|Updated: 3/28/2013 9:14 am
||Published: 3/27/2013 8:55 pm
Parking lots in downtown Tulsa are no longer parking lots.
Instead, they're art museums, apartment buildings, and hotels. With this boom in new development, the city and businesses have had to make sure customers know there are still lots of places to park your car.
Philip Kaiser just cut the ribbon at his restaurant, Laffa.
“We opened March 1st for the First Friday art crawl,” he told FOX23.
His restaurant joins Guthrie Green outdoor gathering space, Fairfield Inn & Suites, and other new restaurants all in downtown's Brady District.
“We'd been watching this area for a long time, and it's sort of been reaching a peak momentum,” Kaiser explained.
With peak momentum comes peak competition for coveted parking space.
“This city was historically built for the automobile, and everywhere else you go in town, the first thing they make sure you have is enough parking spaces,” Kaiser said.
Starting next month, those spaces will be even more in demand.
“From Opening Day to Opening Day each year, there's been just drastic changes, and probably the most substantial changes are coming this year,” Mike Melega, General Manager of the Tulsa Drillers, told FOX23.
On April 11th, the Drillers celebrate their 2013 home opener. To account for the added traffic, the city has done street-scaping projects adding many angled parking spots, and they've changed certain streets to accommodate more drivers.
“They changed Archer from a two lane in each direction to a one lane, adding some more street parking along Archer by the ballpark and all the way down into the Brady District,” Melega said.
If those spots are taken, baseball fans can head to OSU-Tulsa.
“We have an arrangement with them that allows our fans to park for free there on the weekends, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for our biggest game.”
Kaiser says parking worries are a good thing. The alternative is what Tulsa dealt with for years.
“I think it's a great thing for Tulsa. I think every vibrant city has a vibrant downtown, and that's something we've been lacking for almost half a century.”
There is one other new parking option, fans can park in the First Street Parking Garage for $2 all night on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and then take a quick five across the Main Street Bridge to the Brady District.