Committee Considering Changes To Downtown Tulsa Parking Meter System

Tuesday, November 20th 2012, 10:11 pm
By: News On 6

The City of Tulsa says its parking meter system is broken and needs to be fixed, and the solution might take an extra tug at your wallet.

A city committee is recommending prices at parking meters go up and meter hours be extended.

If you drive to downtown Tulsa, finding a place to park can often be a struggle.

Chris Sloan co-owns Litgistix Business Solutions on 5th street.

"If they're coming to visit us for a short-term in and out kind of situation, they virtually have to double-park, take a chance on getting a ticket," Sloan said.

To fix this problem, a seven member committee has come up with three recommendations for Mayor Bartlett.

First, they want to sign a contract with American Parking to have them maintain all parking meters and pay for upgrades like adding credit card capabilities.

The committee thinks increasing prices and reducing free parking hours would help.

"We got some feedback from a number of business owners in that area that turnover wasn't sufficient, that you couldn't find a parking space during the day in those areas, so they actually came to the city and said we'd like to see a higher rate here," said Mike Brink, of the City of Tulsa.

For two-hour meters, drivers currently pay a quarter per hour.

The proposed plan would bump the cost up to 50 cents per hour in most downtown areas, except for the heart of downtown.

There, it would cost $2 per hour.

Also, free parking hours would shrink. You would have to start paying the meters at 7 a.m., instead of 8 a.m.

"I feel like, if they're going to raise the rates, they should do it unilaterally across downtown and not pick on the small businesses that are on my street," Sloan said.

Susan Green owns a deli near 4th and Boulder.

She feels drivers take advantage of this area, since there aren't any meters.

"We've had a lot of people who kind of infringe on staying there all day," Green said. "We would like to have metered parking or at least have the same base for everyone to be equal, as far as everybody pays a fee or everybody has a two-hour limit."

The committee is waiting on the mayor's approval before the plan can be presented to the council.

In the committee's proposal, the only downtown area that will have free parking is the Brady District.