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SMPD to use license plate recognition for parking enforcement

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The city of San Marcos will begin using license plate recognition technology to help manage downtown parking.

The city contracted with NuPark, a firm based in Cedar Park, to provide the technology.

According to the press release from the city, “The company will provide the city a comprehensive cloud-based parking management system fully integrated with enforcement, citation and permit functionalities. The mobile license plate recognition enforcement allows the City to automate the process with more accuracy and efficiency.”

Kevin Burke, economic development and downtown administrator, said  the city would utilize three parking-enforcement vehicles.

As the vehicle moves through downtown, the system takes pictures of license plates and keeps a clock on the vehicle to ensure the parking restriction is followed.

The release states that, “The LPR captures two photos: (1) a context photo of the vehicle and its immediate surroundings and (2) a photo of the license plate.”

However, the photos taken are not high enough of a resolution that would allow the identification occupants if they are present.

The system also records global positioning system coordinates and date/time information of the observation.

“Parking enforcement will regularly monitor all areas with time-limited parking restrictions. If a vehicle remains parked in the same location in excess of the posted time limit, the system will notify the officer and a citation may be issued,” stated the release.

Driver and owner information will not be stored on the system. The system is designed only to enforce parking restrictions and does not scan for warrants.

Preparations for the system are being implemented now with full implementation coming prior to March.

Downtown and time-restricted parking usually ranges from one to two hours and zone specific information is posted on nearby signs.

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