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Downtown parking garages see usage grow from last fall, but remain below pre-pandemic level

The utilization of Downtown Boise’s public parking garages is perking up this fall, though it remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Parking garage data provides a proxy for overall activity in the Downtown Boise area.

The Capital City Development Corp. owns or manages six garages clustered in or near the downtown core. The agency provided BoiseDev with data showing how many spaces were in use during the noon hour on Wednesday for the last five weeks – as well as matching data for the same weeks in 2020. The Wednesday noon timeframe is typically the most popular time for the garage system.

From October 13 through November 10, an average of 49% of all parking spaces had a car in them. That compares with 28% for the comparative period last year.

The numbers are still significantly below average utilization in early March of 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact Idaho. On March 10, 2020, the noon average utilization stood at 67%.

Some of the parking facilities are seeing a stronger recovery than others. The garage formerly known as Capital Terrace on Main St. at 8th St. saw utilization boom – from an average of 37% during the fall of 2020 to 71% in 2021. Just up the street, the garage at Main and 9th St. went from 37% usage to 69%. The averages for the two garages is nearing the level seen before the pandemic.

Some garages are showing slower recovery. The facility the agency operates at 11th & Front next to Panera Bread stood at an average of 36% utilization this fall compared to 21%. That compares to 61% right before the pandemic.

The overall averages are impacted by construction work at the garage next to Hotel 43, which was undergoing refurbishment, with many spaces unavailable for parking.

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Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at don@boisedev.com.

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