In a never-ending effort to find ways to raise revenue, cities continue to look at cameras in new and different ways.
First there were red light cameras to catch us when we pushed a little too hard to beat that traffic light. Then came speed cameras to catch us when we were in too much of a hurry and ignored the speed limit.
Now we have parking cameras. That's right, cameras that look for cars that have sat too long in limited-time parking spaces.
Currently, enforcement officers must record license plate numbers and note the time by hand. Later this month, the city of Newton, Mass. will add cameras to its parking enforcement vehicles. Then as officers drive their routes the cameras will record and store license plate information in a computer. As the routes are repeated, the system sounds an alert when it detects a car that has been parked too long in the same spot.
The city purchased three systems for $50,000. City officials estimate they could double the number of parking violations issued each year and significantly increase the $1.8 million in fines collected annually.
Newton’s parking enforcement officials seem pleased with the idea of the systems. Not surprisingly, reactions from Newtown residents haven’t been as upbeat.
— PSW staff