City Government

Semi-Auto Parking Detective

Following up on a reader’s query: “Cars with Boise City logos seen with multiple cameras on the front and rear. What are they for and what city program is it a part of? How much does it cost us?”

The GUARDIAN learned that Boise’s parking Czar has come up with yet another way to monetize the city streets and discourage parking scofflaws.

Here’s what we got from City Councilor Scot Ludwig: “there is one car (Prius) that is a City of Boise vehicle that has a camera in front and back. This vehicle was already in the Boise fleet and was repurposed for time enforcement of parking meters. There is only one vehicle with cameras. The camera is used to reduce “personhours” by taking the photos to enforce for example two hour parking limits. This vehicle replaces the individual enforcement personnel from walking around taking photos and marking tires with chalk. The program reportedly pays for itself with more accurate enforcement.”

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I had words with the parking folks a couple of months ago. That chalk that they use to mark tires is some sort of grease paint or something that does not come off very easy. They also put a sticker on your window telling you to move your car. Twice the parking knucklehead put this rather large sticker, with permanent adhesive, on my windshield obstructing my view, I had to go find a razor blade to remove it so I could drive. Why do they have to do that? Its like a slap in the face on top of the arbitrary parking enforcement. They could use removable sticker that you could simply peel off, but no, they have to be dicks and use the permanent stuff that you need to scrape off, and the tire marker crap. I have nice cars and I dont appreciate the big yellow stripe that has to be scrubbed off. I called to complain and it fell on deaf ears. I feel like printing up my own permanent stickers that say something friendly then go around putting them on city vehicles!

  2. We are living in a Police State advanced well beyond 1984. But this is Idaho, so we are about 20 years behind.

    The possibilities for abuses are huge. I agree with crime prevention, but do not agree with loss of privacy and abuse of power this technology can lead to. It’s the police state you all voted for while cheering for the Clinton-Bush-Obama dynasty. Fools! Soon we will not have license plates. Instead each vehicle will have a RFID chip and remote controls of the vehicle too. For example. If the car is in a 35 mph zone it will not be allowed to travel faster than 35 mph. If weaving too much the car will shutdown, trap you inside, and call DUI police to inspect you.

    One thing they don’t use it for but should is to ticket cars/drivers without insurance coverage. Why not?

  3. We moved to Boise 2 years ago to get away from crap like this, only to find that it was in the middle of a growth boom and turning into a politico-run city just like everywhere else. Our fault yes – we should have done our homework and moved somewhere else.

    We also have to pay to park downtown on the weekends now too.

    Greed ruins everything 🙁

  4. It may pay for itself but I have noticed that our parking nazis are getting fatter from the lack of exercise.

  5. I saw this vehicle at Five Mile and Overland a few weeks ago and wondered about it. Thank you for the post!

    EDITOR NOTE–Not much timed parking in that area either!

  6. Oh not again
    Jan 18, 2018, 7:38 am

    The answer to this is do not go downtown. A 25K car can sit in one place and see limited violations. An employee can do much more. They must hate employees as there are always stories about how to do away with them – parking employees especially.

  7. Lonnie Purvis
    Jan 18, 2018, 8:00 am

    I was eating lunch downtown last week. A table closest to us had 3 people that, apparently, were in charge of downtown parking. One person did the majority of the talking. He used phrases such as “when I moved here 4 years ago…” and followed that up with things like “the fools were allowing people to park for free” and “location, location, location” and “they need to pay if they want to park close to the businesses”, etc.

    He is fairly new to Boise. He is helping to bring about the big city change. While I understand a certain amount of payment is required, I wonder what the outcome will be. I have been here a long time. I remember when downtown almost died when the mall opened. Free parking at the Mall. If they continue to make it difficult then we, the consumers, can start shopping and doing business back in places where it isn’t as difficult. If the same thing happens now as happened in the mid-80’s the businesses and the city will get the hint.
    Sadly I doubt our citizens can mount such a drive.

  8. Kris Mannion
    Jan 18, 2018, 12:34 pm

    If I have a choice of going out for a leisurely dinner downtown, the cost of which is increased substantially by now increasing parking, or going to an equally fine restaurant in the suburbs with accessible and free parking, the choice is a no brainer. I really enjoy cycle spin classes, and while I was looking around for a new facility, I gave the downtown UpCycle venue a chance. Lovely facility and great classes, but ultimately inaccessible parking and paying at the nearest garage was the deciding factor in maintaining my membership at a club with accessible and free parking. Supposedly we want a vibrant downtown, but if it continues to become harder to access, then we will see more and more retailers move to the suburbs and continue to empty our downtown storefronts.

  9. You Can't Handle The Truth
    Jan 18, 2018, 1:21 pm

    While this is a really sick and twisted thing for such a small city to do, I do love the ridiculous comments about how inaccessible parking in downtown Boise is, blah blah blah. Only people who haven’t lived in a real city would say such ridiculous stuff. If you want to eat in the boonies, you wouldn’t think of coming downtown anyway. BTW: paying to park on the weekends is dumb.

  10. So when it’s an extra employee, it’s government waste, but when it’s a cost-effective “pays for itself” program, it’s an Orewellian over-reach?

    If it’s two hour parking, it’s two hour parking – move your car or risk a fine, it’s pretty clear.

  11. I found the experience described by whoever “Shoogi” is to be of concern, so I took the effort to get an explanation from the city as to what triggers this process and why it is used. Here is what I learned:

    “The sticker described is used on vehicles that appear to be abandoned. These are applied by people on the abandoned vehicle team rather than Parking Compliance Officers. They typically respond to complaints from a residents about vehicles that haven’t moved in some days. We apply the 8.25” x 3.5” sticker to the windshield to avoid any potential problems with the vehicle’s paint. The sticker is brightly colored to attract the driver’s attention. We use adhesive because sometimes a notice under a windshield wiper will blow away, and this sticker has important information that we want to be sure the driver sees. The adhesive is water soluble, so water with some dish soap should make it much easier to remove. Our officers typically stick just the top and bottom inch or so, to minimize the amount that needs to be peeled off.”

    The person who replied went on to say, “I will review the procedure with staff, including being conscious of placing the stickers off to the side of the windshield, so they’re not directly blocking the driver’s view. After all, we want the owner to drive vehicle away from its current location.”

    I don’t know the specifics of “Shoogi’s” situation, but this seems like a reasonable, genuine, caring (and informative) reply.

    On a personal note, I understand people venting their frustration and anger. But I also believe that the vast majority of people who work in a public service role are good, honest, hard-working citizens doing the best they can within their abilities – just like you and me.

    In the end, the assumptions we make about people tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies. Assume the worst in others and act upon it, the more likely the outcome will be worse. Assume the best in others and act upon it, the more likely the outcome will be better.

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