Solution For Downtown Parking Rate Hike

Front Street Traffic (U.S. 20)

The Capital City Development Corp. voted Monday to raise parking rates 20% to $3 per hour and the monthly rate from $135 to $170. The reason for the hikes is said to reduce demand–and of course make more money from downtown workers and shoppers.

For an office worker making a take home pay of $40,000, the new $170 rate represents a monthly cost of 5% of their pay. For the service workers in the vibrant downtown restaurant and coffee scene, we won’t even attempt to calculate the impact on their income.

The GUARDIAN got to thinking that it might be just as easy to cut demand if everyone wishing to dine and shop simply took their business to the Boise Bench, Meridian, or the Town Square Mall. There are plenty of dining and drinking venues and the parking is FREE. Also, you don’t have to live in fear of a $15 parking ticket if the lunch time service is a bit slow.

All those economic development experts seem to create problems so they will have something to “solve.” We allow them to rezone property and approve variances to build big box stores like Wal Mart, Target, Shopko, along Federal Way, Overland, Fairview, and State to prey upon all the new apartments and residences in those urban sprawl area. It seems counter intuitive when the urban planners, politicos, and environmentally correct folks condemn the use of cars. Ever try to get a week’s work of groceries on a bicycle or wrestle two bags of steer manure on one of this infrequent buses?

Since Downtown is home to mostly the homeless and well-to-do condo dwellers, we think “shop and dine close to home,” makes sense.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Idaho Crystal
    Nov 13, 2017, 8:53 pm

    Not a problem to go elsewhere for everything. Been working in, or near downtown for over 15 years. We really have no need or want to go downtown for anything – too many other great places to shop & eat without the hassles of downtown. Everyone I know that doesn’t live within walking distance or is over age 25, just avoids it anyway.

  2. Double Down
    Nov 13, 2017, 8:56 pm

    My solution is to never go downtown already. I shall now double down on my winning policy.

    Boise! Your Mayor is not looking out for you.

  3. First rule of (Boise) politics is never let a problem go by without asking for money to fix it.

    Second rule…create as many problems as you can and apply rule #1.

  4. What I find really interesting, if I remember correctly, is that the city with teir new parking meters were trying to get people to use the parking garages.Interesting now the parking garages are raising their rates. Boise City really stinks!!

  5. It would be interesting to know how many Boise citizens go downtown more than once a year or so. Drive throughs don’t count. Of those who work downtown how many would avoid it if possible?

  6. Clancy Anderson
    Nov 14, 2017, 9:01 am

    There are 2 things that I can guarantee about Free Parking.
    1. It is not free, somebody is paying for it.
    2. Free parking is also not your right, especially in front of your house

    Have you ever wondered about how much space we dedicate to parking in the downtown core? Here is a nice visual:

  7. Team Dave himself wants you to ‘trust us’ (me and the Council lapdogs) to make the really big and tough decisions like F-35 pandering and a new boondoggle stadium.

    I worked downtown for 3 decades but won’t drive there during day. Road construction, i.e. ‘progress and (service industry) jobs!’aren’t what it’s about, folks.

    What ever happened to the ‘smart’ parking meters that reset to zero time after a car leaves the spot? That was/is an ACHD/Boise City tussle. Another way to force parkers into the lots. Why is the city in the parking lot business, anyway?

  8. Mr. Guardian, a clarification is in order.

    You say the parking is FREE at the outlying venues. And, I s’pose it is, but only in the sense that the person parking the car isn’t paying for that privilege at the time.

    The parking really isn’t “free,” however. Those huge expanses of asphalt consume a lot of real estate, and cost money to construct and maintain. If that money isn’t collected from the people parking the cars, it is collected in overhead… a little extra money paid to the suppliers of goods or services, who in turn make payments to the owners of the property. That’s one reason why a widget purchased locally might cost a little more than a widget purchased on

    “Shop and dine close to home” ABSOLUTELY makes sense! So does “use a bicycle for transportation whenever you can”! (Although don’t expect a discount at your favorite retailer, just because you showed up on a bike and didn’t need a “free” parking spot.)

  9. Bikeboy missed one thing…

    “shop and dine close to home”…
    Yes, and WORK close to home or LIVE close to your work is another good principle.

    Already well stated, nothing is “free”. And everything is a choice.
    People will choose to pay the higher parking.

    btw Guardian, you don’t have to ‘wrestle steer manure’ onto a bicycle if you compost your green waste.
    A sustainable lifestyle is a good solution.
    You also don’t have to buy a weeks worth of groceries at one time.
    Taking an evening walk is good for the blood pressure- walk or bicycle to the grocery store each day (for good health). It lowers the blood pressure after reading blog troll posts.

