Surveillance Cameras in Palo Alto to Measure Bike, Pedestrian Traffic Freak Out Some Residents

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The city of Palo Alto explains why cameras were installed right in front of homes, on specific streets. Bob Redell reports. (Published Wednesday, May 14, 2014)

    Surveillance cameras in Palo Alto are intended to measure bicycle and pedestrian volume on certain streets, but the extra eyes on the city are freaking out some residents.

    "We are just asking for our privacy," Wolfgang Dueregger told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday morning, as the cameras were pointed into his driveway. "We work, and when we come home, we just want to be ourselves and not be essentially monitored."

    Another resident, Paul Machado, emailed the city with his frustrations that there is a camera at the end of his driveway, and he was never notified about it, according to the Daily News.

    The Daily News reported first the cameras are being used together with traditional "tube counters" on the road to create baseline bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle volumes on "bicycle boulevard program" streets, said Jaime Rodriguez, the city's chief transportation official. The city is rolling out a $25 million bicycle and pedestrian plan that calls for improvements to such streets. Tube counters aren't sensitive enough to capture bicycle and pedestrian activity, he added.

    Rodriguez said the city traditionally has not advertised similar data collection efforts, but noted that cameras haven't been widely used before.

    The city manager told the newspaper the city could have done better outreach in getting the word out about the cameras.

    Dueregger told NBC Bay Area that he's not opposed to the cameras, perse, but would like them repositioned or moved so that they are not pointing directly at his home. He said he was told by the city the cameras would be gone by the end of the week.