By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The recent rollout of a new parking enforcement method in Cheyenne has drawn the ire of some residents who think it is a waste of time and money.
The city began using the “Barnacle,” a device that covers a car’s windshield to obscure the driver’s view, at the beginning of March and devices were placed on six vehicles through the month, according to Cheyenne Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Alex Farkas.
“The Barnacle is used as a last resort to enforce parking payments,” Farkas told Cowboy State Daily on Monday. “Citizens who have several outstanding tickets are subject to getting the device placed on their car.”
Rather than the traditional “boot” placed on a vehicle’s wheel to prevent a car from moving, the Barnacle is placed on a vehicle’s windshield and applied securely with multiple suction cups. These cups apply 750 pounds of force.
To remove the Barnacle, a person must scan a QR code on the device with their cell phone, which will then be directed to a webpage where the outstanding parking file can be paid.
Farkas said that to remove the Barnacle, a vehicle owner will have to pay for any outstanding tickets, a $250 fee to the Barnacle company and a $200 refundable deposit.
“If the barnacle is damaged in any way as a result of tampering/improperly removing the device, the $200 deposit will not be refunded,” Farkas said.
Cheyenne resident Rikki Cruz told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that she has regularly been making jokes about the Barnacle with her friends, referencing Barnacle Boy from the animated series “Spongebob Squarepants.”
“I hate the parking police,” she said. “When I did beauty school they would mark the tires with chalk and we would have to go out every 2 hours and move it. We can buy a pass for the parking garage and walk 4 blocks? No. I would erase the chalk until technology came into play.”
Cruz said that while she had never attempted it herself, the Barnacle could be removed after turning on a vehicle’s defroster for about 15 minutes and using a credit card to pop the suction cups off. Students at the University of Oklahoma did this to the Barnacle in protest of the high-tech parking enforcement method.
“You can Ace Ventura that [expletive],” Cruz said, referring to the character leaning out of his front window in order to drive.
Cruz was not the only person dissatisfied with the Barnacle, as it drew much ire from readers on social media when the city announced its rollout.
“What a waste of time and money,” resident Bryan Shrove wrote. “No wonder they can’t fix the streets.”
Some people questioned what “flagrant parking violations” truly meant to the city’s parking enforcement officers, while others asked how much it cost for the city to buy and implement the Barnacles.
“I thought the idea was to encourage people to shop local not scare them off???” resident Mike Kester wrote.
If someone attempts to forcefully remove the Barnacle, an alarm will sound and alert a parking enforcement officer of its location through a GPS. The same occurs if there is an attempt to drive the vehicle with the Barnacle still in place.
Other cities using the Barnacle for parking enforcement include Greeley and Fort Collins, Colorado, Columbia, Missouri and Las Vegas.