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Porter Avenue Corridor Project

On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, Norman City Council voted 8-1 to approve Resolution R-1011-02  to adopt the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update. The principal objectives of the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update are to articulate a vision for the future development of Porter Avenue, and to establish a Zoning Overlay District for the Porter Avenue Corridor Included in the vision for revitalization is a Public Streetscape Design Plan. For more information about the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update, contact project manager Susan Atkinson at 366-5392 or susan.atkinson@normanok.gov  

  1. Why Undertake a Porter Avenue Corridor Study?
  2. What is the Purpose of Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update?
  3. How did the City of Norman Undertake the Planning Process for Porter Corridor?
  4. What is the Purpose of the Zoning Overlay District in the Porter Corridor?
  5. What is the Purpose of the Public Streetscape Design Concept?
  6. What are the Main Goals for a Revitalized Porter Corridor?
  7. Where Does the Porter Corridor Project Stand Now?

Why Undertake a Porter Avenue Corridor Study?

Land use conflicts along Porter Avenue have existed for decades as the corridor evolved from a residential and institutional road, to a US Highway and Norman’s original “mile of cars,” to it’s current state that is a hodgepodge of commercial land uses in a climate of declining property values. As far back as 1984, Norman’s Central Core Plan recommended a revitalization project that established a clear line between commercial/institutional and residential uses.Recently, land use conflicts along Porter Avenue have become more frequent as successful commercial operations seek to expand the only direction they can: into adjacent neighborhoods. In addition to land use conflicts, traffic congestion continues to build on Porter, making current traffic patterns along the corridor unsustainable in the long run. Also, City leaders are developing a growing awareness that walk-ability is essential to both community and economic health.

What is the Purpose of Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update?

The purpose of the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update is to guide future improvement of the Porter Avenue Corridor, while focusing on the existing community and the rich history of the area. The plan explores opportunities for the creation of a pedestrian environment along Porter Avenue, the establishment of an enhanced street-scape that attracts new commercial activity and leverages investment in commercial property, and the preservation of adjacent residential neighborhoods.  The “Staff Update” in the title refers to revision made to the original Porter Avenue Corridor Study, accepted by Council on September 22, 2009.

How Did the City of Norman Undertake the Planning Process for Porter Corridor?

Working with consultants from Ochsner Hare & Hare and a citizen-led steering committee, City staff undertook a detailed analysis of existing land use patterns, traffic patterns, surrounding neighborhood conditions, current and future market trends, existing business conditions, existing aesthetic conditions, and property ownership analysis. During the two-and-a-half year long planning process, City staff held over 30 public meetings to gather community input about the Porter Corridor, to discuss research findings and design alternatives, and to gain consensus on a future course of action that would result in an economically and aesthetically revitalized Porter Corridor.

What is the Purpose of the Zoning Overlay District in the Porter Corridor?

One of the key factors that led the City to undertake the Porter Corridor study was the search for a compromise to allow limited expansion opportunities for commercial land uses along the corridor and to protect adjacent residential neighborhoods from commercial encroachment. During the planning process, the Zoning Overlay District was identified as a regulatory tool that could be effective in helping achieve that desired balance. City Council adopted the Porter Corridor Zoning Overlay District (PCZOD), thereby establishing a commercial limit line and the requirement that businesses that expand to this line must build an opaque masonry wall and landscaped buffer at the property line to separate residential properties from commercial activities. Masonry walls are effective in creating a physical and psychological edge that clearly conveys the point where one land uses stops and another starts. This mutually respected edge is critical for peaceful coexistence between commercial and residential land uses. The Zoning Overlay District is a regulatory document that became effective September 10, 2010.

What is the Purpose of the Public Streetscape Design Concept?

The Porter Avenue Corridor Study (accepted by City Council September 2009; a precursor to Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update) identified eight goals for the corridor that, if accomplished, would lead to a successful revitalization. Two of these goals addressed enhancing corridor image and aesthetics, creating a sense of place, and improving mobility and public safety along the corridor.  In order to advance those goals, Council authorized staff to have prepared a streetscape concept design for Porter Corridor.

