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A New (And Free) Solution to Downtown Boise's Parking Crunch

"If the service is popular, that would be a great problem to have. This is a test to see if people can get over their separation anxiety from their vehicles."

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If there is such a thing as a parking guru in Boise, it's Max Clark. As parking and facilities director for the Capital City Development Corporation, Clark oversees the six CCDC-owned garages and is always keeping an eye on parking availability.

"We think the situation is such that some people will take advantage of our idea," he said.

"The situation" should be familiar to the thousands of commuters who search for parking in a downtown environment that makes those spaces a rare commodity.

In a unique agreement with the city of Boise and Boise State University, CCDC is about to launch a free park-and-ride service, which will allow commuters to park in a lot near the corner of Elder Street and Vista Avenue (near the airport), then hop aboard a free shuttle that will have regular runs 6 a.m.-9 a.m. and again at 4 p.m.-7 p.m. to downtown Boise.

Boise State owns the parking lot and CCDC and the city will split the $72,000 shuttle operating costs.

For now, the service will only run until mid-August, when Boise State will need the shuttles and drivers back to serve its returning study body.

"But if the service is popular, that would be a great problem to have," said Clark. "This is a test to see if people can get over their separation anxiety from their vehicles."

Anxiety is certainly growing as an increasing number of vehicles vie for a shrinking number of parking spaces.

"We have a waiting list of nearly 1,800 people looking for monthly parking permits. At three of our garages, we have a waiting list of 750 commuters," said Clark. "As a result, we're seeing an average of about 400 people parking in hourly parking spaces in the garages and paying the all-day rate. They just don't have any options."

CCDC is hoping the new option generates some interest and activity, at least until mid-August.

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