Putting a boot on a car to crack down on illegally parked vehicles could be a thing of the past in at least one city, where parking enforcement officials are considering an alternative mechanism: a windshield lock that makes it impossible for parking violators to see anything, preventing them from driving away
They call it the Barnacle: a large, yellow thing that looks like an unfolded briefcase, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer, which attaches to the windshield with two suction cups, securing it with 750 pounds of force. It can only be removed with a keypad on the device, or wirelessly by parking enforcement.
Drivers in Allentown, PA are now facing the Barnacle treatment if they run afoul of parking regulations as part of a pilot program, and if it proves effective there, the Philadelphia Parking Authority might give it a go in Philly.
“Can’t I just stick my head out the window and drive off?” you might be asking. Sure, but it’s illegal, and not as easy as you might think.
“If you ever actually try to drive that way, it’s physically very difficult,” Kevin Dougherty, president of New York-based Barnacle Parking Enforcement tells The Inquirer. “Cars are designed to keep you in.”
If you do decide you’ll take the risk and make a run for it, the Barnacle has an alarm system that will go off if the device detects movement, or if you try to MacGyver it to do your bidding.
The Barnacle may prove a good option for enforcers, as it doesn’t require them to kneel to attach it — like the boot — and is lighter and faster as well, Dougherty explains.
It’s also more convenient for drivers: they can pay their fine for a violation through a phone call or via an app, and the suction cups will be released wirelessly. The Barnacle can be stowed in a car’s trunk, and must be returned to parking authorities within 24 hours, Dougherty explained.
Allentown’s pilot program will run through at least next year before the city commits to buying more Barnacles, however.
“We’d really like to take this test through a Northeast winter,”Jexplained on Haney, the authority’s scofflaw supervisor. That’s because it might not be so easy to attach a Barnacle if your windshield is covered in snow or ice, he notes.
New windshield blocker could give the boot to the parking boot [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
by Mary Beth Quirk via Consumerist