Paul's Note - July 30, 2021

On August 9th, you’ll see something new on the streets of Tucson: cars with the “Barnacle.” 

The Barnacle will replace the old boots that the police and parking enforcement would put on impounded vehicles. An officer or parking agent will put a sticker on the window with a hearing date and the device, a large yellow cover that prevents vision out of the driver’s side window, will be placed on the car. 

These will only be targeted at what are being termed “scofflaws:” people with three or more unpaid tickets. There are 807 scofflaws and they average between five and six tickets. Put together, they owe the City $942,850.92.  

The Barnacle is simpler to install than the old boot, which would immobilize the front wheel. It’s also safer for the person installing it, since they don’t have to crouch down in a street where there may be traffic. Greely, Las Vegas and Texas Tech University have already been using the system. 

I had a briefing from Diana Alarcon, Tucson’s Director of Transportation and Mobility, earlier this week. The weather has presented some special challenges to her department, and I wanted to make sure that you know a few things. 

We’ve had a record breaking rain over the last week, and we are expected to have more. The ground is already soaked and the issues that some of you have already reported to us, flooded streets, potholes, downed trees and debris from washes, will continue to be a problem. 

Don’t be afraid to call these in to my office, but be aware that the priority will be to respond to things that present an immediate safety issue. 

Stay safe and feel free to call us if you see any weather related problems. 

I’d like to give you another set of safety pointers: Tucson Unified School District starts on August 5. Teachers like me are already reporting to the schools to plan out our year. Below are some back to school safety tips from the National Safety Council: 

Schools often have very specific drop-off procedures for the school year. Make sure you know them for the safety of all kids. The following apply to all school zones: don't double park; it blocks visibility for other children and vehicles. don't load or unload children across the street from the school and carpool to reduce the number of vehicles at the school 

According to research by the National Safety Council, most of the children who lose their lives in bus-related incidents are 4 to 7 years old, and they're walking. They are hit by the bus, or by a motorist illegally passing a stopped bus. A few precautions go a long way toward keeping children safe. Don't block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn, forcing pedestrians to go around you; this could put them in the path of moving traffic. In a school zone when flashers are blinking, stop and yield to pedestrians crossing the crosswalk or intersection. Always stop for a school patrol officer or crossing guard holding up a stop sign. Take extra care to look out for children in school zones, near playgrounds and parks, and in all residential areas. Don't honk or rev your engine to scare a pedestrian, even if you have the right of way. Never pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians. Always use extreme caution to avoid striking pedestrians wherever they may be, no matter who has the right of way. 

If you're driving behind a bus, allow a greater following distance than if you were driving behind a car. It will give you more time to stop once the yellow lights start flashing. It is illegal in all 50 states to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children.