|Updated: 12/20/2013 11:03 pm
||Published: 12/20/2013 5:05 pm
There are some new parking signs in four of Tulsa's entertainment bar districts as part of an effort to cut down on drunken driving.
The "Taxi Parking Only" signs went up this week. It is an idea that came out of a task force of law enforcement, bar owners and others.
The task force was created because there were more than 700 drunken driving crashes in Tulsa County last year, and close to 250 Oklahomans died last year from drunken driving.
This is an effort to cut those numbers down.
Josh Royal owns R Bar, in the Brookside area, and worries when people have too much to drink.
"A customer that's actually being responsible that wants to get a ride home because they've had too much to drink, I'll go ahead and call them a cab. And after 30, 45 minutes to an hour, they leave. And there's nothing I can do to stop them," said Royal.
Eric Smoot, who heads up alcohol enforcement in the Tulsa area, told FOX23 he heard the same thing from other bar owners, so he brought in taxi companies.
"We said, 'Hey, how come there's a problem here? Why is it 45 minutes?' And they said, 'Our problem is there's no parking in the bar districts. We don't have a place to park where we're visible,'" said Smoot.
The solution was a compromise: a sign at 34th and Peoria, in Brookside; one at 15th and Quincy, on Cherry Street; one at 2nd and Elgin, in the Blue Dome District; and one at Cameron and Main, in the Brady district.
The question is: will people use the cabs if they're right in front of them?
"We may be taking baby steps here, but anything that people would ... that could get in a cab or could get a ride home safely ... I mean, I think they would," said Royal.
Smoot said the task force continues to search for other solutions to the drunken driving problem, but for now, he hopes this is a step in the right direction.
Royal says the next step is better public transportation.
The city of Tulsa spent $160 to put all four signs up.
If anybody else parks in the spots between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights, they could end up with a $30 parking fine.