Best Street Fight

The smart meter scandal

Staff Pick

Some people can't seem to get along. The city of Boise and Ada County Highway District have been butting heads for years--on bike lanes, roundabouts, traffic direction or, recently, so-called smart meters--and the two entities are never short of something to fight about. The saga of the smart meters goes back to 2012, when the city of Boise announced it would be installing technology that detects when a vehicle leaves a parking space and resets the meter. Motorists could pay for parking online and also receive an alert on their smartphones when a space opened up. It sounded like a win-win, but trouble reared its head when the city started embedding the sensors necessary for the meters to work into streets this year. ACHD, which owns the streets, cried foul--the city claimed it didn't need permission for the installation. ACHD fired off a cease-and-desist demand, and an opinion from the attorney general backed up its authority to do so. In late August, ACHD commissioners voted to halt the project, leaving the city to come up with a contingency plan: installing the sensors on the meters. We'll call that one a draw.

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