After a tie-breaking vote from Mayor Dave Bieter, Boise City Council is moving ahead with proposed parking changes downtown.
Early risers could avoid a possible Saturday parking fee, but starting at 10 a.m., meters in the main downtown Boise core will be running until 6 p.m. Council was split on the matter throughout the hearing, as were business owners.
Kasey Allen, who co-owns The STIL ice cream shop, says parking spots that fill up and stay full during business hours mean bigger business for him.
"I don’t necessarily see that to be a problem. I don’t know why we're kind of demonizing [high occupancy]," Allen says. "Occupancy is a great thing for people like me who rely on people coming downtown for our livelihood."
Other retailers downtown argue their customers avoid shopping there because of inconvenient parking.
Jeff Jacobs owns Foot Dynamics, a shoe store and orthotics lab on West Main Street. He moved downtown nine years ago and says parking spots in front of his store are already taken by the time he opens at 10 a.m. Saturday mornings.
"Friday night in Boise shouldn't be binge night and to penalize my business because we want to make parking available for people who get drunk and can't come to collect their cars in the morning just doesn't make sense to me," Jacobs says.
Councilman Ben Quintana hesitantly supported the decision to enact Saturday parking enforcement after 10 a.m., but also required the city to review the move in six months.
“It’s not, I don’t think, the perfect solution, but I think it’s one step forward without going too far too fast and I don’t want to do nothing,” Quintana says.
Weekday parking in the downtown core would also be extended under the proposal to 8 p.m.
Fees for meters would go up between 25 cents and 75 cents an hour, depending on where you park, Monday through Saturday. Council must give it final approval next week.
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