What are these mystery spots sprayed onto the sidewalk in Country Club Hills? They seem random. There are about 300 of them over an 8 block area. Is this a new form of graffiti or a statement? Have the Hash House Harriers changed their M.O.? Are aliens signaling their landing area? Unique form of mosquito control? They’ve been there for months. Anyone know?
Arlington County Sidewalks phone provided the following answer: “Nope, not ours. We don’t mark anything. Ever. Must be Miss Utility.” Miss Utility said: “Must mean construction is about to happen. We only mark white with colored lines on utilities. If it’s just white, not sure what that is.”
A neighbor said: “They are redoing the sidewalks.” He knew this because he reads his mail. A letter did go out to Country Club Hills residents noting sidewalks would be fixed in the next few weeks. Cracked, uneven, or broken curbs, sidewalks, and ramps will be replaced “for better drainage” and while spots weren’t mentioned, the average education level of the Arlington resident can read between the — spots.
But what about the holes being dug in perfect rounds where cars park near Northside Social and Courthouse? They are even more worrisome looking. The contractor punching the holes in the street shrugged and said, “These are for monitoring cars that park here. The devices we put in the holes will tell us about the vehicles that park.” For whom? Another shrug. “I just put the stuff here.”
A quick survey of the media indicated that this is a pilot program initiated by the County. “The pilot will use in-ground sensors to provide real-time occupancy information for each of the parking spaces included in the project area. The sensors can detect the presence or absence of a vehicle, and duration-of-stay can be calculated. No camera technology is being used, and no personally-identifying information can be collected by the system. Once initial occupancy data has been gathered, the project team anticipates applying the pricing tools to the pilot project corridors on a quarterly basis, changing prices up or down across the 4,500 parking spaces included in the pilot to meet the goals of the pilot project.”
The County’s website explains it’s for a good purpose: “Arlington's Performance Parking Pilot Project seeks to improve the user experience by making metered parking spaces more available more often, sharing useful information about parking options in real time, reducing the negative impacts associated with the search for metered parking (cruising, double parking, going somewhere else to do business, etc.) It’s all part of a VDOT grant.
For more information, see: https://www.arlingtonva.us/Government/Programs/Transportation/Parking/Performance-Parking-Pilots