The Boise City Council sped through its meeting agenda to begin a public hearing on a proposal to increase the cost of parking at metered spots Downtown.
City Council members peppered administrative services manager Craig Croner with questions about why the city should raise metered parking rates and enact a pilot program that would charge for parking between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday instead of the current enforcement period of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Councilman Ben Quintana asked if it would be possible to use new meters and monitoring technology to track metered parking use without changing fees and hours of enforcement. Croner said that would be possible.
Councilwoman Elaine Clegg asked if the city could change fees only within the pilot program's boundaries - between Jefferson, Myrtle, 5th and 10th streets. Croner said that's also doable.
Croner said the proposed rates are in line with those in Boise's peer cities, such as Reno, Nevada.
After Croner's presentation, Council members began hearing comments from the public.
A minister for St. Michael's Cathedral - located just north of the Capitol - worried that increasing the cost of parking will discourage people from visiting Downtown.
Karen Sander, executive director of the Downtown Business Association, backed up Croner's claimer that Downtown merchants want to see more parking turnover. Sander cautioned, however, that increasing fees could weaken the Downtown business community's ability to compete with malls and businesses in other areas of the Treasure Valley.
"Right now the perception is, ‘I’m just going to be paying more,'" Sander said.
We'll be updating this item as the public hearing unfolds with comments by city officials, businesspeople and whoever else speaks.