    Of course that requires living fairly close to the store… hence P&Z approving box stores near all that urban sprawl makes it easy for people to walk to Walmart. I see it at Glenwood all the time.
    But if you really want to buy groceries for a whole week, they do make some affordable bicycle TRAILERS.
    If a week of groceries is your only hurdle, I bet Bikeboy could hook you up. The petroleum vehicle is fading into past- too many better solutions exist today.

    EDITOR NOTE: Easterner–Regarding the composting and green lid boxes. I think it is safe to say Boise City is dispensing something rotten and people actually seem to enjoy it! 🙂

  10. Downtown workers commuting from points west should consider taking advantage of all that “free” parking at the Town Square Mall and catching a bus downtown from there. Bus passes start at only $36 a month.

  11. Next Move - take over ACHD
    Nov 14, 2017, 1:23 pm

    Be patient….the mayor and his cronies next move is to take over ACHD. That way they control CCDC, GBAD and ACHD – nothing will stop them then!

  12. Eagle Writer
    Nov 14, 2017, 4:10 pm

    I need to compare the cinema costs in BoDo with those at Spectrum and the Village. I may indeed be paying a premium for free parking. But it’s still easier.

    Easterner – “…live close to work…” Have you noticed the west is big? So when your job is phased out at HP and you land a great one at Micron you should sell the house, move close to Micron and put the kids in another school?

    And me? Which client should I live close to? The one in Wilder or in Mountain Home. Boise, Eagle or Meridian?

    The easier and better solution is to bike-up in your spandex on weekends, but drive your car for work and entertainment. Gas is cheap, and driving is part of our culture. Pave, stripe and police the roads, and cancel all of the other meetings.

  13. Clancy Anderson
    Nov 14, 2017, 4:41 pm

    Bigger employers and government can offer a program to pay for your parking (upto $260/month) or transit (upto $260/month) with pretax income. There used to be a program to reimburse bike commuters for maintenance, parts, etc up to $20/month, but that part is being taken out by D.C.

  14. Voter hits it on the head.

    If the city is successful in shutting all the affordable parking down – and making the only parking that is available (parking garages) inconvenient – this will open the door for the suggestion that we fire up the ole’ trolley.

    I work downtown – and refuse to go downtown when not at work.

  15. Seems to me it’s all gonna work out fine. I despise Eagle Road and the Village as much as the rest of you hate downtown, so knock yourselves out at Big Al’s and free up some parking around the Grove for me. I can afford a few bucks to park, and would so much rather spend my money downtown than in Meridian. Free market capitalism strikes again…ain’t it great?

  16. Digressing a bit from the topic:

    I’m sure Easterner’s comment was made with tongue planted firmly in cheek… but (s)he has some good points!

    I work downtown. I live in the Hillcrest area… about 3.5 miles from door to door. I’ve been bike commuting for 32 years… I haven’t driven a car to work, or had to find a parking spot, since 1997 (20 years). It takes 12-15 minutes to commute. If I lived in Eagle or Kuna, my life would be far different.

    I CHOOSE to ride a bike… much like many people CHOOSE to live in a bedroom community and drive a car. With choices come consequences.

    On the UP-SIDE: I’ve saved THOUSANDS in transportation expenses. On most days, my commute is some of the best “quality” time of the day. (How many Nampa-Boise commuters can say that?)

    On the DOWN-SIDE: Now and then my commute is downright miserable… usually that involves precipitation. I have to “economize” on what I’m carrying. I can’t stop and get a week’s worth of groceries on the way home, or drop off a child at daycare. (Some people have cargo bikes, and can do that heavy-duty stuff.)

    I’m happy that people can choose. I wish the public transportation system were better, so more people could choose it. The people who choose to drive downtown will be impacted by a parking price increase much more than me. (And I’m impacted more by heavy rain.)

  17. Clancy Anderson
    Nov 15, 2017, 10:35 am

    The Village in Meridian needed lots of road upgrades in order to funnel all that traffic. The developer paid for those improvements, but the State agreed to pay them back to the tune of $25 million. Sounds like the citizens of Idaho are subsidizing some of that “free parking”.

    More at Eye on Boise:

    EDITOR NOTE–State is just as guilty of subsidizing and encouraging development as cities. We firmly oppose deals like Cabelas at Post Falls, but have to admit we were unaware–as were most folks–of the deal at Meridian. The GUARDIAN tried in vain to alert folks to the deal TEN YEARS AGO!! We even noted back then that it was an accounting nightmare for the tax commission. Seems that turned out to be true!

