ACHD Commish Weighs In On Parking

ACHD Commish Rebecca Arnold, stressing her comments are her own opinion and not that of the ACHD board, sent a letter to the Boise City Council to be read at Tuesday’s public hearing. She claims a local developer wants the rate hike to benefit a private parking structure he wants to build.

The GUARDIAN offers an abridged version of the letter without specifics regarding technical issues with the meters.

Mayor and Council,

I am opposed to any increases whatsoever in the parking rates downtown. Certainly there are already enough disincentives for people to come to downtown Boise to shop, etc. and raising the parking rates may be the last straw for many, hurting the businesses in downtown Boise. Downtown Boise really has nothing that cannot be obtained in Meridian or elsewhere in the valley with free parking. Why would I come to downtown Boise and pay ridiculous parking rates to spend $400-$500 on Aveda products at Graebers when there are at least 4 other Aveda salons around the valley with the same products and free parking? (I’ll answer that one for you – I won’t go to Graebers anymore unless they offer much lower prices than their competition or I just won’t shop other businesses in downtown Boise.)

Your spokesperson claims that downtown businesses support the parking increases. Please provide the names of the businesses supporting the parking increases. I am aware of only one business person who supports this. At a recent open house in downtown Boise regarding the potential changes to the streets, Clay Carley told me that he wants all the parking rates in downtown Boise increased. Mr Carley told me that he owns a property in downtown Boise on which he wants to build a private, for-profit parking garage but that he cannot get a bank to finance the project because the parking rates charged by the parking garages in downtown Boise are too low and his project doesn’t work because he would not be able to charge high enough rates. Mr Carley wants all the parking rates increased in order to make his project economically feasible. Perhaps that’s one of the driving reasons for your actions. Since you control CCDC, is this the first step and are increased rates in the parking garages next? Incidentally, a woman who owns a smoothie shop downtown listened to the conversation and chimed in that she felt that increased parking rates would hurt or kill her business. She’s right!

As to today’s public hearing: holding a public hearing after you have already started installing the meters is disingenuous at best and makes a mockery of the public process. Clearly you have already made your decisions, have already spent taxpayer funds for the new meters, and clearly aren’t really interested in what we, your constituents, have to say on the matter. Shame on you. I also find it troubling that you put this item on a daytime meeting agenda to lessen the likelihood that people will be able to attend. Other agencies put controversial items on night meeting agendas to maximize the opportunity for public input. I would have attended today but I thought the public hearing was at 6 PM.

Thank you for “listening”.
Rebecca Arnold

The Council pulled the proposed ordinance from its reading schedule without pushing the proposal ahead, effictively putting it on “hold” at the noon meeting.

They haven’t said when a new parking fee proposal will come forward, but the action is typical when public opinion opposes staff recommendations. After things cool off it will be tweaked, the officials will make their case to the legacy media and it will pass.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Excellent and well said Rebecca Arnold. Many merchants are leaving towntown between 9th & Capital due to these same difficulties. Parking is more open the past few months as well. Bike meter readers will get you in a snap with a tickets. Profit as it is. People are told they not simply place more funds in their meters but are supposed to move their vehicles to a new space. This is affecting the resturants here as well as you interupt your meal to check your meter as well. I hope there is some senability with the matter. Do they want Business or discourage the Business as well as customers from here. It’s all a domino affect and effect no matter how this greed looks at it.

  2. downtown businesses support more meter turnover for proximate parking availability to their business, but raising rates and discouraging people from coming downtown is the wrong way to free up some meters.

    I too would like to see the list of businesses who support the parking increases, I would like to know who not to patronize with my business.

  3. Well said, Ms. Arnold! I wondered if increasing fees for parking garages, and discouraging auto traffic to justify a downtown trolley weren’t the ultimate goals anyway. I, too, would reduce or stop my trips downtown if the rates went up without legitimate reasons. As far as I can tell, we do not have a parking problem worth raising rates or extending hours. If the city wants to raise rates and explain exactly what they want to spend the money on, I might be willing to listen. Otherwise, look for real problems to solve.

  4. I don’t know the parking situation in Boise – but across the country, misguided Business Improvement Districts and business owners constantly push back against an increase in fees using the excuse that an increase will cause motorists to flee to the suburban malls.

    Meanwhile, that businesses existing customers must circle 3 or 4 times to find a spot or end up walking several blocks while the owner has their vehicle parked out front and runs out every other hour to feed the meter.

    This is insanity. Business owners need to keep their cars out of metered parking. Furthermore, the 15 minutes spent trying to find parking costs the consumer way more than an extra 50 cents or a dollar over 2 hours. When you are spending $80 at the local hardware store or salon or whatever it is, does another dollar weigh your decision? No. That time spent circling certainly does.

    The best way to combat that is to increase the parking fee. Your best customers will find parking available and will HAPPILY pay an extra $1 or $2 dollars if it means that they can park close and not spend time searching for it. Even if you value your time at just minimum wage, that 15 minutes represents $2 on it’s own.

  5. It seems disingenuous for Arnold to say she won’t buy $500 worth of hair products from a downtown business if meter parking is increased to $1.50 per hour, especially when the first 20 minutes on the meter will still be free. I also find her shrill “shame on you” tone condescending and immature.

  6. I would agree with the increase parking fees IF the city council would set the example and give up their free parking in the Boise city garage. They should park on the street or in the parking garage and pay for it out of their own pockets.

    But of course city council folks deserve free parking…. not us regular citizens.

  7. Just curious, what would Dick Daley, Chicago’s Teflon X “mayor” whom Bieter apparently uses as a role model and aspires to emulate, do?

    Having said that, I avoid DT Boise, and its festering NE almost as religiously as I do the People’s Socialist Republik of Kaliphonia. Haven’t had to travel to the PSRK since I retired.

    Other than several unique medical facilities that are unfortunately located in Boise, I eschew DT yuppie-ville like the plague.

  8. The density of the downtown core has made the issue of street side parking irrelevant. There are not enough spots and way too much demand. The $1.8 million the city makes on parking, should be used to create (or help create via partnerships) easy, cheap, accessible parking garages. The perception of parking “difficulty” in downtown is a huge barrier in getting people to support businesses there. Since the city seems so concerned about businesses, they should take those funds and do something worthwhile with them. For a change.

  9. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 24, 2013, 8:35 pm

    Parking meters exist to keep store employees from using up all the parking spaces and thus allow customers to come and go and spend money. The city should not try to make a profit from the meters.

  10. Good on ya, Rebecca! Very well said!

  11. Team Dave – you do not sound like a good person for a life of politics. I will not be supporting you should you find yourself running for gov. where you will find more opportunity to fleece the citizens.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: