Boise City Council Approves New Parking Rules in Split Vote 

click to enlarge - The Boise City Council has enacted new rules for parking in downtown Boise. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • The Boise City Council has enacted new rules for parking in downtown Boise.
In a split vote Dec. 19, Boise City Council approved new rules that will extend the hours during which people must pay for parking and will increase rates across the downtown core. The regulations will go into effect Thursday, Feb. 1. Council members Elaine Clegg, Lauren McLean and Ben Quintana voted in favor of the changes; members Maryanne Jordan, TJ Thomson and Scot Ludwig voted against.

"We had longtime downtown business owners saying they wanted this [change] to be made," said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, who cast the tie-breaking vote. 

Specifically, the changes include lengthening enforcement hours in Zones 1 and 2 (see map below) to Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Meter rates will also increase in Zones 1 and 2. In Zone 1, parking will cost $2 for the first hour and $3 for the second hour Monday-Friday. In Zone 2, the rates will increase to $1.25 for the first hour and $2 for the second hour Monday-Friday. In both Zones 1 and 2 on Saturdays, the rate will be 50 cents for the first and second hours with a 2-hour parking limit. The new rules also include a higher fines for parking violations. An expired meter violation will set drivers back $20, time zone violations $25, hazard violations $60 and accessible violations $150.

City Council members who voted against the measure said they agreed it was time to change parking rules downtown, but were hesitant to pull the trigger on charging for Saturday parking. Jordan said she was "still squishy,"  about it, and Thomson said he was "not quite ready."

Changing the parking regime is a means to an end, according to city spokesman Mike Journee. Ultimately, the city would like to see more turnover in short-term parking spaces and greater use of Capital City Development Corporation-operated, long-term parking structures as the city continues to work toward for greater public transportation options and enhanced pedestrian/bike infrastructure.

"We recognize it's a challenge, more so as downtown becomes complex. Transit will help to create holistic parking and alternatives," Journee said.

click to enlarge - Chelsea Harada (left) said the new parking rules could be onerous for people who work downtown. -  - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Chelsea Harada (left) said the new parking rules could be onerous for people who work downtown.
The changes were lauded by downtown business owners at a previous reading of the proposed rules, but some say while they may improve foot traffic, they do little to help people who work downtown.

Chelsea Harada, who parks downtown when she works at the Boise Farmers Market on Saturdays, said the rules will likely be a cost burden to her as a worker and to others already concerned about the parking availability.

"There [weren't] any solutions put in place before this for people whose options it eliminates," she said. "Low-income people are the most affected."

Journee said an upcoming program will alleviate some of the pressures put on workers downtown. Passes will be available from the city that will allow downtown workers with proof of employment unlimited parking in Zone 3 after 3 p.m. every day for $15 per month.

Boise Weekly intern Veronica Lemaster contributed to this story.


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