Each weekend, Turkey Mountain is packed with hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, geocachers, and families who are out to enjoy nature. This is Tulsa's gem, a true urban wilderness--something so few cities have. The lower parking lot fills up fast. People then resort to parking where ever they can--alongside the road on 67th and 68th Streets (in my neighborhood) and alongside Elwood Ave and 61st Street. Just recently, the old upper parking lot has been re-opened, which adds about 30 parking spaces. This is a blessing, but 30 extra spots hardly makes a dent in the parking situation. A recent survey of weekend trail users counted over 2,700 people in one day. I personally have counted over 250 cars in the lower parking lot and parked roadside.
Now the City of Tulsa has installed 13 NO PARKING signs along both Elwood and 61st Street. Park here, and you'll get a $60.00 parking ticket!
Now before anyone jumps up to inform me that roadside parking is a hazard--I agree that a parked car with the two tires ON the roadway is dangerous, and parking right at the curve at the top of the hill is asking for a collision from a speeding vehicle.
But where there IS a wide shoulder, it is ridiculous to prohibit parking. In this one stretch on the south side of the road, there is room for 20-25 parked cars which could be safely off the road.
The upper parking lot is not a permanent solution to the parking problems. Parking in the adjoining neighborhoods is not well received by a few of the residents. I live on 68th Street, and I have no problem with cars parked in front of my house, but a couple of neighbors have put concrete blocks along the road to keep people from parking in front of their house.
So what IS a good solution? Expanding the lower parking lot? I personally would rather not see even more asphalt there. The grassy area between the lot and the large pavilion should stay there, in my opinion. Expand the upper parking lot--maybe a better alternative.
Another idea is opening the gravel lot accessible from 71st Street. This gate is usually locked. But if it were opened just on the weekends, it would open up around 100 more parking spaces, and this could be done with virtually zero cost.
I find it ironic that there is a posted $100.00 fine for dumping (which is NEVER enforced) and $60.00 for roadside parking, which will rack up some major $$$ for the city.
I appeal to RiverParks and the City of Tulsa to study this issue and fix this problem.