Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

by on February 24, 2017 · 20 comments

in Culture, Economy, Energy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Not Amused in OB

Are “smart” led street lights coming to Ocean Beach to surveil you and write you a parking ticket? I heard Newport Avenue is slated to get new led lights.

The evening news on Channel 10 covered this, and it appears that our mayor, Kevin Faulconer , just rolled out on Wednesday a program of installing new street lights in San Diego and Ocean Beach. The mayor announced he’s expanding this program of putting in “smart sensors” which will be able to “gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality.”

And Kevin said that his city has partnered with a company from back east called Current which will install 3200 of these “Smartlight Sensors”, powered by GE.

Let me repeat part of the article – some strange claims that the smart lights –

“gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality. The sensors will send all the data up into a cloud, where it will be free and accessible for app developers to use….

The nodes can use real-time anonymous sensor data to direct drivers to open parking spaces, help first-responders during emergencies, track carbon emissions, and identify intersections that can be improved for pedestrians and cyclists.”

A little digging … shows Jacksonville Florida also with this technology, and how it works:

GE Spotlights New Smart Street Lamps

“What really separates these lights from the run-of-the-mill light bulb is the pack of sensors that GE provides with each one. These could be weather sensors or a video camera that can see traffic, parking violations and so forth.

As an example, the video sensor generates visual data to apply to any application, Rue said. You could count cars to plan transportation or use video for public safety purposes.”

Wonderful. And the cost savings in electricity pays for them in 5 years, supposedly.

But it turns out Jacksonville has already ditched the program, so that means San Diego is flying solo. And the smart lights cost wayyyyy more than simple LEDs would’ve.

Luckily San Diego is flush with cash, right?

Here’s a local report from Jacksonville press on it all:

“The test pilot showed some of the positive benefits of the intelligent system: police were able to catch two-to-three more parking violations per space per month and gained an extra $2,400 in citation revenue…

The pilot program was at no cost to the taxpayer, but to make the intelligent LED conversion it would cost $50.1 million. In comparison, a standard LED conversion would cost just $1.4 million. Still, the Intelligent Cities solution saw a 400 percent increase in surveillance and a 347 percent increase in gunshot detection. To install those features could cause a 5 percent reduction in crime and a 10 percent reduction in homicides.”

Despite the potential benefit, it seems the city will not continue with the data-collecting LEDS.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Judi February 24, 2017 at 12:30 pm

I bet Orwell is rubbing his hands and shouting with glee. Big brother is watching!

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Avatar triggerfinger February 24, 2017 at 7:03 pm

It almost seems like a salesman walked up to Faulconer’s doorstep and this is the result. I’d like to be the first to develop an app for these. I’d call it STOP WASTING OUR TAX DOLLARS ON STUPID SHIT WE DON’T WANT AND CAN’T AFFORD.

The LED lights were presented as a way to save money… but nope.

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Avatar Michael Russell February 24, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Perhaps we could put these in Downtown San Diego, to track the people at SEMPRA and the Banks, to see what they are up to? If we could put them in the offices of every politician and lawyer, we could stop the abuse and corruption of our government by Developers and Corporations. And we need these in Rancho Bernardo to watch the White Collar Crime, too.

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Avatar Rufus February 25, 2017 at 7:30 am

Never underestimate a politician’s attraction to flashy objects because those flashy objects are purchased with Other People’s Money!

Being a downtown worker, I had to laugh at CivicSanDiego’s push for a real time parking availability application. The only problem? That would require that every single on street parking stall, garage, and parking lot have sensors in every single space which would report availability to the application. Who would pay for that?? You guessed it.

And I have to chuckle when I visit USD. Their parking garage has an overhead system to indicate which parking stalls are occupied (red light) or open (green light). What happened to our eyeballs? And I have to wonder what that system cost the students??

Have we become so fascinated with meaningless and expensive toys!

City council, how about investing in your citizen’s quality of life first? I find it hard to believe that we’re installing “smart” street lights when there are homeless and drug addicted citizens who need a hand up.

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Avatar eric March 1, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Right on! Rufus

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Avatar PL Local February 25, 2017 at 9:14 am

I just hope they are able to monitor the Air Traffic Noise

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Avatar Vern February 27, 2019 at 8:11 am

Right on.
Of the 23 existing NMT’s, it’s unclear how often they’re calibrated or serviced. The Airport Authority says every year. I say BS.
Not too many years ago, during the recession, a number of NMTs (then referred to as RMTs) were having their wiring ripped out by vandals/recyclers at the street level boxes. The Airport Authority had no clue until residents called the SDPD letting them know the poorly-secured boxes were completely gutted, rendering the RMT(s) useless. The AA now uses private contractors to check the noise monitors – their reports are not available to the public.

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Avatar OB Dude February 25, 2017 at 11:38 am

PL….now that would be a wise feature…but something tells me that’s NOT going to happen!

