Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Budget Meetings: Hour 4

I can't believe this passed. For parking enforcement to have technology this advanced against us regular folks who try to park in the street... It's like they're bringing a nuke to a knife fight. Mark my words: I'm going to war with parking enforcement.

As of 8:30, public comment has ended. After a ten minute recess and pizza shared by the alders, they're on to the capital budget amendments, and the first item on the agenda is already piquing quite a great deal of interest.

Alders Mike Verveer and Robbie Webber co-sponsored an amendment that would allocate an extra $147,000 to a Vehicle Borne Photo Enforcement project that would equip two parking enforcement vehicles. They call them "auto-chalking" devices, but they're much more complicated than that.

It sounds like the system would automatically record the valve-stem position, license plate information and general car description of every vehicle on the street as the patrol moves through the city. Later, when the jeep moves down the same street, it will compare the information it gathered before to the current information, and automatically target vehicles in violation of parking laws.

Police Chief Noble Wray says the system can allow parking enforcers to issue tickets on scene or keep rolling and log the information away to issue a ticket by mail. Remarkably, he says it also recognizes and tags vehicles that have been reported stolen or had Amber Alerts issued for them.

In response to lagging ticket collection revenues, Alder Robbie Webber says it will help make parking enforcement more efficient in their jobs. She says it's easier and more accurate than manually leaning out of the jeeps and chalking tires to see how long cars are left on the street.

"This measure will absolutely pay for itself," Verveer said.

The amendment passed with only a handful of dissenters.