for the city's pedestrian network, building on the foundation of the 2013 Sidewalk Master Plan for MAPS 3. The 2013 Sidewalk Master Plan was a significant step forward, including an analysis of pedestrian demand in different parts of the city. However, its primary purpose was to identify priority projects for a specific sidewalk construction category of MAPS 3. Many of these projects supply new sidewalks along major corridors with high demand, based on a systematic rating system. These are extremely important, but many other problems remain, including:

  • Neighborhood sidewalks on local streets that provide access to destinations such as schools and transit stops.
  • Barriers to pedestrian travel such as major intersections, long arterial street crossings, and signal timing.
  • Relationship of sidewalks to other parts of the active transportation network, including multi-modal streets, bicycle facilities, transit, connections to adjacent development, and trail access.

These issues require an expanded pedestrian system plan that:

  • Identifies a Complete Streets Network prioritizing pedestrian corridors that should be developed and funded as part of the city's transportation program. The MAPS 3 and previous bond issue study provide a starting point for this network.
  • Establishes standards for local sidewalk coverage and a process to evaluate pedestrian service on a neighborhood by neighborhood basis. An example of such a standard would be provision of a complete and well-maintained web of sidewalks within a 1/2 mile walking radius of elementary and middle schools.
  • Identifies key pedestrian barriers that obstruct access for important user groups, including children and older adults. This effort should include standards and techniques to minimize these barriers.
  • Relates other active modes or facilities to the sidewalk network.
  • Provides a phased implementation program that may include individual categories of funding, such as neighborhood target areas and major network investments.

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Enhance the safety and walkability of the sidewalk network through:

  • Establishing a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes an inventory of sidewalk locations and conditions, and priorities for enhancement.
  • Implementing sidewalk improvements through future bond issues, CIP projects or other sources of funding as prioritized in the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Maintaining currency of the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Explore the feasibility of the City assuming responsibility for sidewalk maintenance.

Establish requirements for providing alternate pedestrian routes when construction activity prohibits use of existing facilities.

We will establish clear private and public funding mechanisms for sidewalk construction and repair, and define and enforce maintenance responsibilities for property owners. Several issues complicate funding and maintenance requirements. First, sidewalks are a community responsibility at both citywide and local levels – failure to comply with requirements by one or two property owners can deprive many people of access. Second, in many cases, people with the least ability to build, repair, or maintain sidewalks have the greatest need for them. Third, funding for sidewalks has often been collected through special assessments, often leading to opposition from adjacent property owners. We must develop alternatives that encourage sidewalk connectivity and maintenance. Neighborhoods may be more engaged in sidewalk development or maintenance when owners are unable to meet these responsibilities, and sidewalk networks in local areas may require some level of public funding to be developed fully.

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Enhance the safety and walkability of the sidewalk network through:

  • Establishing a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes an inventory of sidewalk locations and conditions, and priorities for enhancement.
  • Implementing sidewalk improvements through future bond issues, CIP projects or other sources of funding as prioritized in the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Maintaining currency of the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Explore the feasibility of the City assuming responsibility for sidewalk maintenance.

We will protect significant natural features. The boundaries of Oklahoma City encompass a variety of well-preserved natural features, such as grasslands, riparian areas, upland forests, and sensitive aquifers, which contribute to the landscape in a number of ways. They contribute to our economic strength by increasing the attractiveness of the city, which improves competitiveness in the global marketplace. They provide ecosystem services, such as filtering water, cleaning the air, and providing food and habitat for birds that eat insect pests, and bees that pollinate crops. Moreover, they contribute to quality of life for residents and visitors, providing the benefits of recreation, beauty, and distinctive character.

Protection of significant natural resources is based on a map of Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs), which has already been completed. The resulting regional inventory provides information for developers and property owners to use as they design developments to ensure they avoid impairing significant features. Using mapped ESAs as a baseline, we will elaborate a policy to protect ESAs that specifies methods to mitigate damage to natural features (see Chapter 2 for overview).

We will develop and protect a network of green spaces that preserves environmental assets and connects habitats for wildlife. An effective conservation plan will ensure not only that environmentally significant areas are protected, but also that they are connected via wildlife corridors, remain minimally fragmented by roads and other infrastructure, and represent the natural ecosystem diversity of the area.

Connectivity: Connections between protected areas maintain the viability of wildlife populations, enhance biodiversity by accommodating more species, and provide corridors that allow wildlife to move safely between habitats. Current development patterns often break connections between green spaces, particularly where they cross boundaries of ownership or development projects. We will identify opportunities to develop a connected network of ESAs and other green spaces using existing and potential trail corridors, greenways, open spaces, wetlands, forests, waterways, and natural areas. The resulting guidance for development will ensure that connections between green spaces are maintained.

Minimal fragmentation: Current practices allow large natural areas to be fragmented into multiple smaller areas by infrastructure, such as roads, fences, pipelines, and transmission lines. These features, as well as noise, disrupt the dispersal of plants and animals. Guidelines will be adopted to minimize fragmentation by directing infrastructure to locations with least impact, minimizing the amount of habitat disruption around the infrastructure, and utilizing best practices to restore damaged habitat.
Representativeness and heterogeneity: A strategy to protect ESAs will employ principles of representativeness and heterogeneity. Representativeness ensures that green spaces exemplify the range of natural diversity in our area, including diversity of species, ecosystems, and geology. Heterogeneity favors green spaces that include a mix of ecosystems closely grouped together, as these spaces are shown to harbor greater biodiversity than more homogenous green spaces.

We will develop a package of incentives and requirements to ensure developments near natural features minimize adverse impacts. The ESA inventory and green space network will be protected through a combination of requirements and incentives. Requirements will minimize disturbance of targeted areas with highest ecological value. In addition, because property owners and developers should not be penalized for responsible development of land near ESAs and corridors, we will establish tools and incentives for properties to be developed in ways that minimally impact natural areas and incorporate green features into their designs. For example, one such technique is conservation design, which preserves permanent open space while allowing an equal or greater development yield to that permitted by the site’s underlying zoning. Permanent open space is often protected through conservation easements, which may be donated to a public or nonprofit body in exchange for tax advantages.

