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Parking enforcement staff to utilize Segways to "go green" | Crime

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Parking enforcement staff to utilize Segways to "go green"
Parking enforcement staff to utilize Segways to "go green"

St. Petersburg, Florida -- The city of St. Petersburg today announced the incorporation of Segway vehicles into the downtown Parking Management program.

Beginning this weekend, downtown drivers and pedestrians will begin to see parking enforcement officers travelling via Segways, in addition to their traditional motorized and electrical carts. Mayor Bill Foster said the addition of Segways adds to the downtown's pedestrian-friendly vibe, makes city employees more accessible as "ambassadors" to downtown visitors and is more environmentally efficient than the motorized and electric carts.

"Nobody likes giving or getting a parking ticket but parking enforcement is a necessary activity in any major downtown and campus area in order to manage the distribution and availability of parking," said Mayor Foster. "Providing outstanding "service" and "sustainability" are two of the Seven S's of my administration. Using Segways will be a good means to enhance the interaction between our employees and the public while they perform their assigned jobs and this will allow us to use technology to reduce operating expenses and help the environment while leverage existing personnel resources to enhance the downtown visitor experience."

Two new electrically powered i2 Patroller Model Segways will be deployed by the downtown parking enforcement team beginning this weekend.  The city has begun to phase-out its older typical gasoline powered three-wheel enforcement vehicles in favor of the less expensive and more environmentally-friendly electrically-powered, open air carts, and now Segways.  Segways are extremely efficient and will utilize only 0.052 kWh per mile traveled. Although power plants produce Greenhouse gasses when generating electricity, using a Segway in place of a 70 MPG gas-powered scooter reduces emissions by 81% and in comparison to an average passenger car, emissions are reduced by 93%. The Segways cost $7,500 each and were purchased with parking fund revenue.

Although the primary mission of a parking enforcement officer is to enforce the city's parking regulations, with increased visitor traffic downtown, these officers are often the front-line contact for downtown tourists as well as locals wanting directions to area museums, attractions, shops, restaurants and parking. The new Segways are intended to make staff more visible and approachable than they are when working from an enclosed or semi-enclosed vehicle.  Each Segway is equipped with storage to hold supplies and downtown maps for visitors.

Segways have regularly been used over the last decade by law enforcement and security personnel.  Although there are other communities in the U.S. utilizing Segways for parking enforcement, it is believed that this will be the first introduction in Florida.

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