Washington D.C. Beware, all you parking meter feeders and restricted zone overtimers. Take heed, you who are weighed down with quarters or hoping the parking enforcement officer is working in a distant neighborhood. The swift and unblinking eye of the mobile parking camera is here.
The D.C. Department of Public Works Public Works has issued several LPR systems that enable parking officers to swing quickly through a neighborhood with infrared cameras produced by Elsag North America and plate hunting software, MES Timing Enforcement (TE) by EZ Tag parent company, Gtechna. The District uses this high-tech solution to spot vehicles that overstay time limits at parking meters and in restricted permit zones.
The city already uses such tools to check for scofflaws, but now it wants to focus, in part, on commuters who occupy downtown parking places intended for shoppers.
"We don't want employee parking" there, department director William O. Howland Jr. said last week. "We want turnover to help business."
The District -- where a search for street parking can have the intensity of a demolition derby -- has about 16,000 parking meters and about 4,100 blocks of residential parking permit zones, according to Karyn LeBlanc, spokeswoman for the D.C. Transportation Department.
Most time limits for meters and permit zones are two hours, she said. And no, it's not okay to pump in more coins every two hours.
The new systems would dramatically increase the efficiency of overtime parking enforcement, Howland said. Currently, officers manually enter data into hand-held computers.
How it Works
One array, mounted on a sport-utility vehicle, has been getting double takes around town in re cent days. The vehicle bristles with four cameras, two lasers and a global positioning dome.
The equipment is typically mounted on vans or SUVs that cruise along a street recording license numbers and car locations. A later sweep turns up cars overstaying the time restrictions in metered or unmetered zones, officials say.