Feud between ACHD, Boise continues over parking sensors

BOISE -- The city of Boise sued the Ada County Highway District on Friday in attempt to legalize the parking sensors it installed without permission.

Fourth District Judge Deborah A. Bail rejected the city's request for a restraining order against ACHD removing the sensors; after the ruling, the District said it would let the devices stay in downtown streets for the immediate future.

ACHD President John Franden said it was unfortunate the city had chosen the path of confrontation instead of cooperation.

"It never should have come to this," Franden said. "The city received a generous offer to place the parking sensors in the streets downtown and for whatever reason does not want to play by the rules. We still hope this can be resolved amicably."

ACHD and the city have been unable to come to terms on an agreement despite numerous meetings and a proposed agreement from the District. The proposal would govern the placement of the devices, as well as how they will be installed and maintained in the future. The same agreement covers other items of mutual interest downtown, such as sidewalk cafes and valet parking.

A statement was released by city of Boise spokesman Adam Park Friday afternoon. "After seeing the premature action yesterday by ACHD to begin removal of the sensors with no prior notice to citizens or businesses, the city felt it was important to ensure no action was taken before the permit application review was complete. With today's announcement by ACHD that the sensors will not be removed for the immediate future, the City has achieved the result it was hoping for."

In mid-2013, the city asked for permission to install 200 sensors, including the 68 that were installed before an ACHD inspector discovered the installation work and shut it down. On Thursday, the City asked for permission to install another 611 sensors across downtown Boise.

For the past 11 months, the city has refused to enter an agreement to regulate the placement of the sensors, saying ACHD does not have full control over the streets in downtown Boise.

While state law reserves the regulation of parking meters to the city, Idaho Code specifically invests "exclusive general supervision and jurisdiction" over county roads to ACHD, which means the city must receive ACHD's permission for the sensors.

The city says putting meters with sensors into downtown will create a better parking environment for users, but critics told ACHD Commissioners last year that the technology is an attempt to increase revenue and urged that permission be denied.


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