Downtown Boise Merchants Weigh In On Smart Meters, Extended Parking Enforcements

Posted by Ryan Thorne on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 10:15 AM

As the city of Boise begins installing hundreds of so-called "smart" parking meters, city officials gave citizens their first opportunity the afternoon of June 6 to weigh in on a series of proposals tied to the smart meters, including the possibility of extended evening parking enforcement and enforcement on Saturdays.

“We tried to identify what our current challenges are and we boiled down a list,” said Craig Croner, the administrative services manager for the city of Boise. “One of the first things we talked about is, we have an outdated parking system.”

A sparse crowd of less than 20 people attended the public meeting, consisting primarily of downtown business owners, who expressed some concerns over the new meters and the proposed expanded enforcement.

Barbara Krogh, who co-owns and has operated Barbara and Barbara for nearly 30 years, championed the convenience of new meters that accept both credit cards and coins but said she was worried that motorists might head elsewhere to shop if paid parking times are extended to Saturdays.

“I do not like the idea of doing it on Saturdays," Krogh told Boise Weekly. "Saturday is the day a lot of people test out downtown Boise. They know they don’t have to pay for the meters, and the minute that changes, I think we are going to see a lot less business.

Dan Balluff, who owns the City Peanut Shop on Bannock Street, said the city parking meters need an update, but enforcement hours should remain as they are to encourage foot traffic downtown during nights and weekends.

“I think it will be a real detriment to business downtown to have extended hours in the evening and on Saturdays to pay for parking,” he said.

Balluff said extensions of parking enforcement might cause resentment among downtown business owners already struggling to "get their feet in the door," and while the city argues better meters and longer enforcement hours will free up parking in congested areas, he doesn’t see parking availability as a serious issue.

“The downtown business community is pretty busy trying to stay in business,” said Balluff. “My experience is that there are certain areas where it is really tough to find a space, certain areas like Sixth and Main or BODO, but the rest of downtown seems to flow pretty well.”

Comments (9)

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Parking becomes less convenient.
Less people come downtown.
Less taxable transactions are made.
City raises less money.
Businesses leave downtown.

Wait...what was the goal again??

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Posted by Colin on 06/07/2013 at 11:10 AM

If City is going to upgrade to smart meters, the City should also be smart and upgrade their strategy to one of flexibility and resilience. My point being to build in the ability to keep status quo or enforce a pay in preparation for particularly high traffic conditions, ie: certain events, streets. Create the ability to change policy in real time. Caveat: need to have general stability of policy and a system of broadcasting temporary change to the public (a "tweet" to the meters themselves?). There are existing policy parallels to other inconveniences we face daily, road closures for example. Basically, smart metering should be part of a broader smart transportation system. I believe City\Business should plan and discuss the merits of the policy from that perspective.

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Posted by Arron Banner on 06/08/2013 at 10:59 AM

Because ya know... Fuck the people

Posted by Brian Hoyt on 06/08/2013 at 12:13 PM

If the parking system becomes overloaded on those days, they have to deal with the capacity issues, and charging for parking is one of those ways. However, there are other possibilities. Promote alternative transportation.

Converting some parking spots in the bicycle stalls was a good step. Do the same for motorcycles/scooters (likewise you can fit many more of them in the space of one car, and they can fit in unconventional spaces —  check the motorcycle parking on BSU campus, including some spots along the wall in the Brady garage). Also, allow small scooters and motos (say, up to 250cc) to park in the certain sections of wide sidewalks like they do in many cities around the world.

Another way is to extend the public transportation options. I, for one, would love to go visit downtown sometimes, have some food and a few drinks, and not worry about paying for a taxi or driving under influence if I could just get there and back on a bus. I did it for lunch or events, such as hockey game, before, but it cannot be done in the evenings, and service on Saturdays is limited as well.

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Posted by Eugene Kravtsov on 06/08/2013 at 12:39 PM

typical of government on all levels to create a problem where none exists. by and large, there is no parking problem in the downtown core. but, in order to rationalize their actions to create more revenue at the expense of downtown merchants, they concoct an issue. update the equipment if you must, but leave the enforcement hours as they are

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Posted by joe bob priddy on 06/08/2013 at 5:12 PM

Joe Bob Priddy, I am not here to defend inefficiencies of governments, real or perceived, but to say there is no parking problem in downtown Boise is being delusional or dishonest. Try to find *free* parking spot on a busy Friday or Saturday night close to your destination, and you’d know there is a problem. People cruise several blocks before scouring a close spot, or have to settle for a remote side street and a lengthy walk by American standards.

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Posted by Eugene Kravtsov on 06/08/2013 at 9:27 PM

"By American" standards? So... more than 100 feet? Boo-freakin-hoo. Almost everyone knows that parking is difficult downtown on a Friday and Saturday. I would know, I used to work down there. But walking two blocks is NOT that big of a deal.

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Posted by majhimujhuko on 06/14/2013 at 5:38 PM

100 feet is extreme, almost a marathon, you’d need a motorized scooter for that.

Posted by Eugene Kravtsov on 06/14/2013 at 10:18 PM

ACHD and Boise City are plotting to get rid of street parking. Save Boise's on street parking! It is one of the special things about this town.

Posted by Concerned Citizen on 06/17/2013 at 7:16 AM
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