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University Park's All-Seeing Automated Parking Enforcement SUV Is Terrifying

University Park's old system of parking enforcement relied on humans and was, therefore, fallible. In un-metered, high-traffic areas like Snider Plaza and the Miracle Mile on Lovers Lane, an officer would mark car tires with chalk so it was easy to tell which ones had exceeded the two-hour parking limit. As city spokesman Steve Mace explained in an email this morning, that approach wasn't terribly effective. "Vehicle owners were erasing the chalk marks or 're-parking' the vehicles to hide the chalk mark."

And so, in 2010, the city purchased the vehicle you see above, which can best be described as the T-1000 of meter maids. It has four cameras on the back and at least two more on the front, all casting their cold, unblinking gaze upon you and your vehicle. It's a wonderful machine, Mace writes, that "has drawn praise from merchants and customers alike."

Now, when the parking enforcement officer makes a pass of a shopping area, the cameras note which vehicles are parked in which slots. When the parking enforcement officer makes a second pass the software pings if a vehicle has exceeded the posted time for that slot. After the license tag is matched, a citation can be issued on the spot....[A] number of cities across the country use this type of software/camera system. Since implementation, the system has helped reduce overtime parking.

Redditors don't seem so thrilled. "This is by far the most evil, perverse, inhumane invention ever created," one writes, summarizing the feelings of most humans. Of course, it's probably wise to keep such thoughts to oneself. UP's parking machine never blinks and never forgets.


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