University Park's All-Seeing Automated Parking Enforcement SUV Is Terrifying

Categories: Transportation

UPParkingEnforcement.jpg
Reddit
University Park's old system of parking enforcement relied on humans and was, therefore, fallible. In un-metered, high-traffic areas like Snider Plaza and the Miracle Mile on Lovers Lane, an officer would mark car tires with chalk so it was easy to tell which ones had exceeded the two-hour parking limit. As city spokesman Steve Mace explained in an email this morning, that approach wasn't terribly effective. "Vehicle owners were erasing the chalk marks or 're-parking' the vehicles to hide the chalk mark."

And so, in 2010, the city purchased the vehicle you see above, which can best be described as the T-1000 of meter maids. It has four cameras on the back and at least two more on the front, all casting their cold, unblinking gaze upon you and your vehicle. It's a wonderful machine, Mace writes, that "has drawn praise from merchants and customers alike."

Now, when the parking enforcement officer makes a pass of a shopping area, the cameras note which vehicles are parked in which slots. When the parking enforcement officer makes a second pass the software pings if a vehicle has exceeded the posted time for that slot. After the license tag is matched, a citation can be issued on the spot....[A] number of cities across the country use this type of software/camera system. Since implementation, the system has helped reduce overtime parking.

Redditors don't seem so thrilled. "This is by far the most evil, perverse, inhumane invention ever created," one writes, summarizing the feelings of most humans. Of course, it's probably wise to keep such thoughts to oneself. UP's parking machine never blinks and never forgets.

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65 comments
fracquestions
fracquestions

Most of those who would get nailed by the UP "meter maid" are UP residents. They can afford the fines, and they probably consider it just another cost of doing business locally, so who cares?

Obummer
Obummer

Yo wherez myz slice of da taxes?

Rick Mitchell
Rick Mitchell

When I worked at the Minyard store at Douglas and Lovers Lane back in the mid 60's they had a cop on a three wheeled Harley that would drive through putting a white chalk mark on car tires and then come back in two hours and ticket the ones that were still there.

Corey Wofford
Corey Wofford

You people have know idea how hard it is to park a suburban while dragging around two 50 pound vaginal turds in between hair appointments and luncheons.

Marion Marlow
Marion Marlow

extreme? NO. I can not tell you how many times I have had to drive around Snider Plaza for 5 whole minutes before finding a spot that is WAY to far from the dog manicurist I take Fifi too.

AngusWynne
AngusWynne

Old-fashioned but very effective tool. Two years ago, I got popped and booted at the Records Building downtown in a sweep that matched plates to outstanding tix I had forgotten about. The officer was using front- and rear-mounted video cameras which scanned and flagged plates which matched unpaid parking violations and warrants. She and her two fellow female officers were so courteous that when I approached them as they completed the boot, they gave me a ride to a little downtown payment center, waited on me to pay up, drove me back to my car and removed the boot. It's about time that our UP neighbors came up with a plan to de-congest the SMU area, although I'd be surprised if they can match the Dallas officers' stellar performances.

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

How do the police have the right to vandalize private property?

mfedasz
mfedasz

I think this a great idea.  If you're not breaking the rules, why be upset?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

I'm surprised the UP Parking Enforcement hasn't bought a drone fitted with all this crap and flying around their very small city 24/7 taking constant photos of all the cars rather than having a real person drive that vehicle around all day....

wait, they wouldn't be reading this blog, would they?

Russ Coffman
Russ Coffman

Why would anyone take away the right of someone else to park there? Kind of small-minded and selfish. Don't let scofflaws run your life! Man up!

Montemalone
Montemalone topcommenter

I hope they get lots of tickets. Those NIMBYers rejected a developer who wanted to build a parking garage to service Snyder Plaza. Now they can pay the fines instead.

JustAnOpinion007
JustAnOpinion007

The people that complain about the "police state" are more than likely the people violating the 2-hr parking limit.  There is a posted law/limit.  You exceed it and you get caught, you get fined.  Big deal.  Just be aware of your time and you won't have to worry or just be a Billy Bada$$ and break the law, get a ticket, complain, and then pay the ticket.  We all take chances.  Ever pushed the dial to 62 MPH in a 60 MPH speed limit?  Woo!  Good thing I didn't get caught!  Personally, the people violating the 2-hr limit don't bother me (seeing as how the heck will I know they're over their limit unless I've got no life and am watching the car(s)).  I despise the people that park in the handicap or any place that's not an official parking space because they are "just running in for a quick second."  And just because you are sitting in the car while your spouse, significant other, or child runs in, doesn't make it any more legal or make you look any less stupid!  I always like to give my evilest evil eye as I walk by and make sure they see it.  That'll teach 'em!

ruddski
ruddski

Relax, it's just parking enforcement folks.

amuse2
amuse2

I have a question. So if you are parked in a spot, captured by the camera, pull out and drive around the block, repark in the same spot, and are captured by the camera AGAIN - do you get a ticket? It would seem that by leaving the spot for a period of time you legally 're-start' the clock. How does the camera know you didn't restart the clock? With the chalk you clearly left and returned and don't get a ticket. Just wondering...