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Pursue grants, partnerships, and programs that accomplish the following:

  • Restore tree stands and wildlife habitats in environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Acquire land or establish conservation easements in environmentally sensitive areas to reserve as permanent open space and protect wildlife and habitat.
  • Establish a comprehensive habitat management program.
  • Provide education and resources for proper use of pesticides and fertilizers, with special focus on encouraging integrated pest management and organic practices.
  • Provide education about land management practices that address fire suppression, invasive species, use of herbicides/pesticides, and overgrazing.
  • Promote the economic and aesthetic value of preserving Oklahoma City’s natural resources such as riparian areas, Cross Timbers forest, grasslands/prairie, bottomland forests, and wetlands.

Support and incentivize the adaptive use of existing buildings, infill development, and brownfield development.

Establish development regulations to help protect Oklahoma City’s water resources through standards that:

  • Require buffers, setbacks, and vegetation conservation requirements to protect riparian and littoral zones and filter waterborne pollutants from development activities and storm water runoff. Buffer widths should be based on water quality function and wildlife habitat needs.
  • Encourage natural drainage systems and methods for onsite infiltration and onsite sediment retention.
  • Require new developments to maintain or decrease the site’s pre-development runoff rate.
  • Allow low-impact development design features such as pervious pavement, rain gardens, landscaped parkways, and alternative curbing designs.
  • Reduce the amount of impervious surfaces allowed in buffer zones around Environmentally Sensitive Areas.
  • Restore watershed features such as forest, wetlands, and natural stream channels.

Establish incentives such as a simplified permitting process, reduced application fees, and special recognition for projects that:

  • Utilize best management practices or other low-impact development methods for storm water management.
  • Bring buried streams to the surface and restore riparian habitat.
  • Install bridge systems instead of culverts for stream crossings to help maintain the natural ecosystem associated with the stream.

Revise policies, codes and development regulations to reduce the risk of damage resulting from flooding and preserve water quality and stream related habitat by avoiding alterations to the 100-year floodplain (as depicted on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Map). Allow these areas to remain in their natural state to the greatest extent possible. Revised policies should allow positive alterations, such as restoration of natural riparian areas with appropriate vegetation.

Preserve wetlands in their natural state to the greatest extent possible to increase water quality, minimize quantity of runoff, and increase groundwater recharge. Maintain wetland headwaters and avoid the alteration of surface or subsurface drainage patterns that would eliminate, reduce, or severely alter the frequency and volume of water entering wetland areas.

Develop a comprehensive watershed management strategy that identifies programs, partnerships, actions, and incentives that the City and partners can take to protect the city’s water resources and aquatic areas. The strategy should address the following:

  • Creation of a Stormwater Master Plan.
  • Update to the City’s sediment control program and establishment of performance measures.
  • Coordinated watershed restoration projects.
  • Preparation and implementation of Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs) and participation in studies to identify needs and opportunities for stream restoration, wetland creation and restoration, and storm water management.
  • Identification of opportunities to create wetlands to offset construction and other land development impacts.
  • Identification and utilization of “receiving lands” that can absorb storm surge overflows.
  • Public education on how to conserve water and minimize chemicals, pathogens, sediment, and nutrients in urban and rural watersheds.
  • Acquisition and protection of greenways, river buffers and flood prone areas.

Revise development regulations to require the following factors to be addressed in development and redevelopment proposals:

  • Preservation of existing natural resources, such as wooded areas, habitat areas, and floodplains.
  • Utilization of natural treatments and methods to stabilize or rehabilitate stream and river banks as a means to preserve downstream habitats.
  • Integration of a variety of native or compatible non-native, non-invasive plant species.
  • Mitigation of impacts of development on habitat, wildlife corridors, riparian and littoral areas, and water quality, through actions such as restoration or re-vegetation of disturbed natural areas and replacement of trees/habitat on-site or off-site.
  • Management of invasive plant and animal species.
  • Management and maintenance of natural areas, common areas and drainage areas.
  • Impact on surface and groundwater supply.
  • Impact on water quality caused by land uses and activities.
  • Impacts on floodplains, riparian and littoral areas and wetlands and areas with significant landforms.

In areas where standard on-site wastewater systems are not feasible (such as in areas with shallow or poor soils), require very low-density development or development that utilizes conservation design and a centralized treatment facility or other environmentally sensitive systems for wastewater treatment.

Develop a manual of best management practices that can be integrated into City codes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tree care and management.
  • Tree planting.
  • Tree protection.
  • Street trees (location, conflicts, maintenance, etc. – in addition to general tree care guidelines).
  • Placement of utilities (e.g., under streets vs. under park strips)
  • Low impact development techniques.
  • Habitat protection and restoration.
  • Conservation easements and/or subdivisions.

Revise the landscape ordinance to include the following:

  • Define terms such as invasive species, exotic/non-native species, and native/indigenous species
  • Require removal of invasive species from existing sites, and prohibit such species from being planted or maintained in new development.
  • Provide a reference list of native plants and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Provide incentives for using native and drought-tolerant plants and disincentives for using high-water plants and turf grass.
  • Establish requirements for using design practices that minimize the need for supplemental irrigation.

Preserve natural habitat, maintain wildlife food sources, and reduce the risk of propagating invasive plant species by utilizing vegetation native to Oklahoma, preferably central Oklahoma, for all mitigation and habitat restoration efforts associated with new development and redevelopment projects, public and private, to the greatest extent possible.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Develop and adopt a tree preservation ordinance that achieves the following:

  • Defines methods of preservation;
  • Defines situations where preservation of trees is mandatory versus optional;
  • Establishes incentives for tree preservation;
  • Establishes mitigation options if preservation cannot be accomplished; and
  • Establishes penalties for unauthorized tree removal.

