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”.
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.
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