Pardon the bad pun, in honor of this Earth Day season.
The other day at the Downtown Boise Association annual meeting, DBA director Karen Sander noted with satisfaction that the visitor count for the downtown public parking lots jumped from 657,160 customers in 2005 to 844,762 in 2006. Of course, this means more people are shopping, dining, and recreating downtown.
But if parking is up by roughly a quarter, that means traffic is, too. Anyone who has seen - or experienced - the three-block-line behind the 9th Street parking garage entrance at BoDo understands this all too well.
The DBA wants more and better transit, but I don't see downtown doing as much as it could to promote or augment use of the bus system we already have, other than the well-used BSU football shuttle it offers on game days in the fall. With or without the help of Valley Ride, Downtown Boise ought to be looking at park-and-ride (or walk) lots on the fringes of downtown, paired with a circulator shuttle bus or trolley for those unable to walk; merchant discounts for people who show their bus pass; and much higher parking rates, at least during the day when buses are available.
There's a lot going on downtown during the day this Saturday, from the re-opening of the Capital City Public Market to Earth Day festivities at Julia Davis Park. If you hear of friends planning trips downtown this weekend, why not suggest that they give the bus a try?