Change is coming to downtown Boise. For the first time ever, the city of Boise will begin charging people to park in metered spaces.

Beginning 10 a.m. on February 1st, cars can stay in metered spots for up to two hours. Saturday parking will cost $.50 for the first hour, and $1 for the second hour.

Sunday parking will still be free, however the decision to charge on Saturdays has been a hot topic for residents.

"I enjoy going downtown to check out the Farmer's Market on Saturdays and then stay for lunch somewhere on 8th street. It's a tradition for me, but now I'm going to be heading downtown less frequently, because I don't want to worry about filing up the meters," Jessica from Meridian said about the news.

Local residents like Jessica are not alone. There have been public fears that this will lead to an increase in intoxicated drivers, with drivers not wanting to receive tickets on their cars the next day.

"I've always loved that I could find a spot downtown on Friday night, enjoy myself and take an Uber home if I had too much to drink. Most of my friends would be downtown on Saturday anyways, so I'd just swing by to get my car after grabbing brunch," Sean from Boise added.

The concern about an increase in DUIs was heard loud and clear by city officials. In response, they'll allow people who leave their cars overnight to pre-pay their meters for up to two hours, allowing them to have until noon on Saturdays to return and avoid receiving a ticket.

They'll also be limiting the Saturday paid parking locations to those close to the Downtown core where people are more likely to drink and leave their cars. These streets include 5th, 11th, Jefferson and Grove streets.

Mayor David Bieter broke a tie between city council members, moving the paid parking forward. In addition to Saturday parking fees, the measure will also raise parking rates and extend the hours that metered parking is charged. Weeknight parking will now be enforced until 8 p.m. when it was previously 6 p.m. each night.

"This hurts our local businesses more than helping our city gain extra money. I only go downtown on weeknights for happy hour or dinner because it was free after 6 p.m. on weeknights. I'm going to start going to other places that are not in downtown, because I don't want to have to pay an extra $4 to park and have dinner," student Amanda Wilson stressed.

"Money is tight for college kids, and this not only hurts us that like going downtown, but those of us that work downtown and will now have to pay more to get to work every shift," Wilson added.

While the discussion varied on if Downtown businesses will struggle due to this change, several Downtown businesses were in favor of charging on Saturdays. Many owners were fed up with people leaving their cars in front of their stores all day without supporting their business.

While the public's opinion is split on what the changes mean for our city, the community will eagerly await to see what happens.



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