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SafetyStick: Butte considering new device to catch parking violations in Uptown

The SafetyStick can monitor for parking violations and report them back to the Parking Commission.
Posted at 5:35 PM, Feb 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 11:30:44-05

BUTTE — You may have been wandering down Broadway in Uptown Butte recently and noticed some strange devices sticking out of the ground. Well, you can look at them as electronic parking enforcement officers—they can actually monitor who’s illegally parking on the street and report it back to the Parking Commission. The city is considering possibly getting more of these devices.

“Just for the little bit we’ve seen, they’re much more effective and much more efficient,” said Butte Parking Director John Moodry.

The city is trying out two of these SafetyStick meters at the intersection of Broadway and Dakota Street for 45 days. The device has a camera and can record the license plate of vehicles violating the two-hour time limit, parked in a safety zone, or in front of a fire hydrant or crosswalk. The parking commission can review the violation and mail out a ticket.

In just an eight-hour period, these two devices recorded seven parking violations.

“We can only be in one place at a time and so there are people taking advantage and parking where they shouldn’t be parking,” said Moodry.

Once the test run is complete by the end of March, the Minnesota-based company MSP will make a proposal, and Butte will consider if it's feasible to get more meters in Uptown.

Some people believe parking is a problem in Uptown.

“It’s overcrowded, there’s nowhere to park. I pick up clients here and there’s nowhere to park except in the yellow,” said Sheala Griner.

Some have other concerns.

“I think it’s kind of neat, but at the same time I’m wondering if it’s going to take jobs away from people,” said Mark Gelling.

The parking commission plans to keep its three enforcement officers even if the city adds more meters.

“What it would do is it would really free up our parking staff to get out of Uptown Butte and enforce parking within the whole city,” said Moodry.