After spending a "few hundred dollars” on season tickets for Thunder games, John Pauley is looking forward to parking for free during Wednesday’s season opener.
He’s still stunned, however, by where he will find that free parking space: Bricktown. "It’s really crazy to even believe they’re doing it,” Pauley said when told the district will provide more than 1,000 spaces. "I’ve always heard that’s the one place not to bother with.” Jim Cowan, director of the Bricktown Association, said the free spaces are a result of a parking study completed over the summer that determined visitors are not well acquainted with either the BPI lots north of Main Street and east of E.K. Gaylord Boulevard or the Power Alley Parking Garage at Sheridan and Central (next to the soon-to-open Hampton Inn). "They were both highlighted in that study, and so the owners have decided to make their lots free on opening night,” Cowan said. "We really have enough parking, we just don’t do enough to tell people where it is. So the owners are wanting to get the public’s attention that these are viable places to park – particularly for an NBA game.” Cowan said the free parking comes with no strings attached. He said the garage and north lots rarely filled up during the Hornets’ two-year stay at Ford Center even though parking rates are capped at $5 a space. "If you want guaranteed parking and you don’t want to spend a lot of money, these are two options you can have all season long,” Cowan said.