BOISE -- Ada County Highway District Commissioners voted 3-2 Wednesday against entering into an agreement with the city of Boise on new parking sensors. But, the city doesn't consider the matter closed, and a spokesman says a lawsuit is a possibility.
Those sensors detect whenever a car enters or exits a space - to limit how long you can park there. The idea is to push more long-term parkers to the garages, freeing up more on-street parking. But now their installation has been halted.
Last month, the city of Boise got permission from ACHD to install those new parking sensors. Although at the time, the city had already installed 68 in the street, along with 95 new electronic meters that take credit and debit cards.
Karen Sander, Executive Director of the Downtown Boise Association says businesses are in favor of the technology upgrade, I think having electronic meters is a huge positive for us. The technology that's on the street right now is from the 50s.
But Wednesday night, ACHD Commissioner Rebecca Arnold changed her vote when she found out the sensors could possibly be put in the meter poles without cutting into the road and increasing the chance for a pothole to form.
The ultimate concern of the commission was, 'Why do we want to have up to 800 more opportunities for potholes downtown?' said ACHDspokesman Craig Quintana.
So now, ACHD wants the sensors removed that are already in the road, which is their jurisdiction. The law is black and white, said Quintana. It's state law and it reserves the right-of-way for ACHD.
City leaders haven't said they'll do that. City spokesman Adam Park says they didn't even have to include ACHD at all since this is a Boise parking issue. The city has contended that we have the right to install these, but we thought it made sense, that it would be good government for the two agencies to work together on an agreement on how the new technology would be used.
Boise is still deciding exactly how to move forward, but Park says they may bring a lawsuit against ACHD. That is one of the possibilities. We'll just have to see how the mayor and council would like to proceed.
I don't think taxpayers like to see government agencies suing each other, said Quintana. We can't advise them on their legal strategy. It's just, if there are other alternatives, that would seem to be a shame.
As far as mounting the sensors in the poles of the meters, the city says it's still too unproven, considering it's only being done in a pilot program elsewhere in the U.S..
The city can ask for reconsideration of the plan, but there's no indication that there would be a different decision from ACHD.
Also, the city has pushed any possible increase of parking meter rates or hours of enforcement to early next year.