It is poised to be part of Rehoboth Beach’s most efficient parking enforcement system ever. Dubbed “R-101,” the leased Ford Escape SE is outfitted with dual license plate recognition (LPR) cameras, GPS, wifi/cellular connectivity, plenty of computer technology and a distinctive emergency lighting package.
A two-employee crew will operate the car to enforce parking in areas where the city has installed one of the 46 new T2 Systems Luke parking kiosks, what city officials are calling part of a pilot project. The previous meters at the locations where the new parking kiosks are now installed, were leased. That lease expired last year and the city was able to replace them with new LPR-ready technology this year. This includes Delaware, Wilmington, Baltimore, Maryland avenues as well as 1st Street — but not Rehoboth Avenue. The Avenue will continue to be patrolled by ticket writers on foot.
Evan Miller, projects coordinator, has been spearheading the rollout of these new meters and was test-driving R-101 this past weekend. Here he is on 1st Street and Baltimore Avenue this past Saturday, with a member of the Parking Department. Miller said the primary goals of the new system is to improve efficiency and make the streets more attractive by eliminating individual parking meters and associated “pole clutter.”
Visitors parking in one of these areas should pay for parking by entering their license plate at a parking kiosk within that block. Do not, for example, park in the ocean block of Maryland Avenue and pay at a kiosk on 1st Street or in the second block. Save your receipt in case you receive a ticket for some reason. Some rates and enforcement times have changed. See the city’s website for info.
The city is once again requiring visitors to park head-in in perpendicular and angled parking spots so all license plates can be scanned from the rear. Warning tickets are being issued to people who continue to back-in to parking spots.
The system will eventually have the ability to search for license plates that have been placed on a “hot list” entered by the city. Miller says the police will automatically be notified of the location of any matches without alerting parking personnel to comply with Delaware Criminal Justice Information System (DELJIS) policies.
Sharon Lynn, city manager, said Sunday that the “new meters are functioning as expected. We are actually issuing tickets but also warnings. With the license plate recognition (LPR) there’s a learning curve for both enforcement staff and the public. The goal is to be more efficient and friendlier for the public to use,” she added.
Lynn says this is all part of a pilot project. “We will monitor progress throughout the summer season,” she added, noting that “The weekend went well, but as stated, there’s a learning curve for all. Fortunately the weekend is a start and now we have a few weeks to perfect our queries and training practices until the high season begins later in June.” Citations, she said, are being issued but with a great deal of leniency.