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Data storage to help in Brentwood parking ordinance

| Thursday, June 5, 2014, 2:42 p.m.

Brentwood officials will take to the streets in the next several months to gather information that should help them better understand issues in the borough — starting with on-street parking.

Using their smartphones or tablets, Brentwood officials will take to the streets in the next several months, snap photos and track information. The photographs and data will be uploaded to an online system that will help them monitor issues and trends.

“To develop a parking permit program on a street-by-street basis, we have to understand what our supply and what our demand is,” Mayor Dennis Troy said. “Currently we don't have a management platform by which we can do this. We have permits we've issued out now that we don't have records of.”

Council members unanimously approved a motion last week authorizing Gateway Engineers to set up a Geographical Information System, which is designed for local governments to store various types of data and photos — from road improvement projects details to street signs and parking information — on a map. It also can be used to assist code enforcement staffers in issuing citations, borough Manager George Zboyovsky said. The borough will pay the firm no more than $11,000.

Gateway Engineers will receive no more than $5,000 to review the borough's GeoPlan program to determine what type of data already has been collected by the borough.

Resident complaints prompted borough leaders earlier this year to begin enforcing parking regulations for commercial vehicles that are illegally parked on the street overnight. They also began citing people who parked their vehicle on the sidewalk or in a fire lane.

Brentwood leaders also are discussing launching a residential permit parking program.

A 15-year-old zoning ordinance requires residents with garages or driveways to use that space instead of parking on the street. That ordinance has gone unenforced for more than a decade, officials said. Troy said the ordinance would likely be changed based on the information received.

Parking permits could be issued for those without adequate driveway or garage space. Borough code allows for one permit to be issued for each adult owner.

Borough leaders plan to track the amount of space available to park on each street and at each home and determine the supply versus demand before issuing permits, Troy said.

“How many cars does each house need? They need four? Well guess what — we only have 100 parking spaces both on street and off street. We're not going to be able to accommodate 400 cars on that street,” Troy said. “So, we're going to have to come up to a plan to address that. I think that's going to be on a street-by-street basis.”

Having data for each street will help officials make a better determination of what they want should be done to address the on-street parking issues, Troy said.

“Rather than us sitting here speculating how many cars can go on the street and how many cars can go in a driveway, it will be data driven now,” Councilman John Frombach said. “So when people question it, we'll have the specifics to say, this is why we're doing what we're doing.”

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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