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Better Streets, Safer City Advisory Board holds first meeting
The 11-member Better Streets, Safer City Advisory Board met Thursday for the first time, making its first recommendations to the Oklahoma City Council about new temporary sales tax projects.
The board will make recommendations for Council approval regarding priorities, timelines and other elements of the pay-as-you-go street, sidewalk and trail projects included in the temporary sales tax portion of the Better Streets, Safer City program.
Thursday’s actions included a recommendation to start work first on highly-traveled streets with the greatest need for improvements. The board recommended a list of 16 projects throughout Oklahoma City, using criteria to identify projects that will improve pavement conditions for the most possible drivers.
The City Council will consider the recommendations for approval, and the projects could begin as early as this spring.
The temporary penny sales tax took effect Jan. 1, 2018, after the MAPS 3 tax expired, and it’s expected to generate about $240 million over 27 months: $168 million for street resurfacing, $24 million for streetscapes, $24 million for sidewalks, $12 million for trails and $12 million for bicycle infrastructure.
The sales tax projects are joined by the other major Better Streets, Safer City initiatives: a 10-year, $967 million bond program (including $536 million for streets, bridges, sidewalks and traffic control), and a permanent ¼ cent sales tax for more police officers, more firefighters and day-to-day operations.
More about the board
Also on Thursday, the board voted to meet on the first Monday of each month at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave.
The 11 board members are:
- Hal McKnight, Chairman
- Michael Taylor, Ward 1
- Jamie Dunnington, Ward 2
- Jeff Groves, Ward 3
- Brooke McGowan, Ward 4
- Jim Lehew, Ward 5
- Brenda Campos Hernandez, Ward 6
- Sandino Thompson, Ward 7
- Don Noble, Ward 8
- Steve Dixon, at-large
- Jason Johnson, at-large
Members, appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, serve three-year terms and are volunteers. City staff provides administrative and legal support.
City staff presents the board with agenda items related to prioritization, timelines, design, contracts and other matters.
The list of agenda items is based on needs throughout Oklahoma City.
The projects will help address street conditions, the perennial top priority of Oklahoma City residents in the Council’s annual resident survey. The result will be smooth and safe streets for drivers, on-street amenities for recreational and commuting cyclists, and streetscapes and trails.
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