Boise Bench vs Downtown War Brewing

We joke that “Downtown is so crowded that nobody goes there anymore,” but perhaps its time for everyone to just be honest about the intent of the city mothers and fathers and admit the rivalry (war?) between The Bench and Downtown.

The latest chapter in the parking wars is a good example. The City is installing new parking meters, raising parking rates 50% and if you overstay your welcome it costs $15. Despite a scheduled public hearing, it appears they are already forging ahead with plans. Those of us Bench dwellers who pay the way for downtown merchants and the CCDC get dinged just to visit the “vibrant down core.” We provide parking structures for hotels and businesses Downtown, but on the Bench merchants and hoteliers provide it themselves–for free.

Violations of city ordinances including drunks, fights, etc. is so intense downtown the coppers have a special squad just for downtown. Firefighters need special equipment (ladder trucks) and training to handle the Downtown, but the folks on the Bench have to pay extra taxes because Downtown is in the urban renewal zone where all the taxes on improvements and appreciation goes to CCDC.

City sidewalks are turned over to restaurants to encourage Downtown dining, but what happens if a Bench eatery cuts its city mandated parking lot spaces in favor of a dining patio?

For the most part there are no sidewalks on the Bench, but Downtown and the North End have them. Even the City Forester spends most of the budget and effort downtown–including Warm Springs and Harrison Blvd. Try to get a curbside tree sprayed if you live on Kootenai of Palouse.

One doesn’t need to go Downtown to get fresh local produce among the flea market crowd with their dogs and bikes. Just visit one of the produce stands on Overland or Fairview. You can park for free.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. This public hearing is a joke! Bieter and the council don’t care what the people say. They have clearly made up their minds already. Yet another example of Dictator-wanna-be Dave running amuck.

  2. Dave, you just don’t understand, you just don’t live in the right location. Now just git along and quit complaining.

  3. New to Boise
    Jul 22, 2013, 11:43 am

    Whaaa whaaa whaa!! Is there anything that the people on this website think is worth paying for?

  4. When you owe everything to the North Enders that elect you this kind of behavior must occur.
    That is why we have one “economy” that is heavily subsidized downtown and one out west that is not.

    One could not ask for a better illustration of democrat cronyism (downtown) versus republican free market west of Cole Road.

    I am sure that the North end thanks all those in the city limits who support their way of life downtown via the tax levies that the City Council assesses.

  5. Dave – you could not be more correct. We on the bench just hope and pray they don’t expand the CCDC to the south bench. We do not want any parking garages up here.

  6. idahocrystal
    Jul 22, 2013, 1:13 pm

    @Newbie – I don’t think anyone minds paying for the services that are equally and fairly distributed for the benefit of everyone, as well as passing rules and ordinances that apply to the masses – I think MOST people mind paying for services or ordinances designed to benefit small groups, special interests or a few who stand to gain…

  7. This is a bad idea for several reasons:

    1) Have yet to hear why the increase is needed, other than the obvious it is more revenue for the City and CCDC

    2) Increased meter rates, time limits and fees on the weekend will push more vehicles into the garages, which is what I suspect they are trying to do. More hourly customers in the garages will pressure the monthly parkers and result in monthly permit increases. (hourly cash customers and more profitable than contract parkers, garages will increase monthly rates to make room for more hourly)

    3) With hundreds of thousands of new space coming on-line with 8th and Main and Jump, the City should be finding ways to incentivize people and business to come downtown. There is a possible perfect storm brewing of too much lease space downtown, too few tenants, and City policies which discourage people from coming downtown. If the City was smart the would keep it status quo until the impact of these new major projects is better known.

  8. Really think on this, go back as far you’ve been in Boise, ever seen a fire ladder truck ever been used on rescue or a fire. The ladders stretched at full length and distance of set up might make it 40-50 ft. Heavy rescue vehicles are more practical, don’t cost as much, it’s all about insurance ratings, cost to run one of these vehicles 1,130,000- 1, 600,000 per year

  9. For once I have to agree with you. I have commented to the council and mayor that Boise does start just North of the River. There is a lot of city, tax paying residents south and west of the river. I understnad the drive for a vibrant downtown, the greenbelt and hiking trails, but when does the rest of Boise start to get attention? Annew basebell field would be great somewhere in SW Boise. Why does downtown deserve and get all the plums?

