Tulsa City Council Delays Meter Increase, Many Still Inoperable

Tuesday, May 25th 2010, 9:01 am
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa City Council delayed a decision to possibly increase parking meter rates, after several councilors said it was being moved too fast and might hurt business downtown. The council will study it and allow for input from downtown business interests before proceeding.

City Councilor GT Bynum, who is backing the change, said he was embarrassed by the way Tulsa maintains its parking system and the rate increase would help support the system.

If approved, the cost of metered parking would go to a dollar an hour.

City Council Researcher Jack Blair said he had surveyed 39 cities, where the average metered parking rate was $1.17 per hour. Tulsa now charges 50 cents an hour for most meters.

Council Attorney Drew Rees reminded councilors that the law requires the primary use of meters to be traffic control, not revenue generation.

Read the proposed ordinance.

Bynum said by having low metered rates encourages employees who work downtown to park all day on the street instead of paid parking lots.

Economic Development Director Mike Bunney says he frequently hears from business owners who complain that people park all day on meters in front of their stores, making it difficult for their customers to get in and out.

Bunney said the city still has 184 single metered spots were the meters were stolen and never replaced.

The council will bring the issue back in 60 days.

Parking Meter Rate Comparison

Many Meters Still Inoperable

The City is still struggling to restart many advanced parking meters, which were disabled because of low batteries. After complaints from the council, the Public Works Department bought new batteries, but now the meters have developed new problems.

5/18/2010  Related Story: New Batteries Installed In Downtown Tulsa Parking Meters

The city is working on the meters on 2nd street, where it discovered the CPU units were defective and had to be sent back to the meter company to be reconfigured. On 3rd Street, the city says the meters needed "client configuration cards" that are on order.

City of Tulsa spokesperson Michelle Allen said all of the meters should be operable in the next week or so. Allen said the city would incur no additional costs because of the electronic failure in the meters.