It’s official: The City of Boise will start charging visitors to park in the main downtown core on Saturdays beginning next year.
Once again, it took a tie breaking vote from Mayor Dave Bieter to move the plan forward. Many downtown meters will operate on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Parking meters will also be enforced until 8 p.m. on weekdays.
Councilmembers who voted against the measure say it’s too early to make a decision, but Bieter and others who support it say there needs to be more turnover in these spots on the weekend.
“I think we do need that churn on Saturdays and in some ways these are the kinds of problems that we want to have because downtown is so popular and vibrant,” he says.
Many retail business owners think so, too. In the past, they’ve said a higher churn at the meters potentially mean more customers. Restaurateurs worry it’ll mean fewer people visiting downtown.
Instead, city officials want long-term visitors to park along the edges of downtown and walk in, cycle to their destination or park in a garage.
Council President Elaine Clegg says she’s hesitantly in favor of the plan, noting the complete lack of parking as soon as the meters are no longer monitored.
“Like the evening hours, in my mind, those are driven by data that shows there simply is no street parking available between the hours of [10 a.m. and 5 p.m.],” Clegg says.
That hesitation is built into the proposal, with city council reviewing the changes late next summer.
Rates will go up between 25 and 75 cents, depending on where you park.
These new rates and hours will go into effect Feb. 1.
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