Monday, October 25, 2010

Skydance Cell Phone

Well, circa September 2008 we thought, and we were euphoric about, what the City Council told us that we were getting ... WOW! The City Council really CAN deliver something really really special ...

... but, turns out, the somewhat off-color video below is more closely akin to the reality of what we were told, even though it didn't translate that way at the time and even though we wanted to believe (and I did) ...

Silly me. But there might be some value in the handy self-destruct function.

The Journal Record broke the story on the same day that the Ghouls Gone Wild parade occurred downtown, October 22. The city's Trick-or-Treat basket of goodies to OKC citizens may well come tomorrow at the City Council meeting ...
OKC Council to decide on pedestrian bridge cost
By Brian Brus
Oklahoma City reporter
Posted: 06:03 PM Friday, October 22, 2010

OKLAHOMA CITY – City Council members will decide Tuesday whether to approve a slight increase in the contract price for the Core to Shore Interstate 40 pedestrian bridge in response to rising construction costs.

While the overall construction cost for the Skydance Bridge near a planned massive central park has increased $1.58 million and the design fees have risen by $180,000, the bridge itself has been reduced in scope to fall within budget.

In mid-2008, Obelisk Engineering Inc., doing business as Butzer SXL, entered into a contract with Oklahoma City municipal government to provide the conceptual design of the pedestrian bridge. A Consultant Review Committee report ranked MKEC Engineering Consultants and Butzer Design Partnership as the top-rated firm for what became known as SkyDance Bridge.

“This iconic bridge is a pivotal element in the city’s efforts to provide a strong pedestrian connection between the downtown core and the Oklahoma River as outlined in the city’s Core-to-Shore plan,” City Manager Jim Couch said to council members in a memo.

The bridge at SW Ninth Street and Harvey Avenue is expected to be one of the most visible elements of extensive redevelopment of 750 acres between the downtown district and the Oklahoma River. City leaders set projects in motion several years ago to coincide with the relocation of Interstate 40.

Since the contract was signed, the estimated construction cost for the project increased from $5.22 million to about $12.8 million.

“The significantly increased estimated construction cost exceeds the city’s budget authorization for this project and, accordingly, the engineer/architect has been directed to redesign the bridge to remain within the $6.8 million estimated construction cost budget,” the upper limit originally approved for the project, Couch said.

Given the economic limitations, the engineer/architect’s efforts on the original design have been stopped at 85 percent of completion and a second option has been commissioned instead. The original work will be maintained on file in the event additional funds become available for possible completion, Couch said.

The original SkyDance Bridge concept involved a sculpturelike cable stay structure that was integral to the bridge. The redesign will incorporate a trussed bridge with a self-supporting sculptural “bird” concept, Couch said.

Public Works Director Dennis Clowers said construction is scheduled to begin in March in order to match work on I-40 by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The city has already let a contract to lay the foundation for the center pier of the bridge.
The project is being funded by a series of general obligation bonds approved in 1989, 1995 and 2000.
What will happen tomorrow? Will City Council do what is right and find a way for the original story it told us in September 2008 to become reality? Or will it just present us with another handy cell-phone with a self-destruct function?

For more, see Nick Robert's observations and this thread at beginning here.

What will happen? Who knows. But my 2 cents are ...
  1. About Being Pedestrian. If the revised version is a totally pedestrian "pedestrian" bridge, one which was touted to be an iconic symbol of and for the city, then junk the artistic aspects of project entirely in favor of something that doesn't grab attention but is based purely on function, not art or iconic beauty.

    There is no point in spending a heck of a lot of money on a project like this if the project does not inspire as was originally intended. It would be better to make no architectural statement at all, one that does not draw attention to a mediocre artistic attempt which, of course, leaves a mediocre impression to those who might be driving under it on the new crosstown. Out-of-towners would rightly scoff at the city's attempt at art, and locals would be constantly reminded about a once esteemed city project which failed to live up to expectations and promise.

  2. To The City Government. Stop showing us pretty things that you say that we can have when a reasonable certainty does not exist that you can deliver on your promise and our resulting expectation. Just how do you think that this possibly atrocious experience will give confidence in the Core-To-Shore and MAPS 3 promises that have been given with a gusto?

  3. To Voters: Consider using the handy self-destruct function on the new SumsingTurbo3000 cell phone that we got sold in September 2008, more than two years ago. That may be the only good idea to come out of this horrible black-eye that we apparently just got ... not a black eye from the national media, but a bludgeoning from our own.
One more thing. When is the Oklahoman going to report something on this ... this is Bryan Dean's Oklahoman turf, is it not?

The Oklahoman didn't report on the fantastic Friday evening Ghouls Gone Wild Parade, and it didn't report on this, either. The Journal Record at least gave us a three or four days lead time with its story on Friday, October 22, and the Oklahoma Gazette posted an article on it it on Monday, October 25. As of Tuesday, October 26, the same day that City Council considers this matter, the matter has not been reported on in the Oklahoman.

The Oklahoman? Where are you, and where are your intrepid City Hall reporters? Did the Oklahoman purchase bulk orders of the SumsingTurbo3000 and mandate use by its city hall reporters? If so, what's up with that? If not, why the silence? Why the foot dragging? Why the absence of information from our city's mainstay daily newspaper?

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