Provide the public with resources, tools, and guidance to deal with environmental hazards, such as:

  • Information about safe disposal options for household contaminants such as motor oils, paints, computers, televisions, batteries, etc.
  • Information on environmental hazards, such as brownfield sites.
  • Information about funds available to assist with environmental cleanups.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Modify development and subdivision regulations, and City policies to minimize alteration of natural landforms and native vegetation and maximize retention of distinctive natural features for public and private projects.

Establish development regulations that help improve air quality, including:

  • Specifying construction controls that reduce airborne dust;
  • Increasing landscaping and tree planting to absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants; and
  • Encouraging development patterns and densities that support alternative modes of transportation in the urban LUTAs.

Develop an enforcement mechanism for the City’s Building Energy Code. Develop a healthy building code to support construction of durable, health-promoting and energy efficient buildings that incorporate proven green development practices, locally-sourced and environmentally responsible materials, water conservation fixtures, innovative design and construction techniques, and low waste construction practices. Incentivize their use with shorter approval procedures, priority permits and inspections, and reduced fees.

Partner with agencies, non-profits, and private entities to:

  • Implement a sustainable development online forum – an educational and networking resource that will inform the public about local opportunities and the benefits of sustainable development while increasing builder and developer participation.
  • Educate citizens on energy and water conservation opportunities both at work and at home.
  • Encourage appropriate re-use and reclamation of water in new development and redevelopment to reduce the reliance on potable water use.
  • Provide detailed cost-benefit information about green building practices to encourage increased use of such practices in Oklahoma City.
  • Reduce reliance on electricity produced by fossil fuel by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources in new development and redevelopment.
  • Explore mechanisms (incentives, regulations, programs) to divert demolition debris from landfills and redirect to facilities that can reuse these materials.
  • Establish a promotion/award program to showcase innovative development that utilizes low-impact development practices and energy-efficient building techniques / equipment, conserves riparian buffers, and extends greenway networks with hiking/biking trails.

Preserve overall landscape character and natural landforms (rolling hills, native vegetation, etc.) to the greatest extent possible.

Increase the amount of biodiversity-rich green space in urban and suburban areas by:

  • Integrating vegetation to support biodiversity in parks, gardens, trails, and green roofs. Native vegetation that provides food and habitat for native wildlife such as “micro prairies” and urban forests will have the greatest effect.
  • Encouraging optimal mowing practices on large lots that are adjacent to natural features.

Enrich natural biodiversity in agricultural areas by promoting practices that provide food, water, and habitat for wildlife and minimize negative impacts. Strategies to achieve the goal include:

  • Working with farmers, rancher, conservationists, sustainable agricultural organizations, and other stakeholders to develop a plan to conserve nature in farming and ranching landscapes.
  • Implementing optimal mowing strategies, which include harvesting grasses at a growing height of 10 plus inches; creating early successional habitat with burning, disking, and haying every 3-5 years; mowing from the center of a field outward to allow wildlife to escape the surrounding areas; adding flushing bars to mowing equipment to minimize bird injuries and death; leaving 4-6 inches of stubble after harvest to capture snow and water; harvesting or mowing after first frost to avoid disturbing bird nests and improve grass quality; and leaving portions of fields as standing crops.
  • Increasing nesting habitat.
  • Adopting best practices for fertilizer and pesticide applications.
  • Developing landscape conservation cooperatives.
  • Encouraging grassland ranching as an ecologically beneficial alternative to cultivation, particularly practices such as “mob grazing” that mimic natural grazing patterns.
  • Promoting ranching of bison, which benefit conservation efforts by dispersing seeds, increasing plant biodiversity, and enhancing groundwater recharge.
  • Restoring grassland on previously cultivated landscapes, particularly in buffer zones near natural features.
  • Encouraging and supporting agricultural parks that combine recreation and food production and foster appreciation for agricultural heritage.
  • Promoting sustainable intensification, which increases production and profitability while providing rich sources of habitat for biodiversity.

Protect and preserve natural resources, by:

  • Identifying and mapping valuable natural resources, such as, native prairies.
  • Maintaining a comprehensive inventory and assessment of natural resources and critical habitats.
  • Identifying opportunities to create an interconnected green infrastructure network throughout and beyond Oklahoma City’s municipal boundaries via existing trail and greenway projects, parks, stream corridors, and natural areas.
  • Seeking the voluntary sale of land or dedication of conservation easements on private land that is identified as critical habitat or is necessary to link wildlife corridors.
  • Pursuing protection of strategically identified natural areas by placing them in conservation easements or land banks, and reserving them for future use as open space and passive recreational areas.
  • Managing invasive plant and animal species.
  • Partnering with applicable State agencies and non-profit entities.

Strive to preserve natural open spaces, including native prairies, and re-plant native vegetation to take advantage of their drought tolerance and deep root structures that slow and adsorb stormwater runoff and reduce erosion by anchoring the soil.

Identify and protect critical habitats for state and federally listed threatened or endangered species.

Identify migratory birds and their nesting sites prior to construction. Protect migratory birds and their nesting sites throughout the construction process and refrain from construction near nesting sites until migratory birds are no longer actively nesting and have moved on from the site. Verify compliance with Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies that prevent degradation or loss of critical habitat and sensitive areas, such as Cross Timbers, upland forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors, groundwater recharge zones, and riparian areas. Protection methods should ensure that placement of lots, alignment of roads, and installation of structures and infrastructure minimize disturbance of the environmentally sensitive areas using tools such as:

  • Directing development to appropriate locations;
  • Greenbelt preservation;
  • Assurance of no development in protected open space;
  • Clustering / conservation subdivisions;
  • Pervious surface treatments;
  • Density transfers; and/or
  • Conservation easements.

Ensure that strategies, procedures, and policies incorporate principles of connectivity, minimal fragmentation, representativeness, and heterogeneity.

