Green parking


Five cars, a small truck and a motorcycle are now parking for free in downtown Boise, about a month after the city's new zero-emission vehicle parking ordinance went into effect.

The new city law allows zero-emission cars to park at city meters for free, as long as they display a $10 permit.

“It’s my firm belief that government needs to set the example,” said city parking chief John Eichmann.

Eichmann said the city realizes that only a few Boise drivers have fully electric cars, but that one day there may be thousands of them out there. When citydesk pointed out that could put him out of a job, Eichmann said it would all work out in the long run.

"I'd rather save the environment," he said.

Owners of zero-emission vehicles (no, your Prius does not count), must fill out a form and then have a special emissions inspection.

“The main thing the guys will inspect it for is that the darn thing doesn’t have a tailpipe,” Eichmann said, remarking that some of the cars he's seen have a plug where the gas cap used to be.

Most of the zero-emission vehicles registered in Boise are retrofits, but some factory models are available. California has pushed for more zero-emission vehicles since 1990, to little avail, and more recently offered incentives for hybrid electric cars and trucks as well.

Boise electric car drivers don't get a total free ride; they may park for free, but are still held to the time limits displayed on meters. Overstay your welcome and you may find yourself taking an unnecessary trip in a gas guzzling cab out to the impound lot to recover your tin can.