Oklahoma Turnpike Expansion Project Challenged by Lawsuits

A recent court ruling could turn the tide against a roadway expansion plan that threatens to displace homes and businesses and that locals say was pushed through with little transparency or community input.

2 minute read

January 18, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

A planned turnpike expansion project has prompted several lawsuits in Oklahoma, where local residents say the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) acted without transparency when developing the proposal. Asia Mieleszko, writing in Strong Towns, describes the legal battle.

The saga began in 2021, when ODOT announced vague plans for a major long-range infrastructure plan. Then, “On February 22 [2022], the residents of Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Osage, and Tulsa counties were formally, for the first time, introduced to the details of a $5 billion, 15-year turnpike expansion project whose trajectory seemed inevitable and whose route would devastate hundreds of homes, businesses, and natural areas.”

According to Mieleszko, “Named ACCESS Oklahoma, the plan involves widening four existing turnpikes, installing several new alignments, and constructing new access points for those alignments. Aspects of the project require expropriating businesses, homes, and farmland through eminent domain affecting five Oklahoma counties.”

The plaintiffs claim they weren’t given adequate notification about the project’s scope, with some finding out about the proposed route and the potential displacement of their homes or businesses through local newspapers. On December 1, 2022, a county judge “ruled that the OTA “willfully violated” the state’s Open Meetings Act, a decision supported by troubling evidence that emerged throughout the legal process.”

The most recent court ruling sets the project and OTA “back at square one,” with another Supreme Court case also challenging the legality of the venture.

Monday, January 16, 2023 in Strong Towns

babyt Boomer Homeowners

The Shifting Boomer Bulge: More Bad News for America’s Housing Crisis?

In the first of a two-part series, PlaceMakers’ Ben Brown interviews housing guru Arthur C. Nelson on the sweeping demographic changes complicating the housing market.

March 12, 2023 - PlaceShakers and NewsMakers

Aerial view of snowy single-family homes in suburban Long Island, New York

New York Governor Advances Housing Plan Amid Stiff Suburban Opposition

Governor Kathy Hochul’s ambitious proposal to create more housing has once again run into a brick wall of opposition in New York’s enormous suburbs, especially on Long Island. This year, however, the wall may have some cracks.

March 20, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

Yellow on black "Expect Delays" traffic sign

A Serious Critique of Congestion Costs and Induced Vehicle Travel Impacts

Some highway advocates continue to claim that roadway expansions are justified to reduce traffic congestion. That's not what the research shows. It's time to stop obsessing over congestion and instead strive for efficient accessibility.

March 14, 2023 - Todd Litman

New York City Zoning Map

Ranking Exclusionary Zoning: D.C., New York Metro Areas Top the List

A new database measures the restrictiveness of exclusionary zoning practices around the country. Exclusionary zoning, it turns out, is much more prevalent than commonly acknowledged.

3 minutes ago - The Eviction Lab

Pedestrian stoplight with green 'walk' silhouette lit up and blurry city buildings in background

Historically Redlined Neighborhoods Have Higher Rates of Pedestrian Deaths, Study Says

The consequences of historic redlining continue to have consequences in the present day United States. Add another example to the list.

1 hour ago - Streetsblog USA

A toll payment facility in Florida.

Tolling All Lanes

Bay Area transportation planners are studying a radical idea to reduce traffic congestion and fund driving alternatives: tolling all lanes on a freeway. Even more radical, the plan considers tolling parallel roads.

March 21 - San Francisco Chronicle

Planner II

City of Greenville

Planner I

City of Greenville

Rural Projects Coordinator (RARE AmeriCorps Member)

Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE) AmeriCorps Program

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.