The resulting document, the Public Streetscape Design Concept, was developed by Ochsner Hare & Hare, using the same methods of research and public participation as the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update.  The Streetscape Design Concept  focuses on design for public rights-of-way excluding the street itself, i.e. public property between the curb line and adjacent private property lines. This area would include public amenities such as sidewalks, landscaping strips and street trees, lighting, seating, bike parking, trash receptacles, crosswalks and accessibility ramps, and in some locations, public art. Together, these would create a signature look for the public realm of Porter Avenue.

What are the Main Goals for a Revitalized Porter Corridor?

Establish Porter Avenue as a safe, accommodating connection with Downtown Norman, other established commercial districts, and adjacent neighborhoods. Manage traffic along Porter in a way that maintains the corridor as a safe transportation network for all users, allowing access for pedestrians, buses, and bicycles as well as cars.

Aesthetics
Create a destination environment reminiscent of Porter’s transportation “roots” that is complemented by attractive green space, a spectacular streetscape, and high visual interest which creates an attractive environment for private investment on adjacent land throughout the corridor.

Neighborhoods
Blend existing neighborhood fabric with opportunities for new residential development that will establish Porter neighborhoods as walkable and well-maintained with connectivity and easy access to amenities and essential goods and services.

Economic Development
Make Porter Avenue a significant revenue-generating corridor for Norman, encouraging development efforts that create a balance of uses. Create development that blends seamlessly with adjacent neighborhoods, parks, trails, and institutions.

Land Use
Balance Porter Avenue’s active commercial and mixed use areas with the surrounding established neighborhoods to maximize economic growth, pedestrian linkage, and transit connections.

Where Does the Porter Corridor Project Stand Now?

The Norman City Council adopted the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update which includes the establishment of the Porter Corridor Zoning Overlay District (PCZOD) and the Public Street-scape Design Plan for the Porter Corridor. The Corridor Plan is a policy document and does not come with a set of rules or design guidelines that apply to private property. The plan simply establishes a revitalization vision for the Porter Corridor with aspirations that the plan can be implemented as future funding allows and community interest dictates.

On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, Norman City Council voted 8-1 to approve Resolution R-1011-02  to adopt the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update. The principal objectives of the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update are to articulate a vision for the future development of Porter Avenue, and to establish a Zoning Overlay District for the Porter Avenue Corridor Included in the vision for revitalization is a Public Streetscape Design Plan. For more information about the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update, contact project manager Susan Atkinson at 366-5392 or susan.atkinson@normanok.gov  

  1. Why Undertake a Porter Avenue Corridor Study?
  2. What is the Purpose of Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update?
  3. How did the City of Norman Undertake the Planning Process for Porter Corridor?
  4. What is the Purpose of the Zoning Overlay District in the Porter Corridor?
  5. What is the Purpose of the Public Streetscape Design Concept?
  6. What are the Main Goals for a Revitalized Porter Corridor?
  7. Where Does the Porter Corridor Project Stand Now?

Why Undertake a Porter Avenue Corridor Study?

Land use conflicts along Porter Avenue have existed for decades as the corridor evolved from a residential and institutional road, to a US Highway and Norman’s original “mile of cars,” to it’s current state that is a hodgepodge of commercial land uses in a climate of declining property values. As far back as 1984, Norman’s Central Core Plan recommended a revitalization project that established a clear line between commercial/institutional and residential uses.Recently, land use conflicts along Porter Avenue have become more frequent as successful commercial operations seek to expand the only direction they can: into adjacent neighborhoods. In addition to land use conflicts, traffic congestion continues to build on Porter, making current traffic patterns along the corridor unsustainable in the long run. Also, City leaders are developing a growing awareness that walk-ability is essential to both community and economic health.

What is the Purpose of Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update?

The purpose of the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update is to guide future improvement of the Porter Avenue Corridor, while focusing on the existing community and the rich history of the area. The plan explores opportunities for the creation of a pedestrian environment along Porter Avenue, the establishment of an enhanced street-scape that attracts new commercial activity and leverages investment in commercial property, and the preservation of adjacent residential neighborhoods.  The “Staff Update” in the title refers to revision made to the original Porter Avenue Corridor Study, accepted by Council on September 22, 2009.

