Tulsa Moving Forward With Back-In Parking

Wednesday, May 13th 2015, 11:01 pm
By: News On 6

A trend that's all the rage in cities like Austin can also be seen on Riverside Drive in Tulsa. And with downtown growing so quickly, you might see back-in parking there shortly.

The city thinks it will work, but, when they saw the new parking lines, others initially thought the city made a marking error or that it was changing the direction of 2nd Street downtown.

That, however, is not the case as the spots are exactly how they're supposed to be; it's just going to take some getting used to by drivers.

In Tulsa's Blue Dome District, 2nd Street is right in the middle of millions of dollars' worth of new development projects - a few of them are Developer Elliot Nelson's.

"For a long time it was very industrial so it was kind of a speedway getting onto highway," he said.

But the neighborhood is changing, and that is why Tulsa's City Manager decided to experiment with a row of back-in parking spots as a way to calm traffic, according to City Engineer, Paul Zachary.

"Now you do lose a through lane, but what it does is slow down traffic. When you get cars pointing out at you like that, there's just a psychological effect of having that happen," Zachary said.

I wanted to see just how easy, or perhaps complicated, parking downtown could be, so I decided to give it a shot.

When I started to back-in the first time I caused a little traffic issue because the driver behind me didn't seem to understand what was going on.

I decided made a loop around the block and tried round two. Once again, with a line of traffic behind me, I backed in, this time with a little more success.

"This is an experiment and a lot of places around town people would like it. There are advantages and disadvantages and we're gonna try a few," said Zachary.

Nelson said, "The city has been really helpful and we have been asking for a while. Between that and some angle in on Elgin, I think we've added 20-25 spots to the neighborhood and every little bit helps."

The parking spots and all the overlay projects downtown are part of the $20 million Improve Our Tulsa funds.

If the experiment works in the Blue Dome, you could see similar parking all over, specifically on busy, one-way roads like Cincinnati.