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As Development Booms in Downtown Boise, Easy Parking Gets Tougher

The influx of new workers and residents in Downtown Boise has lead to a parking crunch, raising parking rates and leaving city officials searching for alternative solutions.
March 8, 2017, 11am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Boise Metro Chamber

The shortage of parking in Downtown Boise is what the Idaho Statesman describes as a "good problem." The development boom, following the recession of 2008, has lead to an uptick in new workers that has so far overwhelmed the available downtown parking garages, creating an increase in parking rates and forcing workers to walk an extra few blocks from their parking space to their office. Sven Berg reports that Capital City Development Corporation (CCDC), whose goal is to spur urban renewal in the downtown area, has invested in acquiring spaces in parking garages to increase the supply for downtown businesses. However, the construction of new garages to meet the increased demand may be a ways off given the high costs to build new facilities.

In response, CCDC and city officials are focusing on freeing up parking by getting people out of their cars and into transit or onto bikes.

People who do business Downtown, as well those who plan its future, say the best answer lies in a quiver of partial solutions. Besides more car slots, they say, Downtown Boise needs to offer better alternatives to driving.

In the short term, that means adding park-and-ride systems. One initiative is already underway.

Berg reports that longer term solutions may focus on an improved bicycle network, and more buses. He notes that Boiseans, who have argued over transit for years, may have to "bite the bullet" on a light-rail system that currently has a $111 million price tag.

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Published on Saturday, February 18, 2017 in Idaho Statesman
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