How sensors would tell Elgin cops if you stay too long in a parking spot

 
 
Updated 12/21/2018 5:14 PM
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  • Elgin plans to install sensors in 225 parking spaces downtown so officers can remotely monitor and enforce parking restrictions.

      Elgin plans to install sensors in 225 parking spaces downtown so officers can remotely monitor and enforce parking restrictions. Rick West | Staff Photographer

Citing an increase in vehicles parked downtown, Elgin officials plan to install sensors on 225 parking spots that will remotely alert officers when someone stays longer than the allotted time.

City council members gave the initial OK Wednesday to a lease agreement with California-based One Sense LLC for the "smart parking management platform" called ParkAware.

Sensors would be installed along parking spaces that have 30-minute and two-hour limits from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. along Chicago Street, Douglas Avenue, Division Street, DuPage Street, South Grove Avenue, Highland Avenue, Spring Street and North State Street.

The platform includes a smartphone app that gives parking control officers information about timed parking availability and enforcement alerts based on GPS positioning and geofencing, police Cmdr. Jim Bisceglie said.

Parking control officers monitor downtown for about four hours a day. The lease with OneSense amounts to $110,700 over five years, which is cheaper than hiring more people to monitor parking spaces during all enforceable hours, City Manager Rick Kozal said.

City council members said they liked the plan.

"Everybody is going to be as happy as can be," Councilman Terry Gavin said.

"Except the people that will be getting the tickets," Mayor David Kaptain said.

Final approval by the city council is expected at the next meeting Jan. 9. The installation of the platform -- which is not affected by rain or snow -- would take place based on the company's schedule, and the lease agreement allows for technology upgrades as they become available, Bisceglie said.

City data shows downtown parking complaints from residents and business owners have increased while citations have dropped in the past three years. The city received 165 complaints and issued 801 parking citations in 2015, followed by 202 complaints and 708 parking citations in 2016, 223 complaints and 460 parking citations in 2017, and 352 complaints and 499 parking citations this year.

Bisceglie said the drop in citations stems from officers tending to traffic issues as well as personnel shortages due to injuries and attrition.

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