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Boise’s new parking meters stop extra ’free time’

Tue., July 23, 2013, 7:40 a.m.

BOISE — The city of Boise is getting about 200 new parking meters designed to prevent people from parking on someone else’s dime.

The Idaho Statesman reports the city is installing about 200 new meters designed to prevent people from refilling meters or using up paid time left by a previous parker. The meters have sensors that can tell when a car enters or exits the space, and zero out the time when a car pulls away.

City officials say the change isn’t about increasing revenue, but rather about increasing the turnover of prime downtown parking spaces and encouraging long-term parkers to use garages.

Boise installed its first downtown parking meters in 1940, which pulled in more than $22,000 by the end of the year. Today, more than 1,200 meters collecting $1 an hour bring in about $620,000 annually. IPS Group Materials, the manufacturer of the new meters, says that resetting the meter when a car leaves general results in increased revenue of 20 to 40 percent.

The first batch of new meters will be installed around the State Capitol, City Hall and other popular downtown spots. The city plans to replace 811 meters over the next four years. A fee increase may also be in the works: The City Council will hold a public hearing this week on whether the parking fee should increase to $1.50 for the first hour and $3 for the second hour, with a two-hour maximum.

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