In one of my recent blog posts, I asked questions about the overhead camera at 37th Avenue and Balboa that was connected to a generator and taking-up a metered parking space.
After having no luck with the police on it, I e-mailed Paul Rose, Media Relations Manager on Friday, June 8th for some help. Here's what he said yesterday afternoon:
The survey is a test of one vendor’s parking sensor technology. The SFMTA currently uses in-ground parking sensors for the SFpark program, and is evaluating multiple vendors of this emerging technology. This particular approach utilizes a pole-mounted camera sensor to detect whether or not spaces are vacant or occupied. The camera captures a very low-resolution image of each parking space every few minutes. A processing device detects the shape of objects in the space, and determines if a vehicle is present. The parking data is sent to SFMTA for processing via an XML file. No personal information is captured. The technology automatically deletes the original image once parking data is extracted. The SFMTA is testing this vendor’s technology in multiple locations of the City. The camera will be in each location for two weeks.
Although this is a creative way to obtain parking statistics, I hope the SFMTA will put some signage explaining to residents and neighbors what the camera is there for. It's definitely not to catch crimes or incidents, it's just to survey parking.