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Avatar MTW February 28, 2017 at 11:04 am

Great read! I would just like to add that as a rule of thumb, you need 10 watt LED to replace 60 watt incandescent bulb. I think total of 8-10 watt LEDs would be optimal to illuminate a small kitchen for example. http://www.machine-tools-world.com/home-garden/22-best-led-light-bulbs

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Avatar Sam February 26, 2019 at 8:09 pm

I wish they would automatically send out parking tickets. The city could really use the money.

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Avatar ZZ February 27, 2019 at 10:50 am

Newport and the city lot by the pier would be perfect places for a mix of 1 and 4-hour parking meters. It is impossible to make a quick run to any of the businesses there during much of the summer because the street parking is being used all day by people at the beach. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t unreasonable to ask people who want to use a prime parking space all day during peak season to pay for it. And some spots should be open for short visits to Newport businesses.

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Avatar kh February 27, 2019 at 1:46 pm

The beach lot is intended for beachgoer/pier use, not for Newport businesses that cheat and don’t provide the required parking.

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Avatar Geoff Page February 27, 2019 at 2:29 pm

ZZ, “isn’t unreasonable to ask people who want to use a prime parking space all day during peak season to pay for it.” I sometimes wonder if you read what you write. The beachgoers are paying for the parking, it’s called TAXES. Why should people pay taxes for a public parking lot and then pay a fee to use it?

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Avatar ZZ February 28, 2019 at 10:45 am

“Why should people pay taxes for a public parking lot and then pay a fee to use it?”

So all city lots and parking meters should be eliminated then, because someone who pays taxes should never have to pay for parking on city land?

Why should people pay taxes for a court have to pay a fee for filing a court case?

Why should developers who pay taxes have to pay for permits?

To answer you question directly, summer beach parking spaces are a scarce resource. The city currently allocates that scarce resource on “first come, unlimited free use, come later, no use whatsoever” basis. It is more logical to allocate the limited resource to multiple people, and for the city to make money doing so.

Another reason the city should have more parking meters is that the city is underfunded and should provide more services to residences. You recently described how the cliff staircases are broken down and need funding for repairs.

I didn’t even know the fenced off one along the apartment building by the pier was city property! I’ve been here half my life and never remember that people open to use.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page February 28, 2019 at 12:13 pm

ZZ,

“So all city lots and parking meters should be eliminated then, because someone who pays taxes should never have to pay for parking on city land?” City parking lots are only there to make money, they are not serving another use like a park or the beach.

“Why should people pay taxes for a court have to pay a fee for filing a court case?” Not sure where you were going on this one, the fees offset direct costs from the courts and there are no city courts.

“Why should developers who pay taxes have to pay for permits?” Again to offset the costs, in this case of reviewing and permitting plans, inspections, records, and project management.

“It is more logical to allocate the limited resource to multiple people, and for the city to make money doing so.” This comment has two problems. First, it goes against your oft stated opinion that we need to reduce traffic and cars. I’ve lived here for 39 years and I rarely drive to park at the beach because I know it will be filled up. Doesn’t that help your cause? More importantly, can you point to any park in San Diego that charges for parking?

“Another reason the city should have more parking meters is that the city is underfunded and should provide more services to residences.” The city is not underfunded, it has done a terrible job of managing the money it gets, number one on the idiot list is the pension debacle, then the stadium ticket guarantee, then PetCO, surveillance cameras, SMART street lights…

A lot of the people who park at the beach come from other parts of the city and not all of them are wealthy. The beach is a free park they can enjoy, parking there should also be free.

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Avatar Sam February 27, 2019 at 2:47 pm

I agree with ZZ but will take it further. I think that all of the spaces on Newport and the parking lots by the peir, lifeguard station and dog beach should all be metered. That new revenue could then be used to clean up all the trolls and their BS.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page February 28, 2019 at 12:15 pm

Please explain, Sam, how revenue will solve the “trolls and their BS.” Do you live in OB? Do you own a car? Do you frequent any of these places?

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Avatar Sam February 28, 2019 at 1:20 pm

I’ve been living in OB for 25 years and I do have a car ,thank you very much. It seems to me that quite a few of the transients drive down and hang out for the day, which takes up all the parking spaces. If they suddenly had to pay for parking, most will just move along to bother people somewhere else. Problem partially eliminated!

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Avatar Vern February 28, 2019 at 4:02 pm

Respectfully, you might want to take another swing at your partial solution, Sam.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page March 1, 2019 at 2:58 pm

Sam, Sam, Sam, what a reply. “It seems to me that quite a few of the transients drive down and hang out for the day, which takes up all the parking spaces.”

It “seems” to you? That is not based on fact, it’s based on your own biases. Transients with cars? Yea some buses and vans are there but I’m guessing most of the trolls you are concerned about don’t have cars and even the ones who do hardly take “up all the parking spaces.”

You originally said “That new revenue could then be used to clean up all the trolls and their BS.” That was what I questioned. Now, your argument is that the trolls will go away if they have to pay for parking. You need to stay on point buddy.

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