It’s tough to land a monthly pass at one of Boise’s Downtown parking garages. The agency that owns most of the garages is about to make it easier, without building a single new garage.
Starting mid-January, Capital City Development Corp. expects to sell 600 to 700 monthly parking passes for garage spaces it owns or manages. Many of them will be for garage spaces CCDC is buying or leasing from private developers — a first for the agency.
That would do away with a list of about 600 people waiting their turn for a monthly pass in one of CCDC’s six garages. It should relieve some of the pressure on Downtown parking — a growing problem in a city whose urban core has become a more popular destination for workers and visitors in recent years.
“Anyone who wants a parking space in our parking system can have one,” Executive Director John Brunelle said Thursday.
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A new garage under construction on the southwest corner of 11th and Front streets will add most of the new spaces to CCDC’s portfolio. Developer Gardner Co. is building the garage as part of its Pioneer Crossing project, which will include a hotel, restaurant and office building between 11th, 13th, Front and Myrtle streets.
CCDC, Boise’s urban renewal agency, is buying 250 of the 829 total spaces in the Pioneer Crossing garage. The agency is paying $5 million — $20,000 per space, on the low end of covered parking costs — for its portion of the garage.
The last garage CCDC built was in 2006: the 343-space structure next to the Hampton Inn and Suites on the northwest corner of Capitol Boulevard and Myrtle Street. The agency likely won’t build another one for a while, Brunelle said.
CCDC now prefers to buy or lease spaces in private projects, he said. That costs less — an important consideration when dealing with a building type some suggest will be obsolete in the next few decades.
“We don’t have the entire burden on us to build a nonsustainable, unprofitable parking garage,” Brunelle said.
CCDC will manage the entire Pioneer Crossing garage the same way it manages the rest of its Downtown garages, said Max Clark, the agency’s director of parking and mobility. Once the hotel is open, the garage will have about 125 spaces set aside for guests during the evenings and nights, he said. Other than that, the garage will be open to the public.
Gardner will collect about 70 percent of the garage’s revenue, corresponding with its ownership stake, Clark said.
At $100 per month, the passes will be the cheapest CCDC offers. They’ll open to the public Feb. 1, Clark said. After price increases go into effect the same day, monthly parking in other Downtown garages will cost $140 or $175.
Also happening Feb. 1: The city of Boise’s rates for on-street metered spots will increase, and the city will charge for metered parking until 8 p.m. instead of 6 p.m. on weekdays. Boise also will start charging to park in metered spots on Saturdays for the first time ever.
Brunelle said his agency has worked closely with the city recently to orchestrate policies that encourage efficient use of both on-street and garage parking for the benefit of Downtown business owners, workers and customers.
’LIKE A CHURCH’
In addition to the Pioneer Crossing space, CCDC is buying 89 spots in a 189-space garage at the base of The Fowler, a 159-unit apartment building on the northwest corner of Myrtle and 5th streets in Boise’s Central Addition. The agency will sell only a few standard monthly passes in that garage, executive director John Brunelle said.
A few dozen more — the exact number isn’t set — will be sold as part of a CCDC initiative to offer monthly passes that allow parking only at specific times or on specific days, but at a reduced price. A pass to park during daytime hours on weekdays will cost $160 instead of $175 for a 24/7 pass. A monthly pass for nights and weekends will cost $125.
This is the first time CCDC has offered monthly passes with restricted hours and days. It’s part of a broader effort to use the agency’s parking more efficiently. Downtown employees with normal work schedules may prefer the daytime-weekday pass, because that’s when they need places to leave their cars. Service employees or people who live Downtown could take advantage of the nighttime-weekend pass.
That way, parking spaces don’t sit empty for the majority of most days. If the program is successful, CCDC could phase it in at other Downtown garages.
“It’s like a church parking lot,” Clark said. “The church uses it on Sunday. Everybody else uses it every other day of the week.”