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City Council to vote on agreement for smart loading zones | #citycouncil


As people increasingly rely on delivery drivers and ride-share services, the city of Omaha says it’s time to rethink the curb. “The curb is no longer just for parking cars,” said Ken Smith, Omaha’s parking and mobility manager. “With the proliferation of all these delivery services, Ubers, Lyfts, we really need to find a way for those to access the curb safely.” It’s a common sight in certain parts of the city: vehicles parked in lanes of traffic, dropping off deliveries or picking up ride-share passengers. Smith said they want to help clear lanes of traffic and get these drivers to get to the curb. The City Council heard public comment Tuesday on an agreement with the company Automotus to create “smart loading zones,” where cameras can capture license plates and users are billed. “If they’re not registered with us already, we will send them a letter explaining,” Smith said. While plenty of drivers end up parking in the street to do their jobs, Smith said there are many loading zones around town. Right now, individual businesses register them and pay the city. Smith said these smart loading zones would allow for use by many different companies. “I can think of one location, just within an intersection, there were 12 loading zones there. If we can combine that down to two or three loading zones, we open up 9-10 other parking spots,” Smith said. Video from Automotus shows how the cameras can capture information, but Vice President and General Manager Armen Kazaryan said privacy is a priority. He said the cameras only capture the identified traffic and curb activity; they’re not looking for speeding, for example. “Specifically metadata, so we don’t capture any images or anything like that. So we extract the metadata from it. And that’s to inform and make smarter policies,” he said. As for license plate captures, Kazaryan said it’s about billing. “All the faces, any personally identifiable information gets blurred out. We don’t store any images. We don’t store any videos,” he said. Kazaryan says their technology can identify drivers who are not following certain rules just outside the loading zone — such as double parking — and send that to the city. Smith says right now, they want to work with drivers though. “I think our goal is compliance, not necessarily citing individuals,” Smith said. “We want to just provide them the availability to get to the curb.”The City Council should vote on the pilot agreement and corresponding city code changes later this month.

As people increasingly rely on delivery drivers and ride-share services, the city of Omaha says it’s time to rethink the curb.

“The curb is no longer just for parking cars,” said Ken Smith, Omaha’s parking and mobility manager. “With the proliferation of all these delivery services, Ubers, Lyfts, we really need to find a way for those to access the curb safely.”

It’s a common sight in certain parts of the city: vehicles parked in lanes of traffic, dropping off deliveries or picking up ride-share passengers.

Smith said they want to help clear lanes of traffic and get these drivers to get to the curb.

The City Council heard public comment Tuesday on an agreement with the company Automotus to create “smart loading zones,” where cameras can capture license plates and users are billed.

“If they’re not registered with us already, we will send them a letter explaining,” Smith said.

While plenty of drivers end up parking in the street to do their jobs, Smith said there are many loading zones around town. Right now, individual businesses register them and pay the city.

Smith said these smart loading zones would allow for use by many different companies.

“I can think of one location, just within an intersection, there were 12 loading zones there. If we can combine that down to two or three loading zones, we open up 9-10 other parking spots,” Smith said.

Video from Automotus shows how the cameras can capture information, but Vice President and General Manager Armen Kazaryan said privacy is a priority.

He said the cameras only capture the identified traffic and curb activity; they’re not looking for speeding, for example.

“Specifically metadata, so we don’t capture any images or anything like that. So we extract the metadata from it. And that’s to inform and make smarter policies,” he said.

As for license plate captures, Kazaryan said it’s about billing.

“All the faces, any personally identifiable information gets blurred out. We don’t store any images. We don’t store any videos,” he said.

Kazaryan says their technology can identify drivers who are not following certain rules just outside the loading zone — such as double parking — and send that to the city.

Smith says right now, they want to work with drivers though.

“I think our goal is compliance, not necessarily citing individuals,” Smith said. “We want to just provide them the availability to get to the curb.”

The City Council should vote on the pilot agreement and corresponding city code changes later this month.


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