Expansion Of Downtown Tulsa Street Decreases Parking Availability

Monday, October 5th 2015, 8:11 pm
By: News On 6

Monday, Tulsa city street crews started work to improve downtown traffic flow, but it comes at an extra price.

The Civic Center Plaza at 5th and Denver is being rebuilt at the expense of some parking spots.

For years, 5th Street has ended at the plaza, but now the city plans to open it up and turn it into a street; but before that can happen, a lot of work needs to be done - starting with eliminating around 70 parking spots.

In the garage below the courthouse, workers are already closing off parking spaces and it’s making parking difficult for people like Shaquia Verner.

"It's a big hassle to find a parking space," she said.

It's being done in preparation for the work that will happen above and below ground.

With a price-tag of nearly $6 million, City Engineer Paul Zachary said the City of Tulsa will pay Crossland Construction to build a new road on the Civic Center Plaza over the existing parking garage.

The city's wanted to do it for years but couldn't pay for it until now.

The new street will stretch from Denver to Elwood, ending in a roundabout circling the stairway that leads to street parking.

New 5th Street Rendering

The goal is to improve traffic flow and give emergency vehicles better access to the court house, library and Aloft Hotel.

Zachary said, "Fire trucks will be able to come in and out of there, this will also be an access area. We're going to have some drop-off lanes by the City-County Library, and also by the county building, cause, right now they have nothing, everybody has to park somewhere and walk in."

The parking garage is staying, but the parking spaces will be limited as crews work to strengthen columns to support the added vehicle traffic.

"For the next nine months, it's going to be challenging for some of those folks," Zachary said.

Verner said, even with the construction, she knows it will pay off in the end.

"But you have to think about what the end is going to be like, which is why they are doing this," she said.

People who need to park can use the Civic Center parking lot at 3rd and Frisco, but you need to watch out for new red and white signs.

City employees say those spaces are reserved for disabled county employees, and if you park there, you will get towed.

The construction project should be done in about nine months, and open at the same time as the downtown library.