  10. sorry, Boise does NOT start north of the river.


  12. Most of the old buildings of downtown are are very expensive to operate, are not safe in a fire, and are not safe in even a moderate earthquake. I say we doze them for safety reasons. That’s what urban renewal is suppose to look like.

  13. Grumpy ole guy
    Jul 22, 2013, 7:52 pm

    OK Zippo, I’m game, but I suppose we Bench dwellers will have to pay for the dozers, won’t we?

  14. Branden Durst
    Jul 22, 2013, 9:16 pm

    Due to a previously arranged absence that prevented my attendance at the public hearing, I submitted my written comments in opposition to the parking meter changes last week. This is an absolutely awful idea and should be seen as such.

    As to the comments about the turf war and disproportionate spending downtown versus the rest of the city, let me give my two cents. First, I too am concerned that the resources aren’t being spread equally. The city is getting awfully close to making this a problem, but it isn’t one yet. That said, the partisan demagoguery spewed by “Lynn” (Luker?) is ridiculous. There are representatives on the Boise City Council from nearly every part of Boise, including west Boise. Plus, if there was such a big problem, people opposed to the current situation would be pushing candidates to announce for one of the three city council positions up for election in November. It is nearly August and no one has announced, less the current incumbents. That tells me that the “concerns” are much ado about nothing.

    Another curious thing… I love how many of the same people complaining about spending downtown and claim the unequal use of resources are conspicuously silent when ACHD routinely under spends in the City of Boise relative to the overall tax collection in the city.

  15. Easy……..CCDC needs to go.

  16. Done with down town Boise and the Farmers market. Was 4 min’s late getting back to my auto and a $25 fine was already on my window. What do they just stand there and watch the parking lots?

  17. New to Boise
    Jul 23, 2013, 12:52 pm

    @Idahocrystal: “equally and fairly distributed for the benefit of everyone, as well as passing rules and ordinances that apply to the masses”

    You mean redistribute wealth? Last time I checked, property taxes in the North End and East End were much higher than out on the bench. You get what you pay for.

    EDITOR NOTE–Important to note. Property tax RATES are the same everywhere in Boise. VALUES may be higher in the North End just as a big house is worth more than a small one.

  18. New to Boise
    Jul 23, 2013, 12:59 pm

    @Robert: “Done with down town Boise … Was 4 min’s late getting back to my auto and a $25 fine was already on my window.”

    So, your meter expired and you’re surprised that you got a ticket for having an expired meter? What a horrible city!

  19. Ivan – you really believe that? The money is not for what you state..ask the mayor where the money goes – HE SPENDS IT.

  20. New to Boise
    Jul 23, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Home values are higher in the North end because of their location, as the houses are smaller, older and otherwise undesirable in another modern modern Boise neighborhood. There is no dispute that the closer a property is to downtown, the more “valuable” it is. Likewise, the closer you are to downtown, the higher your taxes. What is so shocking about investing the most money in areas that return the most money?

    EDITOR NOTE–New To Boise, your rhetorical question is the problem. The downtown area RETURNS NOTHING in the way of taxes on improvements, new buildings, or appreciated value. That is the “increment” and it all goes to CCDC. The low value property on the bench (and other areas of course) is used to fund police, fire, etc. If urban renewal fixed up decaying property, razed buildings beyond repair and put newly created structures on the tax rolls, there would be no argument. Problem is the taxes are diverted to CCDC to expand itself.

  21. New to boise, wasn’t that many years ago Boise was a great place to live. All those new to boise also brought the trash and the greed.

  22. I grew up on the bench back in the 50’s and always envied the sidewalks of the downtown (Northend) areas. So when I grew up I lived downtown and loved it!
    I have returned to the Bench as the Northend started becoming all too … non-Idahoan.
    And I have noticed how spit on the Bench is by not just the City but Idaho Power as well.
    Parks and swimming pools are harder to find up here (but there are still plenty of citizens here who need them – perhaps even more since the socio-economics are not as high up here…. no YMCA pools here.
    Drive from the airport down Vista and Capital Blvd. Not as pretty as it was years ago…. motels made into shelters – not to welcome guests to the city.

