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Boise parking meters will keep the 20-minute button

The orange stickers on these meters mean the cost to park in front of them is $1.50 for the first hour and $2.50 for the second hour.
The orange stickers on these meters mean the cost to park in front of them is $1.50 for the first hour and $2.50 for the second hour.

Every time I write a story about metered parking rates in Boise, I get the same question: Will we still get 20 free minutes?

Every time, the answer has been yes. But people still worry. It’s almost like they see the 20-minute button as public domain, like the Boise River or Capitol Boulevard’s view of the Statehouse and Foothills.

I forgot to add this detail in Monday’s story on the future rate structure at metered parking spots. I heard about it from a few people, some of them in our own newsroom. My bad.

A quick call to Craig Croner, Boise’s administrative services manager, confirmed that the 20-minute button is here to stay, even when rates change June 1.

“That’ll never go away, I think,” Croner said.

Croner said Boise might be the only city that offers 20 minutes of free parking at its metered spots. He said vendors have to specially program Boise’s meters to make it possible.

Speaking of Downtown parking meters, there’s been some confusion about whether meters in the Downtown core, which have orange stickers reading “2-hour max,” allow two-hour stays yet. The answer is yes — if you pay through the app Parkmobile, Croner said.

But a problem emerges for people loading coins into the meters. The meters take your money, but time expires after an hour. That could be pretty frustrating.

Croner said the discrepancy stems from a decision the city made to switch all of its meters over to the new rate structure at the same time — June 1 — instead of a few at a time. In order to prepare for that day, Boise’s crews have been putting new stickers on the meters to show which rate zone they’re in. Meanwhile, people are parking in those spots and some of them are trying to park for more than the one-hour maximum stay that’s in place until June 1.

Croner said the city is working with people who get tickets because of this problem. He said parking experts can verify how much money a person put into the meter in order to determine if the ticket should be canceled.

If you run into this problem, call Boise’s administrative services at (208) 972-8150.

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