In conjunction with City regulatory changes, such as significant modifications to zoning ordinances, building codes, or subdivision regulations, assess the effects of the proposed modifications on housing development costs and overall housing affordability, considering the balance between housing affordability and other objectives such as environmental quality, urban design quality, maintenance of neighborhood character and protection of public health, safety and welfare. This assessment should be integrated into the code amendment process, identify barriers to housing affordability, and include recommended mitigation.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Require that new development tie into the park and trail system by providing linkages to existing parks or dedicating new park land. Connect existing parks and neighborhoods to create a continuous system of open spaces, for example along stream corridors.

Enhance public park design standards to allow for public art and innovative design solutions regarding stormwater management, use of native vegetation, open space, and play areas.

Revise subdivision regulations to require development adjacent to parks and public open spaces to maintain open sight lines to parks and public open space.  Reduce/limit residential rear yards, fences, walls, and physical and visual enclosures around park and public open space perimeters.  Encourage designs that allow homes to face into parks or where side yards are located near parks.

Pursue all opportunities, including donations, conservation easements, inheritance trusts, naming rights, and developer incentives to accomplish the following:

  • Acquiring new lands for parks, open space;
  • Acquiring natural areas that provide greater opportunities for people to access nature;
  • Maintaining existing and future parks, open space, and natural areas;
  • Enhancing existing landscaping at parks and along trails by planting additional native vegetation.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will adopt land use and development practices that reduce the distance people must drive to meet their daily needs. In Oklahoma City, transportation is the principal cause of our most significant air quality problems. The policies included in the land use and transportation elements of planokc, which promote more compact development, mixed use, and improved transportation choice, will have a beneficial effect on automobile emissions. While cars will continue to be the primary means of transportation in Oklahoma City, even small changes in the number of miles driven, combined with greater fuel efficiency and technologies that reduce emissions, will substantially improve air quality.

We will coordinate initiatives and regulatory changes with local, regional, and state agencies to reduce motor vehicle emissions. In addition to reducing the number of miles that each person must drive, we need to make the vehicles that we use more efficient. We will improve overall fuel efficiency and reduce emissions by taking actions alone or in concert with other agencies that will increase use of alternative fuels in public and private car fleets, and consider new legislation and implement educational programs to reduce unnecessary emissions.most significant air quality problems. The policies included in the land use and transportation elements of planokc, which promote more compact development, mixed use, and improved transportation choice, will have a beneficial effect on automobile emissions. While cars will continue to be the primary means of transportation in Oklahoma City, even small changes in the number of miles driven, combined with greater fuel efficiency and technologies that reduce emissions, will substantially improve air quality.

We will develop incentives and adopt regulatory standards to reduce transportation emissions. In addition to reducing the number of miles driven, we must also improve vehicles fuel efficiency and emissions standards. Working in collaboration with local, regional, and state agencies, we will seek to increase use of clean fuels in public and private automobile fleets, consider new legislation, and implement educational programs.

We will preserve forests and encourage tree planting to improve air quality. Vegetation, particularly trees, plays a large role in both regulating and improving air quality, especially in urban areas. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and other gases, while replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen. They also help trap particle pollutants that can damage human lungs. We will improve our landscape ordinance to more effectively increase tree cover, reduce airborne pollutants, and reduce surface temperatures in the summer. We will also preserve existing trees and forested areas and encourage new tree plantings associated with development and streetscape projects. 

A QUICK CALCULATION

Oklahoma City has about 227,000 households, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Most studies and trip generation estimates indicate that the typical household generates 10 trips daily. In Oklahoma City, this equals about 2.3 million trips. Estimates of the percentage of trips under two miles range from 25% to 40% of the total. For OKC, this ranges from 575,000 to 920,000 trips per day. If only one-quarter of these trips were made by active transportation modes (on foot or by bike), between 143,000 and 230,000 trips would be diverted from cars – the total number of trips on two of our busiest freeways. Assuming an average trip length of one mile, this means that in a course of a year, Oklahoma City residents would drive between 52 and 84 million fewer miles per year! According to the Environmental Protection Administration's report on Average Annual Emissions, a typical car emits .81 pounds (368.4 grams) of carbon dioxide per mile driven. So if one-quarter of short trips in our city were made by walking or biking, we would reduce CO2 emissions per year by between 42 and 68 million pounds annually.

BENEFITS OF TREES

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses such as sulfur dioxide from the air and release oxygen that humans, and other species, need for survival.
According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, trees provide the following benefits related to air quality and air pollution reduction:

  • One large tree can supply a day's supply of oxygen for four people.
  • A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year. For an acre of trees, that equals 2.6 tons of carbon storage.
  • Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. For every 10,000 miles driven, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produced if the vehicle gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg.

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Improve the functionality and efficiency of the street network by:

  • Providing direct connections from residential developments to nearby places and to each other.
  • Providing street and sidewalk stubs to adjacent vacant land in anticipation of future development.
  • Connecting new development to existing street and sidewalk stubs, and to existing trail, open space, and bicycle networks.
  • Reducing block sizes and use of dead-end streets.
  • Maintaining the existing street grid to preserve connectivity and mobility options.

Prioritize opportunities to restore and reconnect the street grid.

Prioritize construction of pedestrian and bicycle facilities that improve connectivity and eliminate gaps in the transportation network.

Identify areas that could be used to establish a greenbelt network throughout the City that connect major employment centers, commercial sites, parks, and key locations within major residential neighborhoods. Use the greenbelt as the backbone for a bicycle trails network which all other bicycle trails feed into.

Market the trails system as a transportation and recreation system to residents and visitors.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Support the creation of a regional transit authority and pursue the establishment of a dedicated funding source, such as sales tax or property tax to achieve long term transit service goals.

Increase frequency and time of transit operations to ensure adequate, convenient and safe service for visitors, employees, and residents.

Implement policies and strategies recommended in the 2013 COTPA Transit Service Analysis.

Develop an urban rail and/or bus rapid transit system to connect downtown with strategic corridors and nodes.

Work with the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments to implement the Early Action Compact to mitigate air quality issues.

Support and incentivize the adaptive use of existing buildings, infill development, and brownfield development.

