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Ada County, Idaho, Highway Commission to Reconsider Boise Parking Sensors

Under the proposed agreement, the county commission will not charge the city to embed the sensors, but does make the city responsible for maintaining them.

by Cynthia Sewell, The Idaho Statesman / February 24, 2015

(Tribune News Service) -- An 18-month impasse between Ada County Highway District and the city of Boise over parking meter vehicle-detection sensors may be headed to a resolution, with the new commissioners saying they want to improve ACHD's and Boise's often-quarrelsome relationship.

The city plans to replace most of its downtown parking meters with "smart" versions, which are easily programmed and accept credit and debit cards. A hockey puck-shaped sensor embedded in the pavement at each parking space is wirelessly paired with the meter. The sensor sends a signal whenever a vehicle enters or exits a space; resets the meter when a car pulls away, removing any paid-but-unused time; and prevents refeeding the meter beyond the maximum time and pushing the free 20-minute button more than once.

The city purchased nearly 200 of the sensors and installed nearly 70 in the roadway before an ACHD inspector stopped the work in June 2013 because the city did not have ACHD permission.

Under state law, nearly all Downtown Boise streets are ACHD's responsibility. The city has control of the sidewalks, parking meters and parking revenues.

The city said it did not need permission from ACHD; the highway district disagreed. The result was a stalemate -- in August 2013, ACHD voted 3-2 to reject an agreement with the city allowing the sensors.

In January, new ACHD Commissioners Kent Goldthorpe and Paul Woods took office. The city then asked ACHD to reconsider the agreement it rejected 18 months ago, which the five-member commission will do Wednesday.

Under the proposed agreement, ACHD will not charge the city to embed the sensors, but does make the city responsible for maintaining the sensors, including removing and reinstalling them when ACHD repairs or resurfaces the roadway.

©2015 The Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC

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