If a so-called "smart" parking meter means the meter will be getting more of your money, then the new round of smart meters about to hit downtown Boise may be geniuses--not only will they allow motorists to stay longer, they will also charge higher rates. For example, a two-hour stay in front of a smart meter is expected to top $4, versus $2.50 charged in one of the city's six parking garages, owned and operated by the Capital City Development Corporation.
Meanwhile, Citydesk has also learned that city of Boise officials are considering enforcement of Saturday on-street parking (all the way until 8 p.m.). The extra enforcement would be a significant change to Boise's parking culture, which up until now has offered gratis weekend parking. Simply put, if you want to park on the street on a Saturday--to visit the market perhaps, grab some lunch or run a quick errand--you'll be ticketed if you don't feed the meter.
The proposal was recently reviewed by the CCDC Board of Commissioners, and while CCDC has the most to gain by pushing more cars off of streets and into one of the agency's garages, the board balked at a formal vote of support.
"It's not our decision," said CCDC Chair Phil Reberger, sensing that the public might push back at a plan that pressures citizens to pump more coins into the smart meters. "I don't think we need to have a vote on this, as opposed to us just saying, 'Yeah, we're for that.'"
While city of Boise officials decide whether to introduce the big Saturday change-up, the first wave of smart meters will start appearing sooner rather than later.
"They're supposed to be shipped here in the next couple of weeks," said Tyler Johnson, the city's parking services supervisor. "Our hope is to start installing them in June."
Just more than 200 of the smart meters will be installed this summer in what Johnson calls "the city's most popular meter locations," including BODO and in front of City Hall.
"Ultimately, we'll get about 811 of the meters installed over a four-year period," said Johnson. "Our next wave of 200 meters should be ordered sometime in October."
In addition to the meters, crews will also be embedding sensors into street pavement, so that meters would reset to zero when a car drives away.
After all, shouldn't a smart meter know enough not to give you something for free?