Preserve natural habitat, maintain wildlife food sources, and reduce the risk of propagating invasive plant species by utilizing vegetation native to Oklahoma, preferably central Oklahoma, for all mitigation and habitat restoration efforts associated with new development and redevelopment projects, public and private, to the greatest extent possible.

Establish an Urban Forestry Program and City Urban Forester position to achieve the following:

  • Measure and monitor tree canopy coverage and habitat on a regular basis so that any policies, programs, and regulations may be adjusted accordingly as situations change. Establish a process to maintain current data.
  • Develop and maintain regulations, policies, processes, and programs that focus on protection and preservation of native trees.
  • Provide assistance with proper tree selection, location, and maintenance to prevent power outages, reduce property damage, and coordinate emergency response during natural disaster events (excessive snow and ice, tornadoes, etc.), address the urban heat island effect, and reduce energy costs, etc.
  • Establish programs such as tree give-aways, neighborhood planting programs, and education workshops.
  • Provide resources to the public about tree selection, management, and care.
  • Seek grant funding for community tree planting to improve City parks, publicly maintained rights-of-way and other areas of the city.
  • Inventory the City’s street trees and develop a tree replacement program.
  • Partner with volunteer and nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers for tree planting and maintenance and to coordinate community-wide tree planting efforts.

Develop and adopt a tree preservation ordinance that achieves the following:

  • Defines methods of preservation;
  • Defines situations where preservation of trees is mandatory versus optional;
  • Establishes incentives for tree preservation;
  • Establishes mitigation options if preservation cannot be accomplished; and
  • Establishes penalties for unauthorized tree removal.

Pursue methods to reduce the impact of the urban heat island effect on Oklahoma City by:

  • Establishing a minimum canopy coverage requirement over paved surfaces such as parking lots.
  • Instating a “continuous canopy” requirement for new streets and street reconstruction projects.
  • Promoting the use of building and roofing materials that reduce heat island effects.

Coordinate with local, regional, and State agencies to pursue initiatives and regulations that help reduce automobile emissions, such as:

  • Transitioning commercial and City fleets to alternative-fueled and hybrid vehicles;
  • Determining the feasibility of an idling restriction ordinance for all vehicles.

Promote improved air quality and reduced ground-level ozone levels by developing a public education program that will inform residents about the air quality benefits of:

  • Proper automobile maintenance
  • Proper maintenance and use of gas-powered lawn and garden equipment
  • Limiting car idling times
  • Alternative fuels
  • Alternative / active transportation modes (public transit, walking, biking, car-sharing, etc.)
  • Reducing vehicle-miles traveled (VMT)
  • Employer sponsored emission reduction programs (carpooling, work from home, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Native landscaping (requiring less maintenance)
  • Energy efficient housing / buildings

Study of the public health and environmental impacts of degraded air quality on sensitive populations living near highways.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies for City construction projects to achieve higher energy efficiency, including:

  • Implementing an energy management plan for City facilities.
  • Monitoring energy consumption of City facilities, tracking conservation progress, and communicating results to City administrators, employees, elected officials and the public.
  • Assessing water use in City facilities to identify opportunities for conservation and implement appropriate measures.

Develop an enforcement mechanism for the City’s Building Energy Code. Develop a healthy building code to support construction of durable, health-promoting and energy efficient buildings that incorporate proven green development practices, locally-sourced and environmentally responsible materials, water conservation fixtures, innovative design and construction techniques, and low waste construction practices. Incentivize their use with shorter approval procedures, priority permits and inspections, and reduced fees.

Partner with agencies, non-profits, and private entities to:

  • Implement a sustainable development online forum – an educational and networking resource that will inform the public about local opportunities and the benefits of sustainable development while increasing builder and developer participation.
  • Educate citizens on energy and water conservation opportunities both at work and at home.
  • Encourage appropriate re-use and reclamation of water in new development and redevelopment to reduce the reliance on potable water use.
  • Provide detailed cost-benefit information about green building practices to encourage increased use of such practices in Oklahoma City.
  • Reduce reliance on electricity produced by fossil fuel by encouraging the use of renewable energy sources in new development and redevelopment.
  • Explore mechanisms (incentives, regulations, programs) to divert demolition debris from landfills and redirect to facilities that can reuse these materials.
  • Establish a promotion/award program to showcase innovative development that utilizes low-impact development practices and energy-efficient building techniques / equipment, conserves riparian buffers, and extends greenway networks with hiking/biking trails.

Establish strategies, procedures and policies that prevent degradation or loss of critical habitat and sensitive areas, such as Cross Timbers, upland forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors, groundwater recharge zones, and riparian areas. Protection methods should ensure that placement of lots, alignment of roads, and installation of structures and infrastructure minimize disturbance of the environmentally sensitive areas using tools such as:

  • Directing development to appropriate locations;
  • Greenbelt preservation;
  • Assurance of no development in protected open space;
  • Clustering / conservation subdivisions;
  • Pervious surface treatments;
  • Density transfers; and/or
  • Conservation easements.

Ensure that strategies, procedures, and policies incorporate principles of connectivity, minimal fragmentation, representativeness, and heterogeneity.

Encourage redevelopment and infill development on vacant, underutilized, and brownfield sites in urbanized areas.

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Establish development regulations that help improve air quality, including:

  • Specifying construction controls that reduce airborne dust;
  • Increasing landscaping and tree planting to absorb carbon dioxide and air pollutants; and
  • Encouraging development patterns and densities that support alternative modes of transportation in the urban LUTAs.

We will institute neighborhood design guidelines and practices that build community in lower-density settings. We recognize that different people have different preferences. Many people seek new houses but still want the diversity and neighborliness of the best of established neighborhoods. Others seek the bigger lots and greater personal space offered by low-density development. But almost everyone wants an attractive living environment, a sense of belonging to a community, public space, and connection. As we move toward new standards that implement the land use plan, we should ensure that new development designs reflect patterns that create better communities. These include such items as encouraging lot clusters to maintain open space, even in low-density development; street connections for both community contact and public safety access; trail and pathway systems; and housing variety where appropriate. Planned unit developments should be used in their intended way, to encourage creative design by looking at developments in their entirety.