  18. Thanks bikeboy.
    That is exactly my response to Eagle Writer’s rebuttal… “it is all about choice”.

    It also applies to business owners. There is a choice for your accounts, customers, and use of technology.
    Recycle. Don’t recycle.
    Downtown. Bench.
    Drive. Skype.
    We can all choose accordingly; for our lifestyle and our grandchildrens’ lifestyle.

    Obviously, there are SOME people not able to make an easy choice- for one reason or another they are stuck.
    And that is why all communities need effective mass transit. Boise/Treasure Valley doesn’t have that.

  19. Eagle Writer
    Nov 15, 2017, 4:27 pm

    I agree, Bikeboy is right. Easterner is right until he reaches an unfounded conclusion: “all communities need effective mass transit.” That would be Easterner making the choices for others.

    I appreciated mass transit in Europe and Asia, and never desired to drive there. Didn’t desire to live there either.

    Simply put, my car is like a nice restaurant; my bike would be like a good, hand-packed lunch in a brown bag; and mass transit is a very bad cafeteria. It would add nothing of value to Boise City, and will surely diminish the good that is there.

    Make no mistake – the intent is to reduce choice. Reduce car lanes, car parking, car traffic, and car choice.

  20. How did the CCDC end up with most of the parking garages in downtown anyway? It would be easier to take if the extra monies were being used to explore east /west bus routes as opposed to the CCDC spending $2 million to explore the downtown streetcar? Boy is mayor Bieter gonna be upset when he learns of the increase!

  21. Frank – when you are the CCDC and you (and the mayor) can control all the tax revenue from the increase in tax assessment you have a pot of cash you can spend on “public projects”.

    These projects can compete with and / or subsidize the infrastructure that the developers do not have to pay for to make the projects viable.

    It is like St Luke’s who has so much cash it has to spend it on more and more buildings or the massive cash becomes too visible.

  22. DT Office Worker
    Nov 16, 2017, 12:18 am

    Suck it up! I drive 10 minutes to an Albertsons parking lot where I catch a bus and ride into downtown. I’ve done this for over a year now. I laugh at how much money downtown permit holders are wasting while I enjoy my bus ride in rush hour traffic, looking at cat photos on my Facebook news feed.

  23. DT. How does Albertsons feel about your using their parking lot as a Park and Ride. I know Winco across from the courthouse wasn’t too wild about that.

  24. Yes DT Cheapo, you are trespassing by any standard of the law. Congrats.

    You could also take the bus for the whole route.
    Can you tell us which lot?
    Maybe a homeless person (or two) could sit inside your car, while you’re not using it, to stay safe out of the cold…
    You know, “you are not using it” while you’re at your office.
    Same thing.

  25. But Easterner, DT Office Worker also shops at the Albertson’s, so it is not really free parking. And it makes Albertson’s look busier. And maybe the DT Office Worker works at an Albertson’s. Many unstated possibilities.

  26. Heinrich Wiebe
    Nov 24, 2017, 8:58 am

    Yo Boiseguardian et’all. There’s an app for that

    I’ve got a friend that has plugged the digital meter for HOURS at a time. There’s no limit and no reason to move the car.

    EDITOR NOTE–We question your comment about “no limit.” Many meters have a notice of one or two hour limits on them. At first blush the app seems to encourage violation of the time limit. Worst case it may actually PROVE you overstayed a posted limit.

  27. Speckled Hen
    Nov 29, 2017, 9:30 am

    It’s funny seeing so-called “market-based” conservatives rip on charging a market rate for parking. Just as places like the Village understand the market with regard to their parking, it stands to reason that downtown market for parking rates be adjusted for what the market will bear. That’s a pretty sound decision. If it leads to less usage, then that’s all about basic supply and demand. I’ve yet to see a downtown that is “suffering” due to parking prices. The downtowns that have free parking are often the ones that are having economic struggles and free parking is a last desperate attempt to revive them.

    I lived in Boise in the early 2000s and always found it funny that people groaned about “downtown parking problems.” I never paid for parking downtown because I wasn’t afraid to walk a few blocks. After leaving for 9 years and returning last year I was certain that all my old free parking areas of downtown would be gone given all the growth. To my surprise, I still always find free parking downtown and my old spots are still there. Oftentimes, my walking distance from these spots to my destination of not any longer than having to park on the fringe of the Village, the Mall, or Walmart parking lots on a busy day.

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