San Jose approves $6.3M parking access, revenue control system

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose City Council voted to approve a multi-million dollar project to upgrade the access and payment systems at city-owned parking lots.

One of the key components is the use of an automated license plate reader that some say is an invasion of privacy.

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If you've traveled to Downtown San Jose during a big event, you're likely familiar with the crowds, as well as the ongoing traffic that comes as drivers go in and out of one of the eight parking garages owned by the city.

Officials say the outdated equipment could be to blame.

"Equipment uptime and reliability is an issue for us," said San Jose Dept. of Transportation's Heather Hoshii.

On Tuesday afternoon, the San Jose City Council approved a $6.3 million project to upgrade the garages. On the horizon -- online reservations, scanable validations and the ability to use Apple Pay are among features.

"People have expectations and they want to get in and out of a parking facility quickly and effortlessly and don't really want to be hung up," said Hoshii.

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But the new technology also comes with concerns for some. The project calls for automated license plate recognition software, similar to what's currently being used at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

"Are you just taking a picture of my license plate, and none of my other information is out there, like what's attaching to it, I guess is the biggest thing. Like how much information do you actually need for it?" asked San Jose resident Gina Ingland.

Airport representatives say the system is a standalone that isn't connected to an outside source. The cameras photograph license plates and then convert the numbers and letters into machine-readable text, tagging them with the time and location.

"When there's a lost ticket situation, we are able to ably and capably identify when our customer entered our lot and is attempting to exit our lot," said Mineta San Jose International Airport spokesperson Rosemary Barnes.

The city hopes to begin the first phase of installation downtown in February or March of next year. The airport should also see upgrades down the road.
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