Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum recommended the city take it slow on changes to downtown parking.
Bynum told councilors Wednesday he’d like to hold off on a working group’s proposal to add paid parking to the East Village and expand hours people must pay to park to 8 p.m. weeknights and on Saturdays until the city can prove its metered parking is reliable.
To that end, Bynum said city attorneys are working on an executive order directing parking revenue be spent only on the parking system.
"I want us putting the money that we generate from the system back into the system, and I think the executive order that’s being drafted right now is probably the most effective way to accomplish that," Bynum said.
Bynum saidmeters aren’t a city hall cash grab.
"We’ve been asked consistently by business owners that we have meters to incentivize that type of ‘churn,’ is the term that they use, so that people have ready access to different businesses," Bynum said.
The mayor's recommendation leaves in place only a proposal to accept digital payments for parking throughout downtown. Councilor Blake Ewing represents downtown and sees that concept as beneficial.
"I think you’ll see it take off, kind of like we saw with Uber and Lyft. As new technology emerges, people want to take advantage of it. It’s meant to make lives easier, and that’s what it’s going to do," Ewing said, though he did want to see the council take up the expanded paid parking hours and locations.
The city has an agreement with ParkMobile to offer pay-by-app parking similar to what’s in the Tulsa Arts District throughout downtown. There’s no timetable, however, for rolling that out, and enhanced payment stations would not be installed until funding becomes available for them.