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Revise subdivision regulations to include connectivity standards and guidelines that require greater street connectivity, and provide allowances for pedestrian and bicycle connections when street connectivity cannot be made.

Establish regulations that require pedestrian connections between new commercial development and adjoining residential areas.

Change subdivision regulations to determine the number of entries into a residential development based on number of lots in order to improve connectivity of the roadway network and emergency response.

Establish a process for existing neighborhoods to request traffic calming, including how to evaluate the request, select the appropriate type of calming treatment, and fund recommendations.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Develop and adopt new standards/guidelines to promote new residential subdivision designs that orient residential neighborhoods toward adjacent complementary uses or features such as parks, schools, open space, and neighborhood serving commercial sites, promoting improved direct accessibility and more seamless community integration.

Define responsibilities and assurances for maintaining, repairing, or replacing community walls and fences. Consider creating programs for routine and consistent maintenance of fencing along arterial roadways that could include fencing assessment districts, long-term bonds, or assigned HOA maintenance of community fencing.

Create regulations/standards/guidelines that focus on design and/or compatibility principles which are sensitive to the surrounding urban form, especially in areas that are stable or improving and whose character is well-established. These provisions should also help ensure compatibility between lower- and higher- intensity land uses.

Create places and opportunities for neighborhood events that allow neighbors to interact.

Strengthen existing businesses and business districts within and adjacent to established residential areas. Promote the development of new businesses to provide additional jobs and higher income opportunities for nearby residents.

Use established mechanisms/tools to allow property owners to provide for the perpetual maintenance, repair and reconstruction of private roads, sidewalks, trails, utilities, and parks in new housing developments by requiring funding mechanisms such as:

  • Maintenance bonds/escrows
  • Special assessment districts, such as Business Improvement District or Special Improvement District
  • Covenants requiring compulsory membership in an incorporated Property Owners Association whose members will be financially liable for any such maintenance, repair, or reconstruction costs.

Incorporate these financing options into the platting process (or zoning process in the case of PUDs).
Construct all private roads and utilities to comply with minimum design and paving standards as outlined in the City of Oklahoma City Subdivision Regulations, including those related to the appropriate Street Typology.

Modify codes to allow residential clustering in rural land use typology areas, provided water supply and sewage disposal requirements are met, and permanently preserve nearby open space through means such as conservation easements.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Adopt new citywide site design and building regulations that ensure new developments meet basic functional and aesthetic minimums related to:

  • Walkability and bike-ability
  • Internal and external street connectivity
  • Integration of uses
  • Signage
  • Building location
  • Building appearance
  • Open space (passive and active)

Encourage the integration of different land uses in urban areas through the following means:

  • Promote the use of performance standards in place of existing zoning methods (which address incompatibility by separating uses). Performance-based regulations should focus on achieving compatibility between uses by addressing the following:
    • Noise, odors and air quality
    • Traffic and parking (allow flexible, but sufficient parking)
    • Site layout and building design
    • Waste
    • Safety
    • Lighting (glare control, placement, and shielding)
    • Delivery hours
  • Enhance transit service (bus and rail).
  • Prevent large areas of concentration of any particular land use such as multi-family or commercial.

Amend the zoning ordinance to better accommodate the integration of various residential densities, building types, and styles.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will reinforce the city's existing cultural districts and expand the network into new areas. The city's cultural districts have specific zoning and urban design regulations. They are "experience centers" that strengthen their surrounding neighborhoods. This program should be enhanced in two ways:

  • Reinforcing existing districts through small-scale public realm projects (identifying graphics, sidewalk and streetscape improvements, wayfinding); cross-marketing; and integration into an "active loop," linking the nodes with pedestrian and bicycle routes.
  • Expanding the program to new cultural districts, including the four pending districts and others that might be identified through the historic preservation plan and other neighborhood planning processes.

Ultimately, the culture districts should be viewed as, and evolve, into a connected network of attractions.

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Ensure that public art is integrated into the planning and implementation for key initiatives such as Core to Shore, Project 180, MAPS 3 and other City projects as well as downtown, neighborhoods, cultural districts, and commercial districts.

Make it easier for arts and cultural projects to navigate the City’s design review, zoning, licensing, and permit processes.

Provide a centralized area(s) for artists to live and work (e.g. Paseo, Film Row) by targeting districts within the city that have become centers for all types (performing, visual, literary, etc.) of art.

Coordinate efforts to educate the public regarding the location of all public art installations and potential locations for future installations. Such efforts could include:

  • Producing educational materials for each newly commissioned work in the City’s Public Art collection and making these available to the publiC.
  • Providing educational materials detailing the locations of public art installations, such as walking tour guides, podcasts, physical markers, or web-based maps.
  • Developing and adopting a Physical Master Plan to promote public art “districts” for key areas, including the Riverfront, downtown, the airport.
  • Establishing a collection management system for public art to catalogue artist, location, condition, value and other details of public interest.

Identify the economic value of cultural resources in attracting tourism and reinvest a share of tourism revenue to sustain and expand these resources.

Showcase local talent by incorporating the work of artists into City activities such as wall displays, public information efforts, and special events.

Explore the implementation of the following efforts to increase the economic impact of cultural activities and arts programs:

  • Efforts organized by Oklahoma City Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs:
    • Formalize neighborhood-based cultural economic development plans
    • Work with groups interested in establishing a vacant storefronts program with artists
    • Establish a public art program to include local artists
    • Coordinate a master list of artist opportunities
    • Convene organizers of events and festivals to share knowledge and resources
    • Coordinate use of publicly-owned space for use by artists.
  • Efforts coordinated by Cultural Development Corporation of Central OK (CDCOK):
    • Clarify roles among arts service entities
    • Expand business skills training for artists
    • Build capacity among nonprofits for fiscal/project sponsorship
    • Strengthen partnerships and engagement with higher education resources
    • Provide artist fellowships in partnership with philanthropies
    • Evolve CDCOK into an economic development entity
  • Efforts led by artists:
    • Build a multi-disciplinary artist network
    • Conduct an Annual Artist Summit
    • Pilot art sales program based on the Community Supported Art model
    • Recognize outstanding contributions by artists to the region

Use light fixtures and street furniture in the public right-of-way that complement established or evolving cultural or design districts.

