TULSA - Mayor G.T. Bynum is expected to make a proposal to the City Council on Wednesday that could change things for those who visit downtown Tulsa at night and on weekends.
Currently, the paid parking on the streets downtown is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and free on weekends. The new proposal would push the paid parking times and days to 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Free parking on the streets would only be on Sundays and holidays, if the proposal is accepted.
The mayor's proposal will be made during the 6 p.m. City Council meeting on Wednesday.
Why is the City making changes to on-street parking?
In a statement from the city they responded to that question:
"To update the parking system with newer technology, offer more convenience by allowing multiple payment methods and to promote more turn-over of on-street parking spaces in front of restaurants and retailers downtown," the statement read. "Many of the parking meters in downtown are out of service or outdated. Over time, the goal is to replace those parking meters throughout downtown."
A new East District also will be added to the downtown areas metered for parking and the new system would allow customers to pay using a smartphone app.
Reactions among people in downtown are mixed.
Amirah Alasmri said she visits the area for the Blue Dome Festival and Mayfest. She said that would stop going if she has to start paying to park on the weekends.
"No, I sure wouldn't," Alasmri said. "You have to worry about finding a spot and then you have to worry about paying it."
She said she would have to worry about getting a ticket, rather than enjoying herself.
William Franklin, owner of Decopolis, said he thinks it will help his business.
"We do stay open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and sometimes there will be a tendency for the area to be locked down with cars, which makes it difficult for our customers to find a spot," Franklin said.
He said his store is surrounded by an increasing number of apartments.
The city said they want to create turnover in parking spots by limiting people to two hours per spot.
"It's not necessarily a big problem right now, but you can tell the direction everything is heading that they are getting more and more filled up more often," Franklin said.
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