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

So some of you are obviously ok with breaking the laws of Parking. How about further on up the law ladder? You taking things from work? Maybe extortion? I really don't see what the issue is. If you park somewhere that says you have two hours, you have two hours. Once that time is up you should be gone on down the road or park somewhere else. It really is that simple. I will never get a ticket from any such officer because I follow the law. 

mcdallas
mcdallas

"This is by far the most evil, perverse, inhumane invention ever created," said someone not familiar with the DO commenting system.

ruddski
ruddski

Chalk on my Dunlops messes up the balance.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

@mfedasz I am left absolutely stupefied that people articulate this opinion without trying to be sarcastic.

straightener
straightener

@mavdog There's a veritable army of late model cop SUVs patrolling every other street in 5 minute intervals.   I drove by a full service gas station in the Park Cities on my way to work this morning and a Highland Park cop was parked in the full service lane with the hood up and a Starbucks in his hand.   I expected a military parade to cross the street at any moment.   Glad I live in Lakewood.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@JustAnOpinion007 If you only doing 62 in a 60 you better have your ass out of the left lane and not getting ran over

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@amuse2 Yes - if you leave and come back, you'll not be treated as if you had been there all along.

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@amuse2 Two hour limit applies to parking in that spot. Moving for 30 seconds does not reset the clock. Most people were doing this and no one else could get the spot. I once saw a waiter who took our order, didn't even turn it in but instead proceeded to go move his motorcycle back and fourth till the chalk mark was hidden, and then come back and had to ask us again what we wanted. Still got the order wrong. Anyway, people who cry about big brother are the ones who just want to get away with breaking a law. Maybe they don't agree with the law or think it is stupid or whatever. But the fact remains that the law is the law and law enforcement is getting new and inventive ways to enforce it. 

ruddski
ruddski

The position of the chalk mark will have likely changed.

straightener
straightener

@ChangingF8 So you won't mind if the police come in without a warrant and go through your stuff any time they want?   If you're not breaking the law what do you have to fear?   Can I see your credit card receipts?  

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@ruddski Even if the chalk isn't permanent-- how do they justify touching/interfering with someone else's property? "We put a rubber band around your mail box to see if you've checked your mail.. we really need you to support the USPS in it's time of need"

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@straightener @mfedasz Kind of falls flat on this subject. There is nothing private about parking on public roads in a vehicle that is registered with the state. 

But it's a good example of what happens when you allow private property to be registered with the state. 

anon
anon

@ChangingF8 @amuse2 This is idiotic. If you leave a spot, of course the clock resets, unless you literally just back in and back out so no one else can get the spot. If you tell me that you can drive once around the block in Snider Plaza and definitely get your spot back, I will laugh in your face. 

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@straightener How is that linked to Parking Fees? I am not sure where you are going here. If I am breaking the law, i.e. parking in a spot where I have surpassed the parking time limit, and they give me a ticket they have proof that I broke the law before giving me a ticket. So your analogy doesn't even fit here.

ChangingF8
ChangingF8

@BKC001 Ok so your mom follows the law? Good for her. It is a good way to keep out of jail and out of trouble. I suggest if you are not comfortable with the laws that you create your own society free of them, see how long that lasts you eh?

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

@StupidHippies @ruddski It was all explained to you in elementary school.  If you still don't get it - there's nothing anyone can do to help you.

cawnlu
cawnlu

Because it is parked on a public street. It's pretty simple.

cawnlu
cawnlu

Red light cameras-OK.

DNA extraction for traffic stops-Nope.

 Blood Draws at DWI checkpoints-With probable cause/warrant.

straightener
straightener

@StupidHippies @straightener @mfedasz How about red light cameras?   Are you cool with those?   DNA extraction for traffic stops?  Blood draws at DWI checkpoints?   I'm not making any of these real programs up.

cawnlu
cawnlu

I don't think anyone has recommended that, so what is your point?

straightener
straightener

@JustAnOpinion007 @ScottsMerkin Let's pass a law requiring a cellular device install in all new vehicles that monitors speed and with a GPS will automatically give you a ticket if you go 1 MPH over posted speed.   Sounds great, huh?  

JustAnOpinion007
JustAnOpinion007

@amuse2 @ChangingF8 You'd probably be splitting hairs with the parking enforcement unless you took pictures of before and after with a time stamp, metadata or maybe...I don't know...

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