Create a public outreach program designed to explain and promote the benefits of urban design principles and design review districts.

Develop and adopt a Cultural Heritage Plan with the objective of reviving, explaining, commemorating, and integrating the City’s cultural history through its cultural districts, landmarks, and facilities. The plan could be used to accomplish the following:

  • Develop a cultural map of the City identifying the location of all cultural resources, landmarks, and cultural districts. Convert this information into maps and guides for residents and visitors so they may visit Oklahoma City’s cultural and historic sites using their preferred transportation method (walking tours, bike tours, river tours, transit routes, driving routes, etc.).
  • Develop an effective and attractive cultural signage program, including kiosk type directories in pedestrian areas, coordinated and designed to direct residents and visitors to major art and cultural sites or districts in the City. The program may also include such items as markers and temporary seasonal or event-based banners.
  • Examine opportunities to maintain and expand existing art and cultural facilities and to attract new ones. Coordinate a cultural needs assessment to determine future space needs, cultural variety potential, and potential sites to accommodate improvements.
  • Protect and facilitate the enhancement of existing and emerging arts and cultural districts throughout the City to preserve the unique character of these diverse neighborhoods.
  • Assess the accessibility of the City’s art and cultural facilities and resources to determine if improvements are necessary. Recommend ways to enhance access and linkages to art and cultural facilities and resources via new sidewalks, trails, and pedestrian amenities and/or expanded transit service.

Establish a program to develop place-making capacity in the city. The program should promote the economic and quality-of-life benefits of place-making investments and should:

  • Establish and maintain partnerships between the City, the private sector, and “place management” organizations.
  • Provide funding and City staff support for “place management” organizations.

Create specialized districts for large cultural or ethnic groups to enhance the diversity and perceptions of the city. Identify appropriate areas and create master plans with urban design guidelines specialized to the cultural history on display. For example, one special district could be themed for the Hispanic/Latino community. Such a district would include associated thematic infrastructure, amenity, design, public art, and streetscape improvements.

We will provide complete sidewalk networks to serve local parks. People within the realistic walking radius (or “walkshed”) of a local park should have pedestrian facilities – sidewalks, paths, or trails – that connect to that park. Creating such a pedestrian web around parks includes:

  • Analyzing sidewalk coverage within the walkshed, (½ mile for neighborhood parks and one mile for community parks) for interruptions and barriers.
  • Evaluating current park access points and their relationship to the pedestrian system.
  • Establishing priority routes to parks and focusing funding on closing gaps and removing barriers, including intersection design issues.
  • Providing signage and wayfinding information to direct users to parks destinations.
  • Within new developments, require street patterns and pedestrian links that provide direct routes to private parks, school parks, and public trails.

We will complete trails to serve all parts of Oklahoma City to meet the community priority placed on trails and increase access to parks. As discussed in connectokc, trails are both a recreational and transportation resource. The basic trail system identified by the Parks Master Plan included four major phases of trail development:

  • The existing trail system.
  • Programmed trails, including the MAPS 3 trails and a Katy Trail extension.
  • Near-term off-street trails, connecting the trail core to outlying parts of the urban area.
  • Long-term off-street trails, extending the city system to the periphery of Oklahoma City.

The programmed system should be completed by 2020, by which time priorities should be set for completion of the longer-term system components. The ability to provide park access should be a strong factor in setting priorities.

Other trail-related actions should include:

  • Designating on-street routes that connect neighborhoods to trail access points. These routes should focus on low-volume, direct streets that include continuous sidewalks and pavement markings.
  • Requiring developments to dedicate trail segments designated by the trails master plan.
  • Enhancing the recreational trail experience with landscaping, fitness facilities, wayfinding signage, rest areas, and other amenities.

We will improve the usefulness of transit as a way of getting to parks. Parks can be hard to serve by transit because they rarely generate the trip volume at specific times that help support service. However, we can take steps that help transit service adapt to park needs. Directions include increasing service on potential high-volume routes that serve major park and recreation facilities, and locating new investments, such as multi-generational centers, on sites with good transit service. We also should be open to transportation solutions other than fixed route transit. Examples are special services or brokering of other transportation providers to serve time specific needs, such as after school service to a major recreation facility.

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Modify Subdivision Regulations to require new development adjacent to public trails to provide sufficient connections to the trails.

Update, implement, and maintain the currency of the 1997 Oklahoma City Trails Master Plan.

Enhance the safety and walkability of the sidewalk network through:

  • Establishing a citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan that includes an inventory of sidewalk locations and conditions, and priorities for enhancement.
  • Implementing sidewalk improvements through future bond issues, CIP projects or other sources of funding as prioritized in the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Maintaining currency of the citywide bicycle and pedestrian master plan.
  • Explore the feasibility of the City assuming responsibility for sidewalk maintenance.

Develop a downtown park master plan that identifies the following:

  • Opportunities for providing private parks and open space while still maintaining a dense, urban environment (such as vest pocket parks, rooftop gardens, plazas and courtyards);
  • Linkages and connections between public and private parks;
  • Programming and amenities that complement and support parks in the system; and
  • Funding for operations and maintenance.

Ensure all homes are within walking distance of a park based on level of service standards for each urban land use typology by updating codes and regulations for new construction and by improving connections and access between existing parks and neighborhoods.

Acquire easements in new and existing developments to develop and connect trails.

Establish connections between parks, residential areas, and other points of interest by constructing additional bike routes, trails and pedestrian paths to meet the growing demands for recreation and alternative transportation routes.

Require that new development tie into the park and trail system by providing linkages to existing parks or dedicating new park land. Connect existing parks and neighborhoods to create a continuous system of open spaces, for example along stream corridors.

