OU Parking employs new towing alternative device called the 'Barnacle'

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Parking Services Barnacle

OU Parking Enforcement Supervisor Larry Kious types in a code to attach the Barnacle to a windshield in the Jenkins parking garage Jan. 14.

OU Parking and Transportation Services is phasing in a new enforcement device this semester as an alternative to towing.

The device is called the Barnacle, and the administration plans to begin implementation next Tuesday. Currently, OU is renting five units of the device.

Kris Glenn, OU's director of Parking and Transportation Services, said the Barnacle is an effort to use new technology to reduce towing, which can be costly and inconvenient to motorists.

“(With towing), a student would have to go all the way to the other side of town and try to find a ride to pick up their vehicle,” Glenn said. “(The Barnacle) is just a friendlier way than putting a boot on a vehicle and towing a vehicle.”

Motorists will receive a warning notifying them if they have three 30-day outstanding fines. If the driver fails to contact Parking and Transportation Services within three business days, officials will deploy the Barnacle on the car.

To deploy the Barnacle, parking enforcement officials place the large plastic cover on the windshield of a car, and the Barnacle attaches itself using 750 pounds of suction. Drivers cannot see around the Barnacle to drive.

If a driver tries to tamper with the Barnacle or drive with it still stuck to the windshield, it will sound an alarm and alert parking enforcement. A GPS tracker records the car's location, make, model and tag number for officials on the Barnacle's Enforcer app.

To remove the device, drivers can either log in online, scan the QR code or call the number on the device to pay outstanding fines. The company then sends a code to unlock the Barnacle.

Motorists will be required to pay only 30-day late fines, as well as a $35 fee that goes to the Barnacle company. If a student does not have a credit card, they can pay with cash at the Parking Services office.

In addition to the fines and fee, drivers will also be required to place a $50 deposit on their card, which will be returned to their account once the Barnacle is returned to its drop box. The drop box is located outside of the Parking Services office in the southwest corner of the Jenkins parking garage.

If drivers fail to remove the Barnacle within five days, their car will be towed.

When a driver’s car is towed, they can accumulate fees for each day the car is impounded. Officials hope that using the Barnacle will save drivers time and money, while still efficiently enforcing parking regulations.

“As we can implement technology, we certainly will because (as) a college campus, we want to be innovative,” Glenn said. “We think projects like this make us more efficient, effective and innovative.”

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