The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 15, 2013

Empty spaces downtown

NORMAN — The municipal parking lot on Gray Street between Peters Avenue and Crawford Avenue has seen some empty spaces in the past few weeks. Since the city began charging for parking there, the lot has gone from about 98 percent occupancy to about 20 percent occupancy.

City officials say it is slowly picking up more customers and they appear to be shoppers and diners headed to downtown destinations rather than employees who were using parking.

“We are gauging it,” public works director Shawn O’Leary told a Downtowners meeting Thursday. “We do think it is building back up.”

Traffic specialists are watching to see if those free parkers have now moved to Main Street, something they didn’t want to happen. The cost of the city lot is a quarter per hour and the first hour is free. Campus Corner merchants and city officials are looking at a similar meter system there. They’re shooting for $1 per hour on campus.

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