Jamie Adams admits she never would have imagined cheering the sight of a parking meter, but after months of frustrating searches for an open spot around the revamped Myriad Gardens, she is among those eagerly awaiting the day when newly installed meters are finally activated.
“I love coming here with my kids,” Adams said Friday. “But it's impossible finding a parking spot around here — the construction workers park here in the morning and don't leave until the day is over.”
Installation of new parking meters began this week along several streets rebuilt as part of Project 180, the $141 million makeover of downtown public spaces funded through a tax increment finance district created in conjunction with the construction of Devon Energy Center.
With the addition of more than 600 on-street parking spots resulting from downtown street renovations, officials with the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority and Project 180 decided to retire the old coin meters for a more advanced wireless multi-spot pay station.
“As part of the changes resulting from Project 180, we were looking for ways to clean up the streets and de-clutter the sidewalks,” said Debi Holtzclaw, parking manager for the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority. “We chose a digital meter because the older mechanical meters do not accept credit cards and manufacturers are no longer making parts to repair them.”
Officials hoped to have the meters installed months ago as the first Project 180 streets were completed, but a contract with Florida-based CALE Parking Systems was dropped after the company was raided by the FBI and IRS on claims of kickbacks. After reconsidering bids submitted for the project, city officials chose to go with a “pay and display” system produced by Florida-based Parkeon.
As many as 125 of the multi-space, solar-powered pay stations that accept coins or credit cards will be installed in phases throughout the summer. The first pay stations were installed this week around the Myriad Gardens on Reno, Robinson and Hudson streets, with additional installations every two weeks. The first phase of meters is expected to go live July 16.
“The meters are very easy to use, but it does require a change in habit,” Holtzclaw said.
“Users either choose coins or credit to enter their time, print a receipt and put the receipt on the front driver's side windshield of their car. The receipt must be visible to avoid a parking violation.”
If the purchaser of parking returns to their vehicle before their chosen time has expired, they will be able to leave the receipt on the dashboard and move their vehicle to any other curbside parking space with the “pay and display” meters without having to pay again.
The pay and display receipts will not be valid for spaces in Bricktown and elsewhere downtown with older meters.
“You're now paying for time, not for a specific space,” Holtzclaw said of the new system. “Users of curbside parking downtown will no longer have to leave unused time for the next driver; they can take it with them.”
Pay stations will serve about 10 parking spaces, with no more than five car lengths between the spot and designated pay station. The price for parking also is going up, with a minimum of 75 cents for 30-minute parking in either one-hour or two-hour zones. Parking zones will be marked by color coding. One-hour meters will feature a blue cap and two-hour meters feature an orange cap. On-street parking will be enforced 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, except public holidays. For more information about downtown parking or the new pay stations, visit parking