Streets across downtown Boise have seen new parking meters installed over the last year, sparking a debate between Boise city leaders and Ada County Highway District officials.
The selling feature of the new meters? A high tech system that would eventually be compatible with a smart phone application allowing downtown visitors to find vacant parking spots, check the time remaining on their meter, or add time from a remote location.
The new meters also accept credit card payments and use a metal detector motion sensor that tells the meter to reset after a spot becomes vacant.
That’s where the problem lies with ACHD and Boise city leaders. The metal detector sensor must be installed in the parking spot, under where the car would park- which ACHD says is their jurisdiction.
“The city has told us in writing they don't think they don't think they should have to get a license agreement with ACHD. Well, we control the roads. We're the ones that have the say up or down whether they need the license agreement and that’s essentially what the commission told them in the latest letter," Craig Quintana said with ACHD.
The ACHD sent a letter to Boise leaders giving them two options: either continue installing these sensors while following ACHD’s rules and guidelines, or promptly remove them.
Quintana says the Highway District has control over the roads in downtown Boise, and should have a say in what happens incase road damage occurs or future road construction is planned.
However, Boise city leaders say the roads and sidewalks downtown have always been the public’s right of way, and they’ve never had issues installing parking meters until now.
"We think it's very unfortunate the ACHD has elected to issue this ultimatum and demand that the sensors be removed,” Adam Park said with the Boise mayor’s office. “Ultimately the parking is the purview of the city of Boise."
Park says the city is willing to sign a license agreement with ACHD. “What we aren’t able to agree on is that ACHD is trying to dictate parking policy in the city of Boise in terms of the number of meters we can use, where they can be installed, things like that. That's really just not ACHD's purview at all."
ACHD gave Boise city leaders ten days to make a decision before further action is taken to remove the sensors. Both sides say they hope to reach an agreement soon.