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May 19. 2014 10:08PM

Security upgrades considered for Nashua parking garages

NASHUA — City officials this week will consider cameras and other safety and security upgrades for two municipal parking garages in the downtown area.

On Wednesday, the aldermanic Finance Committee will review a proposed $140,000 contract with ADT/Tyco Security of Nashua to install special locks, along with updated and additional cameras at the Elm Street and High Street parking garages.

“We are completely upgrading all of the cameras and adding security to the stairwells,” said Mark Sousa, transportation director for the city.

“Technology is moving so quick, so we might as well take advantage of that,” Sousa said Monday. “People are always leery of parking garages, but we are trying to make it easier for people to feel more comfortable there.”

The stairwells within the garages are not currently locked, so they are now accessible to anyone, according to Sousa.

If approved, the stairwell doors will soon be locked; only motorists with key codes will have access to the upper levels of the garages, specifically individuals who lease parking spaces, he said.

If approved, new cameras will be placed at all entrances and exits within the garages; the cameras will be capable of reading license plates from motor vehicles. The contract also includes the installation of cameras inside the stairwells of the two facilities, in addition to securing the stairwells by using pin and swipe pads at each door.

The cameras can be monitored at the city’s transportation administrative offices on Riverside Street, Sousa said.

Proposed work includes about $69,509 at the Elm Street garage, and about $70,759 at the High Street garage, according to a memo to Mayor Donnalee Lozeau.

Significant work has already been done at the two parking garages in recent years.

More than $740,000 was previously invested in the two garages to make them more structurally sound. And, since 2009, city workers have been personally assigned to take care of the garages.

Lozeau said previously that she would like to pursue converting two existing offices housed within the Elm Street and High Street parking garages into small police substations, especially since there is now an increased police presence in the downtown area.

The Elm Street parking garage has about a 90 percent occupancy rate; the High Street parking garage is typically about 70 percent occupied, according to prior data.

In addition, new electronic pay-for-space parking systems were installed within the first levels of both garages, replacing the old parking meters.

Currently, there are incentives in place for people to use the municipal parking garages, including a reduced rate of 50 cents per hour, plus there is no time limit on garage parking.

The Finance Committee meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nashua City Hall.

khoughton@newstote.com


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