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Downtown Tulsa Business Owners Frustrated With Parking Changes

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

Business owners in downtown Tulsa want the city to pump the brakes on proposed parking changes. 

The meter system is outdated by at least six years.

The changes would mean you have to pay on Saturdays, not just Monday through Friday. 

While many of the meters don't even work, business owners say there shouldn't even be parking meters downtown. 

"I have called the city, I can't even tell you how many times," said Joann Frizell. 

Frizell said she's tired of complaining about parking problems. 

"You are in ticket alley!" Frizell said. 

The owner of Boomtown Tees in the Blue Dome District said she went as far as paying for her customer's tickets. 

"There was a little couple, they were over 80-years-old, they were buying matching Christmas shirts for their grandkids and great-grandkids," Frizell said. 

She said the couple tried paying a meter. 

When News On 6 tried paying the same meter, it wouldn't accept a quarter the first time. The second time, it kept the quarter and still said it was expired. 

A couple of months ago, the city installed new multi-space meters in the Tulsa Arts District. 

They don't work yet, that's why it says 'free two-hour parking.'

But, when they do work, you can not only pay with change, but with cash, card or your smartphone. 

"It's a concern for us, as far as losing customers," said the manager at Classic Cigars & Lounge Jeff Greiner. 

Greiner said it's already hard enough to find a spot. 

The proposed changes would extend the time you have to pay from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and it's not just weekdays. It's still a two-hour limit. 

"For a lounge, or a place where people want to come have a drink and watch a football game or baseball game, that's not going to work," Greiner said.

"We're competing with all the other corridors of town. Brookside, Cherry Street, 71st Street, Tulsa Hills, Broken Arrow, Owasso, weherever, that do not have paid parking."

Enforcement would also double from three officers to six. 

"If you disagree with that, then call your City Councilor tonight," Frizell said. 

The City of Tulsa said they couldn't talk on camera, but officials said they would send information on Wednesday when the plan is presented to the Urban Economic and Development Committee. 

The city did say the goal is to get the new meters across the IDL if the budget allows. 

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