How Did the City of Norman Undertake the Planning Process for Porter Corridor?

Working with consultants from Ochsner Hare & Hare and a citizen-led steering committee, City staff undertook a detailed analysis of existing land use patterns, traffic patterns, surrounding neighborhood conditions, current and future market trends, existing business conditions, existing aesthetic conditions, and property ownership analysis. During the two-and-a-half year long planning process, City staff held over 30 public meetings to gather community input about the Porter Corridor, to discuss research findings and design alternatives, and to gain consensus on a future course of action that would result in an economically and aesthetically revitalized Porter Corridor.

What is the Purpose of the Zoning Overlay District in the Porter Corridor?

One of the key factors that led the City to undertake the Porter Corridor study was the search for a compromise to allow limited expansion opportunities for commercial land uses along the corridor and to protect adjacent residential neighborhoods from commercial encroachment. During the planning process, the Zoning Overlay District was identified as a regulatory tool that could be effective in helping achieve that desired balance. City Council adopted the Porter Corridor Zoning Overlay District (PCZOD), thereby establishing a commercial limit line and the requirement that businesses that expand to this line must build an opaque masonry wall and landscaped buffer at the property line to separate residential properties from commercial activities. Masonry walls are effective in creating a physical and psychological edge that clearly conveys the point where one land uses stops and another starts. This mutually respected edge is critical for peaceful coexistence between commercial and residential land uses. The Zoning Overlay District is a regulatory document that became effective September 10, 2010.

What is the Purpose of the Public Streetscape Design Concept?

The Porter Avenue Corridor Study (accepted by City Council September 2009; a precursor to Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update) identified eight goals for the corridor that, if accomplished, would lead to a successful revitalization. Two of these goals addressed enhancing corridor image and aesthetics, creating a sense of place, and improving mobility and public safety along the corridor.  In order to advance those goals, Council authorized staff to have prepared a streetscape concept design for Porter Corridor.

The resulting document, the Public Streetscape Design Concept, was developed by Ochsner Hare & Hare, using the same methods of research and public participation as the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update.  The Streetscape Design Concept  focuses on design for public rights-of-way excluding the street itself, i.e. public property between the curb line and adjacent private property lines. This area would include public amenities such as sidewalks, landscaping strips and street trees, lighting, seating, bike parking, trash receptacles, crosswalks and accessibility ramps, and in some locations, public art. Together, these would create a signature look for the public realm of Porter Avenue.

What are the Main Goals for a Revitalized Porter Corridor?

Establish Porter Avenue as a safe, accommodating connection with Downtown Norman, other established commercial districts, and adjacent neighborhoods. Manage traffic along Porter in a way that maintains the corridor as a safe transportation network for all users, allowing access for pedestrians, buses, and bicycles as well as cars.

Aesthetics
Create a destination environment reminiscent of Porter’s transportation “roots” that is complemented by attractive green space, a spectacular streetscape, and high visual interest which creates an attractive environment for private investment on adjacent land throughout the corridor.

Neighborhoods
Blend existing neighborhood fabric with opportunities for new residential development that will establish Porter neighborhoods as walkable and well-maintained with connectivity and easy access to amenities and essential goods and services.

Economic Development
Make Porter Avenue a significant revenue-generating corridor for Norman, encouraging development efforts that create a balance of uses. Create development that blends seamlessly with adjacent neighborhoods, parks, trails, and institutions.

Land Use
Balance Porter Avenue’s active commercial and mixed use areas with the surrounding established neighborhoods to maximize economic growth, pedestrian linkage, and transit connections.

Where Does the Porter Corridor Project Stand Now?

The Norman City Council adopted the Porter Avenue Corridor Plan-Staff Update which includes the establishment of the Porter Corridor Zoning Overlay District (PCZOD) and the Public Street-scape Design Plan for the Porter Corridor. The Corridor Plan is a policy document and does not come with a set of rules or design guidelines that apply to private property. The plan simply establishes a revitalization vision for the Porter Corridor with aspirations that the plan can be implemented as future funding allows and community interest dictates.