    North End has the foot hills for their dog park. Have you seen the nasty spot called a dog park on Roosevelt (on the Bench, not downtown)… I would rather drive to Nampa’s dog park!
    I could rant on, but it’s endless.

  23. New to Boise
    Jul 24, 2013, 7:39 am

    Editor, I think that it is you who has the flawed thinking: “The downtown area RETURNS NOTHING in the way of taxes on improvements, new buildings, or appreciated value.”

    Perhaps you believe in the sprawling Sacramento development plan, but if you give it some thought, you should recognize that city downtowns create critical masses of activities, which in turn facilitates business, learning and cultural exchange. This should be easily recognized when you look and see JUMP, the Zions bank bldg, and a number of new businesses opening up downtown. Hopefully, this will result in high density population growth in the area, which will in turn support better public transit to the whole valley. Like it or not, the success of Boise’s future relies heavily on creating a vibrant downtown.

    Think of it another way: If you’re trying to show off the city to a business thinking of moving here, what are you going to show off? South Cole area? Maple Grove? Garden City? Do you seriously think that a convention center on Vista is better than downtown?

    Correct or not, people (especially out-of-towners) see Boise as it originally was: downtown, north end, east end – the rest is sprawl. When was the last time you saw a picture of Boise that wasn’t of downtown?

    I liken the complaints coming from the Bench to complaints from BSU’s volleyball team that the football team is so much better funded.

    EDITOR NOTE–Your BSU analogy is simply uninformed. The analogy would be like Volleyball paying the cost of Football. Downtown improvements (growth) pays NOTHING in taxes to the city, county, ACHD, or schools! As an admitted growthophobe (opposed to growth just for the sake of growth) we stand by the statement. All the sprawl you cite was created by the Boise City Council which annexed the areas. Subdivisions are not allowed to split less than 5 acre parcels without sewer outside cities. The solution was annexation (against the will of those annexed in most cases) by Boise at the behest of many incumbent councilors and the mayor with an obligation to provide sewer and other services. We absolutely do not oppose a vibrant Downtown. We oppose the financing method which diverts taxes to create more development, denies citizens a right to approve debt financed with public money, and places a financial burden on those of us who have to fund the essential services consumed, but not paid by Downtown.

  24. New to Boise
    Jul 24, 2013, 9:08 am

    You’re missing the point – the entire city needs a downtown for a successful future, not the other way around.

  25. New to Boise
    Jul 24, 2013, 9:12 am


    Thank you, Robert, for lowering yourself to not-so-veiled name-calling. People like you make it easy for me to ignore others who might have constructive comments.

  26. idahocrystal
    Jul 24, 2013, 9:40 am

    @Newbie – I find it strange that you would label yourself as a person without personal experience of Boise’s history and then proceed to compare various parts of it to the ways of cities in California. Boise is just a small part of this State and the North and East ends do not represent the State or even the City of Boise, let alone the rest of the Treasure Valley.

    This is not California. Idahoans do not want to be, act like or learn much from California except for how to avoid becoming like California. (This isn’t a judgement, as I actually love a lot of Northern California.)
    = >

    It’s not about redistributing the wealth, it’s about finding the best ways to serve the entire area in a fair and balanced manner. Claiming to pay more in property taxes and therefore deserving more services sounds pretty much like telling the cop writing you a speeding ticket that you pay his salary.

    By that same logic, since you’re new to these parts, you and others who have only been here for a few years, really shouldn’t get as much in services compared to those who’ve been here for decades since they’ve been paying for a lot longer and are far more fiscally responsible for the services and developments you now enjoy.

    It just doesn’t make sense to justify who should and shouldn’t get more in services – All services afforded by taxes must be distributed properly, equally and for the good of the City as a whole.

  27. New to Boise. Maybe you shouldn’t make it so easy. I stand by my statement. Trash & Greed!

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