Nine years after Prevention magazine named Oklahoma City the least walkable city in the United States, the city’s downtown core has been wholly remade, with a redesign of its streetscapes and two major park projects completed or in the works.
Today, the downtown has a Walk Score of 74, rivaling Seattle and Washington, D.C. “It’s incredible, the amount of private businesses and urban housing that’s come in. It’s a vibrant, bustling downtown, which is amazing,” says Scott Howard, ASLA, one of two principals at Howard-Fairbairn Site Design. The firm has worked alongside larger international firms to help guide the transformation.[caption id="attachment_17" align="aligncenter" width="485"] The city planted more than 2,500 street trees downtown.[/caption]
Oklahoma City’s transformation
Oklahoma City’s transformation is unusual for how swiftly it has been realized. In the past five years, an elevated highway has been replaced by a street-level boulevard, a 70-acre central park has been planned, and streets in the central business district—eight linear miles in total —have been rebuilt, from building face to building face, with a focus on pedestrians, bicyclists, and improved traffic flow. at Howard-Fairbairn Site Design. The firm has worked alongside larger international firms to help guide the transformation.