Downtown employees worry about meter enforcement

TULSA -- Employees in downtown Tulsa are concerned about what they will do for parking when meters are enforced.

Soon, the city is planning to put in new parking meters and start charging for parking around downtown.

"That's just taking away from the money we come here to make," Ashley Weber, a cook at Lone Wolf Bahn Mi, said.

Weber said the employees recently had a meeting with the owners to discuss options. It comes down to buying a monthly parking permit for a lot in downtown or feeding the meters every two hours.

"We all work longer than two or three hours at a time so that would take us away from our work to go pay again for the meters," Weber said.

That is what Karen Keith, county commissioner and member of the Downtown Coordinating Council, said they are trying to get away from. She said it is unfair to businesses.

"You will have people who will come in and work someplace and they'll park, let's say in front of Elote or Decopolis," Keith said. "These are great businesses in downtown and then the customers can't get to them."

She said it is going to be left up to the businesses to figure out parking for their employees. Keith said there is not going to be a parking garage that will go up overnight.

"If anyone has been in any other city of our size, they are paying to park while they're downtown," Keith said.

Keith said she hates to see businesses leave downtown.

Recently, Lambrusco'z left and cited parking as one of the reasons on their Facebook.

Bramble, a popular brunch spot, also boarded up their restaurant and moved.

"We have young dishwashers, hostesses, and cooks," Johnna Hayes, owner of 3 Sirens Restaurant Group, said. "Thirty dollars a week in the paid parking or really the same on the street is a bit much to ask."

Keith said the DCC just approved funding to help speed up the process of getting the meters working. She said every day they are not working, they are losing revenue.

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