Meeting Story: Example

The below is an example of a Meeting Coverage story from a former student – he received an “A-” because of some minor technical errors, which I’ve marked in bold:

New Technology Key to Implementation of New Downtown Parking Regulation

          The Oxford Downtown Parking Advisory Commission discussed new technologies during their Friday morning meeting that will assist in enforcing the new parking regulations on the Square in downtown Oxford. GOOD

Key to enforcing Oxfords new regulations for square parking is LPR or license plate reader technology. Oxford Parking, which has recently begun enforcing a three hour time limit on most square parking, recently equipped a fleet of several vehicles with digital license plate readers.

The LPR system that Oxford has begun using to enforce regulations,* uses two cameras mounted on Park Oxford vehicles to allow parking attendants to keep track of vehicles parked on the square to ensure that no one has parked in a space longer than the maximum three hours. This also allows parking officers to remain in their vehicles while enforcing parking regulations.

Dreher Harris, who has been with the commission for three years said, that while the system may not have reduced labor costs within Park Oxford because of the high cost of the technology, it has reduced the sense of hostility people feel when they see parking attendants on foot.

“I don’t know if we save money, because you have to have equipment, training and new vehicles, but uniformed parking attendants create a kind of hostility that you don’t want your customers to feel,” Harris said.

According to Park Oxford, the system is averaging around an 80% effective rate of correctly recording individual license plates.

“We had the LPR company come out and do an audit on the LPR system and we do have a few small issues,” a representative from Park Oxford told the commission.

“One issue is with the U of M plates. The LPR reader is tending to read the logo as elements of the actual license number. Currently, we’re only correctly reading these particular plates around 45% of the time. These plates account for less than 15% of all of the license plates we’re seeing, so it isn’t an overly serious issue,” the representative said.

Park Oxford, is reluctant to adjust the LPRs any further in an attempt to better read the U of M plates because further adjustments may actually reduce the overall effectiveness of the system.

The new parking regulations on the Oxford square seem to be serving their purpose well. The Park Oxford representative said that their officers have issued 433 tickets last month. Park Oxford has issued on average 400 citations per month since the implementation of the new parking regulations. Park Oxford has also immobilized one vehicle this month for failure to pay citations.

“But that guy has about $2,000 worth of unpaid citations on his record,” The representative said.

The new parking regulations have been deemed a success according to Mike Martindale, a consultant hired by the City to research possible third party managed parking sometime in Oxford’s future.

“This isn’t a money making venture,” Martindale said. “We’re trying to change people’s behavior. We don’t want people abusing downtown parking and so far the regulations are working. Peoples parking behavior has changed, they no longer abuse parking; say parking their car on the square for several days. That’s exactly what we’re looking for from these new regulations.”


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