Prioritize capital improvement to construct linkages and connections from the existing urban parks and open space system  to neighborhoods, commercial areas, employment centers, and community facilities.

Adopt subdivision regulations that ensure new neighborhoods meet the basic needs of residents while supporting an efficient development pattern. Regulations should cover:

  • Open space (passive and active),
  • Demonstration of sustainable funding levels for common area and facility maintenance costs,
  • Walkability and bikeability,
  • Internal and external street connectivity,
  • Block length,
  • Integration of uses,
  • Integration of a variety of home sizes,
  • Integration of a variety of unit types, and
  • Preservation of Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Regulations could be based on a point scale to allow flexibility, while still requiring basic minimum thresholds be met.
New regulations should remove the existing requirement for development in Rural LUTAs to connect to water and sewer systems and establish a minimum one-acre lot size for lots with on-site sewer treatment.

We will incorporate crime prevention principles into the City's design regulations and guidelines. Previous elements of the plan, including playokc and liveokc, introduced the concept of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles (CPTED), which use common-sense design features to minimize opportunities for criminal activity. CPTED principles apply on a wide range of scales, from individual site vegetation choices to citywide development patterns.

Oklahoma City should incorporate CPTED principles into its design standards for development and redevelopment of public and private projects. Some cities (including Wichita, Kansas) have established ordinances that officially integrate CPTED principles into their design standards, while others use them as guidelines and adapt for their own use.

The City can encourage the use of CPTED principles through:

  • Encouraging land use planning that mixes uses and extends hours of activity and "eyes on the street."
  • Establishing neighborhood territoriality by which adjacent residents and businesses can monitor activity in the public realm. a mixture of uses in neighborhoods.
  • Lighting and building design guidelines.
  • Landscaping guidelines that avoid hidden places.
  • Building code enforcement and resolution and elimination of chronic vacancy and structural deterioration.

The City's project review and approval process should include Police Department participation to provide specific public safety recommendations. The department should maintain an officer on staff with a specialty in CPTED and its principles. This staff member should also provide outreach to the development community to provide special training to builders, developers, and design professionals on safe community design.

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Create a standards for trails based on industry standards, “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design” principles, expected use, and surrounding land uses.

Establish access management requirements that limit driveways on arterials and collectors and increase connections between uses to improve safety and traffic efficiency.

Limit driveways on arterials and collectors and increase connections between uses to improve safety and traffic efficiency.

Ensure proper access to and between subdivisions in order to offer a choice in routes for residents, multiple access points for emergency responders, and to reduce vehicle congestion at arterial intersections. Contiguous developments should share access whenever feasible.

Establish a process for existing neighborhoods to request traffic calming, including how to evaluate the request, select the appropriate type of calming treatment, and fund recommendations.

Require sidewalks on both sides of all streets in urban LUTAs and in the Rural Residential LUTA for subdivisions with densities greater than 1 unit per acre.

Target specific areas of the city for enhanced safety and proactive enforcement. Selection of target areas will be informed by the Intelligence Led Policing program, with coordinated involvement from Police, Code Enforcement, Public Works Department, Planning, and community-based organizations.

Establish a Crime-Free Multifamily Housing Program designed to keep multifamily housing developments safe from crime and perceptions of crime by:

  • Supporting partnerships between the police, property managers, property owners, and tenants.
  • Providing training to managers and owners about screening applicants, fire safety, fair housing, and other components of ‘active property management’.
  • Providing a security assessment based on Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles.
  • Conducting safety meetings with residents/tenants.

Ensure that safety is factored into the design of neighborhoods through the following policies:

  • Incorporate development standards and guidelines into the Subdivision Regulations that integrate the principles of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) and increase safety and social interaction.
  • Create a pre-development checklist with criteria to evaluate how safety is designed into a project.
  • Establish a pre-development process wherein safety is considered in the design of projects.
  • Involve the Fire and Police Departments in reviewing proposed development and redevelopment to provide input on any safety-related design concerns.

Establish criteria for locating, designing, and improving public and private parks to enhance safety and security, including:
Locating new parks in areas that are highly visible and accessible from surrounding residential streets and utilize trails to increase activity and visibility in parks.
Utilizing Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design principles, which includes controlled access, visibility, lighting, etc. for new parks and retrofitting/redesign of existing parks.

Improve safety of users of the parks and trails system by:

  • Providing good lighting, emergency call boxes, and regular police patrols along the trail system.
  • Providing shelter structures along the trail networks and determining the appropriate spacing for such structures. Structures could be relatively small to keep costs down but should be sturdy and easy to maintain.

Incorporate Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles into city-wide design standards for development and redevelopment of public and private projects. CPTED principles include: 1) Territorially – physically define spaces as public or private and the appropriate use is obvious even to outside observers; 2) Access Control – deny access to soft targets; 3) Natural Surveillance – make it easy to observe all users of/in a particular territory/space; 4) Maintenance and Management – ensure equipment is functioning (lights, gates, etc.), landscape is kept neat especially to preserve surveillance.

Maximize fire safety through actions such as:
Modifying regulations and guidelines to prevent subdivisions with a single point of access – except those with fewer than 10 homes.
Developing a vegetation management program targeting the wildland/urban interface, including rights-of-way in rural areas, and incorporating recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities initiative.
Requiring residential sprinklers for developments located in Rural Land Use Typologies.
Requiring exceptional, effective, and easy access to sites augmented by a thorough system of connections within and between developments.

Evaluate development proposals to assess design components that contribute to or detract from safety and analyze emergency response capacity and capability.

Ensure that planokc is periodically updated to coordinate/correspond with the City’s Emergency Operation Plan and vice versa.

Adopt design standards to enable emergency management resources to be highly effective, such as resilient buildings, interconnected transportation networks, and other design considerations that help ensure community safety and recovery.

Encourage the integration and mixing of land uses in urban areas.

In order to promote compatibility between different uses, establish standards and guidelines that ensure all developments are pedestrian-friendly and human scale at street frontages and property lines.

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