Two grey boxes with cameras pointed at parking spots are drawing some attention in Downtown Bend.
After getting a call from a viewer who described them as “creepy,” we set out to learn more.
According to the City of Bend’s parking manager, they are a new technology that documents how short-term parking spaces are used.
It’s a pilot program to collect data on how long people actually stay parked in 15 and 30-minute spots.
One is stationed in front of the downtown post office and another is in the Mirror Pond parking lot.
“They work in unison with a sensor that’s in the center of the parking space,” said Tobias Marx, parking services division manager with the city. “And when that senses a vehicle coming in, it starts taking a picture – an image of the license plate in the spot every 3 seconds until the vehicle leaves, and then it stops.”
Marx said the machines do not store license plate photos and the data is only for counting and timing vehicles.
In the first two weeks, the city has found 80% of drivers stay less than the time limit – but 7% stayed longer than an hour.